We were excited to learn more about the experiences of our former writing consultants and to contribute to the PWTARP. In the winter of 2011, we sent surveys to 54 former writing consultants. We received responses from 41 consultants, a response rate of 76%.
We were particularly interested in learning what they learned about writing, about themselves as writers, and about the writing of others. What were the most significant skills, values, and/or abilities that they developed in their work as consultants? How did their experiences as writing consultants shape their approach to work and graduate school after Carleton?
I learned how to ‘consult’ rather than ‘instruct.’ The experience of not telling someone what they should do, but instead walking them through the process of deciding what to do and granting them agency over their own problem has been incredibly valuable both personally and professionally.
While many writing consultants reported that their experience allowed them to grow as deliberate, conscious writers, most focused on other rewards they gained from their work. Alumni said the job enhanced their collaborative skills, taught them how to negotiate relationships in a variety of settings, and taught them to ask generative questions.
Many noted that they gained a better appreciation for clarity. One wrote that working at the Writing Center “drummed into my head that WRITING IS COMMUNICATION. If you want people to understand what you are writing, you must make it clear for them.” One alum sees the Center as a microcosm of the College, noting that the Writing Center “has everything that’s best about Carleton: a thirst for knowledge, optimism, a refusal to take itself too seriously, value for important things (honesty, truth, equality for all students), a belief that every single student should be cherished and that every single student has unique ideas….”
For more, please visit https://apps.carleton.edu/campus/asc/writeplace/applications/alumni/
–Rachel Zucker, Psychology Major, Carleton College Class of 2011, Data Analyst
–Kathy Evertz, Director, Academic Support Center, Carleton College