Student Services & Resources
The Jacobson Center offers individual writing conferences, the opportunity to use student tutors or serve as a student tutor, and workshops on time management, study skills, public speaking and other academic issues.
To learn about how to make a writing appointment at the Jacobson Center, watch our Online Scheduling Tutorial.
Professional writing instructors and trained peer writing tutors provide individual conferences for students working at any stage of the writing process. Writing instruction is available to all Smith students and any student currently enrolled in a class at Smith.
Half-hour appointments can be made up to two weeks ahead of time online: Register, make an appointment, and upload a draft well in advance to ensure a thorough reading. The longer the draft, the earlier you should upload it. You may also make an appointment to brainstorm ideas and get started.
Because the demand for appointments increases as the semester progresses, you should plan ahead and sign up early. If you should have to cancel, do so online no later than three hours before the appointment. Please be courteous: We often have a waiting list of students seeking appointments.
The writing instructors are able to provide more intensive work on writing issues common to English language learners and to writers with learning disabilities, as well as supporting students in upper-level seminars or those writing theses.
Peer writing tutors (students trained to provide writing support) perform similar services, both by appointment in the Jacobson Center and in drop-in sessions held in Neilson Library Learning Commons. No appointments are necessary for Neilson sessions. Drop-in hours are Sunday through Friday, 1-4 p.m. and Sunday through Thursday, 7–10 p.m. (Final papers in either of these three-hour shifts will be accepted ½ hour before closing, so as to avoid a last-minute rush and to be sure the final sessions are given adequate time.)
If you are a non-native speaker of English, the Jacobson Center has a number of services to assist you. All services are free.
Individual Writing Conferences
The Jacobson Center is a place where you can bring any writing you are working on—not just papers—at any stage of the writing process to receive expert, professional advice from writing instructors on all aspects of the writing. Writing instructors are not proofreaders or editors. Rather, they help you understand your writing patterns and teach you strategies for maximizing your strengths and addressing your weaknesses. Most conferences are half an hour in duration. Schedule a writing conference.
Non-native speakers do well to keep in mind the following:
- Learning to speak and write (especially academic essays) in a second language is a long-term, difficult undertaking.
- Errors are a natural part of language learning.
- It may be unrealistic for non-native speakers to expect to be able to write like native speakers, certainly not without a lot of effort. Research shows that even non-native speakers who have lived in English-speaking countries for many years and write regularly in English maintain a written accent (like a foreign accent in pronunciation).
- Focus on substance; do not worry constantly about style and mechanics.
For any further questions about writing services for non-native speakers, contact Miranda McCarvel, 413-585-3038.
English 118 ELL Sections
These small classes provide systematic instruction and practice in college-level expository writing and are specifically designed for students whose first language is not English.
The Jacobson Center offers workshops and individualized meetings in study skills and exam preparation. For more information, see Tutoring & Learning Specialist Services or contact Duncan Griffin, 413-585-3037.
The Jacobson Center offers peer tutoring to help you get through challenging course material. For more information, see Tutoring & Learning Specialist Services or contact Duncan Griffin, 413-585-3037.
Peer writing tutors are students who have been hired and trained to serve as a constructive audience for all stages of your writing. In addition to possessing strong writing skills, a peer writing tutor must have a thoughtful understanding of the writing process, sensitivity to difficulties that student writers encounter, and considerable good judgment, patience and tact.
How to Use Peer Writing Tutors
Peer writing tutoring is available throughout the semester. Scheduled appointments with the writing tutors can be made during weekdays using Writing Center Online. They are also available for walk-in appointments (first-come, first-served!) in the Neilson Library Learning Commons, Sunday through Friday, 1–4 p.m., and Sunday through Thursday, 7-10pm.
If you’d like a writing tutor to review your draft at any stage of the writing process, simply make an appointment through Writing Center Online or drop into the library during their hours. Be aware, though, that certain times of the semester, such as midterm, may be busier than others—so plan your session ahead of time!
How to Become a Peer Writing Tutor
Students interested in becoming peer writing tutors should contact Sara Eddy, Assistant Director of the writing center. Students will submit applications, resumes, and writing samples, and will go through an interview process.
Meet the Peer Writing Tutors
The Jacobson Center Peer Writing Tutors are available for appointments in Seelye 307 and drop-in services in the Neilson Learning Commons almost every day. Use the Jacobson Center’s online scheduling tool to sign up for an appointment, or, if you’re unable to find an appointment that fits your schedule, or you prefer the flexibility of just stopping by to have someone look at your work, we have peer tutors on stand-by. Sessions are first come, first served, so show up early!
