What qualities do you look for in a WA? The WA Program looks for intellectually curious writers with an interest in tutoring and peer mentoring. Strong communication skills (in writing and in person), interpersonal skills, and an appreciation for the writing and revising process are a must. We also are looking for students who want to reflect on and learn from their practice as a WA.
Can anyone apply to be a WA, even if they struggled with writing in the past? Yes. An important attribute of a good WA is insight into the effort of developing as a writer. Students who struggled with the transition to college writing, for instance, often have learned quite a bit about writing as an on-going learning process; we don't expect WAs to be perfect writers. Further, it takes more than strong writing to be an effective WA - effective communication and interpersonal skills are essential.
Can I still apply if I'm going abroad spring semester next year? Yes. There is no problem with your going abroad after you have completed Engl/Educ 1C.
Can I still apply if I'm going to be abroad in the fall? Unfortunately, no. At present, the gateway course is only available in the Fall semester. If you are a first-year student and would like to apply the following year, we invite you to do so. We can keep your nomination on file and reactivate it at that time.
Can I still apply if I have never met with a WA before? You can, but we would strongly encourage you to have at least one meeting with a WA before you decide to apply, so that you have personal experience with the process to call on in your application and interview.
I received a nomination from a faculty member. Can the person who nominated me also serve as a reference? Yes. Whether or not you received a nomination, please touch base with the faculty members who you feel can best describe your peer-to-peer work, and ask if they are willing to serve as references. The Director of the WA Program will reach out to the faculty as part of our decision making process. They do not need to write a letter on your behalf.
Should I include the courses I'm currently taking on my list of courses? Yes, please do. We ask for the list of courses to get a better sense for what disciplines you would be comfortable WAing, which is useful information when assigning WAs to a course.
Can I submit a paper that's over five pages long? I don't have any that are under seven. If you have none that are five pages, please submit the next shortest paper you have. We encourage shorter papers due to the large volume of papers we have to read during the review process.
For the sample paper, should it be an original draft or something I've revised? Do you want the professor's comments on it? A final paper submitted for a course will be fine. If possible, submit a clean copy without your professor's comments.
What should be included in my cover letter? The application packet will include specific instructions for the cover letter, including a list of questions we hope you will answer in your letter. We will also offer a Cover-Letter Write-In for students who haven’t written this genre before who would like to get some feedback. In general terms, your letter should include your reasons for applying to the Writing Associate Fellowship, what you hope to gain from the experience, and an explanation of why you are qualified for the position. For formatting tips and additional details on writing a cover letter, see these tips provided by Career Services (cover letters are covered on pg 3 of the guide).
For the mock WA paper, should I hand in a marked copy of the paper, or just write a paragraph or two on separate paper outlining what changes should be made? Most writers prefer to receive some written comments on the document itself. With that in mind, we encourage you to make notes on the text and/or in the margins, just as if you were a WA and would be meeting later with a student to talk about their paper (which you will do in the interview). You don’t have to mark everything you see–be strategic. We are not looking to test your grammar knowledge. Consider, instead, what comments will help you to have a meaningful conversation with the writer? After the partial mock-WA conference during your interview, you’ll be able to explain your approach to both the written comments and the conference.
The application asks me to suggest "substantial constructive revisions" to the same paper. What do you mean by that? You will have to judge for yourself what this means in terms of this particular paper. WAs can work with writers on structure and organization, on supporting claims with reasoning on evidence, on sentence-level clarity. We usually ask the writer to tell us what they want us to work on, but sometimes they aren’t sure. In this case, the WA must decide where to focus and why. WAing is about assessment as much as anything else.
Does being available to take Engl/Educ 1C at either time it is offered increase my chances of being accepted? It could. We make every effort to keep the two classes balanced in number, and if we must, we may decide between finalists based on the section into which we can place them to keep the courses balanced. If you are offered the position, you will be assigned a class time. You will not need to register for the course; we will send class lists to the registrar. If for some reason you are unable to make the assigned class time, you will need to find someone in the other section who is willing to switch with you.
Should I be thinking of English/Education 1C as a fourth or fifth class for my fall semester? If you are accepted into the program, we recommend that you take it as a fourth class. Even though the class is a CR/NC course, there are a lot of outside responsibilities associated with it, such as working as a Course WA and in the Writing Center, observing other WAs' conferences, and meeting regularly with a small group of other WAs in training. Learning to be a WA provides its challenges as we ask you to think about writing and the WA conference as a social space. This type of inquiry-based learning requires time and head space to process the content of the course and your first experiences as a WA.
What is the WA interview like? Interviews are approximately half-an-hour in length. You will interview with the program Director, together with one or two current WAs. The first part of the interview will focus on why you want to be a WA and what experiences you have had to prepare you for the fellowship. Then, the current WA will pretend to be the author of the mock paper and you will discuss the paper with them as if you are conducting a WA conference. Lastly, you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you have about the program.
It’s also worth recognizing that all your interactions with the WA Program, once you come into the Information Session inform our understanding of how you might perform or engage with others if you are selected as a WA. This is, in a sense, the-interview-before-the-interview. So, to the extent that you are able, we are hoping that your interactions–participation in the Info sessions, completing and dropping off the application, scheduling your interview, etc–will reflect your interest and curiosity, your willingness to read instructions, your ability to schedule an appointment and keep it, etc.
We may not be able to reschedule missed interviews. You should email as soon as possible if you discover you will not be able to attend at the time you’d originally chosen, and we will let you know if another time is possible.