Drop-In Hours (Neilson 108j, in the Learning Commons)
1–4 p.m. Sundays through Fridays
7–10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays
All Jacobson Center Peer Writing Tutors have specialties in their majors and other fields as listed below, but they are trained to work with writers in all subjects.
Nell Adkins ’23 | she/her
Government and Dance
Specialities include dance and theater history/criticism, Jewish studies, Yiddish literature, international relations, social sciences and humanities.
Elizabeth Emmons ’23 | she/her
Specialities include writing for social sciences, journalism, English literature.
Emma Geissinger Cutchins ’24 | she/her
Geosciences and German Studies
Specialities include science writing and communication, humanities and world literatures.
Elina Gordon-Halpern ’23 | she/her
Statistics & Data Sciences and Sociology
Specialities include creative writing, public speaking and data/technical writing.
Anna Gyorgy ’24AC | she/her
Philosophy and Landscape Studies
Specialities include philosophy, literature, creative writing and landscape studies.
Julian Hernandez ’24 | they/them
Biological Sciences and LAS Studies
Specialties in English, technical writing, research and citation and Latin American studies.
Kyona Hernandez ’24 | she/her
Specialities in history, English and art history.
Claire Kenny ’23 | she/her
World Literatures; International Relations; Translations
Specialities include the study of women and gender, government and music.
Fhrynée Lambert ’24 | she/her
Africana Studies, Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice
Specialities include English literature, poetry, creative writing, humanities and personal essays/non-fiction.
Tatum McKenna ’24 | she/her
Biochemistry; Five College Culture, Health and Science
Specialities include science writing and communication, technical writing, English and world literature.
Stephaney Perez ’23 | she/her
Psychology and Latin American Studies
Specialities include psychology, the humanities and social sciences. Interest in writing for more non-academic/general public.
Adriana Piantedosi AC’23 | she/they
Film & Media Studies
Specialties include theatre, music and creative writing.
Emma Solis ’23 | they/she
World Literatures and Book Studies
Specialties include English, French and film studies.
Suzanna Strauss ’23 | she/her
Government and History
Specialties include government, American history, women’s history and the humanities.
Sa’mya Wilson ’24 | she/her
Africana Studies and English Language & Literature; Community Engagement & Social Change
Specialties include fiction and non-fiction writing, autobiographical writings.
Mika Yassur ’23 | they/them
Government and Philosophy
Specialties include political theory, continental philosophy, art and art history and French studies.
The Jacobson Center offers both writing and content tutors for individual sessions to support learning in many non-quantitative fields. Our tutoring program has been certified by the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA), and more than 50 peer tutors receive ongoing training and support.
Peer content tutors are hired for non-quantitative courses (at present, mostly language courses) by appointment. Students may receive one hour of tutoring per week for each subject requested. You can make an appointment online. For general questions regarding content tutoring, please email Duncan Griffin, coordinator of tutorial services.
One-on-one language tutoring sessions can be scheduled via OnceHub. Some language departments also offer a limited amount of drop-in tutoring each week; these sessions do not require an appointment. The schedule is posted below. Drop-in tutoring sessions take place in the Learning Commons, located on the first floor of Neilson Library, unless otherwise specified. Questions? Please email Duncan Griffin for additional information.
Peer Content Tutor drop-in hours
|FRE||Tue. 7:00-8:00pm||Learning Commons|
|FRE||Thur. 8:00-9:00pm||Learning Commons|
|FRE||Wed. 7:00-8:00pm||Learning Commons|
|ITL||Mon. 6:30-7:30pm||Learning Commons|
|ITL||Thur. 4:00-5:00pm||Learning Commons|
|SPN||Tue. 7:00-8:00pm||Learning Commons|
|SPN||Thur. 8:00-9:00pm||Learning Commons|
|SPN||Mon. 3:00-4:00pm||Learning Commons|
|SPN||Wed. 10:40-11:40pm||Learning Commons|
|RUS||Thur. 4:45-5:45pm||Learning Commons|
|HEB||Wed. 11:30am-12:30pm||Learning Commons|
|POR||Fri. 4:15-5:15pm||Learning Commons|
|GREEK||Mon. 4:00-5:00pm||Neilson 208B (Classics Study)|
|LATIN||Tue. 7:00-8:00pm||Neilson 208B (Classics Study)|
For more information about the peer writing tutor program, see the “Writing Services” section, above, or contact Sara Eddy, Assistant Director of the writing center.
Duncan Griffin, the Jacobson Center's Learning Specialist, offers a limited number of individual appointments with students seeking support with time management, organization, reading, test-taking, note-taking, and other academic skills. For more information, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or schedule an appointment here.
Applied Learning Strategies Course
IDP 136: Applied Learning Strategies is offered each semester, and supports students with time management, organization, goal-setting, and many other topics. An important aspect of this course is helping students find balance while still achieving academic goals. This is a 1-credit, 6-week course and is open to all students. For more information, please email Duncan Griffin, Learning Specialist, or make an appointment by clicking the link above.
Each semester the Learning Specialist holds three midday Study Skills Workshops. These are the Spring 2023 workshops:
Taking Notes. Taking good notes is vital to academic success at Smith. But what’s the best way to take notes? What’s the right amount? What even is the point of them? This workshop will provide resources and strategies for efficient, effective note-taking. Thursday, Feb. 16th, 12:10pm, Seelye 312.
Motivation. Motivation is tough to maintain in the best of circumstances, but it’s especially difficult in the middle of a semester at Smith. What is motivation? How do we maintain it? What do we do when we can’t? This workshop will provide strategies for finding and maintaining motivation. Thursday, Mar. 9th, 12:10pm, Seelye 312.
Test-preparation and test-taking. Test-taking is an integral part of the Smith academic experience. So how should you approach taking tests? What’s the best way to prepare? What do you do when you sit down to take the big test, and your mind goes blank? This workshop will provide tips and strategies for test-preparation and test-taking. Thursday, Apr. 13th, 12:10pm, Seelye 312.
All students are welcome! No registration is required. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Learning Specialist at email@example.com.
In January, we often offer workshops on academic and creative writing, public speaking and study skills. No preregistration is necessary except for Make Your Case: Become A Stronger Public Speaker. Workshops are led by members of the Jacobson Center staff.
Check the News & Updates regularly to see current schedules.
The Jacobson Center offers students with learning disabilities opportunities to develop themselves academically.
What’s in it for you?
Individual writing conferences. You can work on your writing at any stage with a professional writing instructor. These meetings can happen on a regular basis or as needed.
Tutoring. You can meet one-on-one with student tutors for non-quantitative courses.
Other Resources to Improve Your Writing
If you struggle with writing, you are also encouraged to take ENG118/Colloquia in Writing. English 118 provides you with consistent, systematic instruction and practice in writing. If you take the course, we recommend that you:
- Identify yourself to your instructor as a student with a learning disability
- Share with your instructor any information you may have about your learning disability
- Give your instructor permission to review your records with the disability services director. This way, we can work out a plan that meets your needs and goals.
You may find it challenging to balance a rigorous course load with athletics, organization, research and jobs. These handouts offer planning and study tips to become a more effective and efficient student.
Click on the titles below to download these handouts.
The Art of Effective Speaking
The Jacobson Center writing instructors teach a course in the Art of Effective Speaking. This one-credit course gives students systematic practice in the range of public speaking challenges they will face in their academic and professional careers. During each class meeting, the instructor presents material on an aspect of speech craft and delivery; each student then gives a presentation reflecting mastery of that week’s material. The instructor films each student’s presentations and reviews them in individual conferences. During one class meeting, the students will review and analyze videos of notable speeches.
The course has two sections, limited to 10 students each. Classes are held during the first six weeks of the spring semester. Conferences will be scheduled separately.
Instructor: Peter Sapira
Consult the Smith College Course Search for specific meeting times.
The OWL at Purdue
The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University provides a selection of printable handouts with clear explanations of a wide variety of grammar points and exercises. Recommended for ELL students.
Guide to Grammar and Writing
Written by Professor Charles Darling, Capital Community Technical College, this exhaustive grammar and writing guide offers concise explanations of rules.
English Language Centre Study Zone
This site provides simplified presentations of grammar rules and interactive exercises.
Activities for ESL/EFL Students
Find self-study quizzes without preliminary explanations, which can be a useful resource for motivated students.
How to Study
This site breaks down how to study in every discipline, including reading and note-taking strategies.
Study Guides and Strategies
Resources for reading, note-taking, exam prep, organization, time management, writing, tutoring, group work and more.
Resource for ESL issues.
Cynthia Arem's Home Page
Study tips by psychology professor with a focus on math and sciences, math anxiety, test anxiety.
Harvard Bureau of Study Council
Handouts on a wide range of learning issues including focus, decision-making, ESL learning, procrastination, perfectionism, reading and discipline.
California Polytech’s Study Skills
Oonline library for study skills improvement.