I have a Peer Writing Fellow, But What Does That Mean?

The effective student’s guide to Writing tutors, SIs, and Peer Writing Fellows!


Karyn Williams, Staff Writer

You’ve probably heard of or had a class with a writing tutor, Supplemental Instructor, or Peer Writing Fellow.  All of these are students-leaders and employees of the Student Success Center.  They all have the shared purpose of helping students excel, but each one has a dramatically different purpose in the classroom.  A lot of the time students confuse or misunderstand the purpose of the student leader and end up not getting the help they need.  But this article will help you clearly identify each leader and their specific skill set so you can excel.

Writing tutors

What they are: It’s a common misconception to think that Writing tutors are also English tutors.  English is the study of a language while writing is the act of communicating in a written format.  So essentially, a writing tutor is a student who excels in their ability to clearly express critical thought processes, effectively deliver messages, and form reasonably sound arguments in writing.  Here at Kentucky Wesleyan, they typically aren’t English majors but come from a variety different majors and minors.

What they do: Kentucky Wesleyan’s Student Success Center employs writing tutors with a variety of skills.  They can help you proof read a paper, brainstorm ideas, aid in revision and editing, and help you properly cite your sources (let’s be honest, we could all use a little help with citations). It’s their job to help you get better at the essentials of writing which are important across all subjects.  So no matter the class you’re writing for, a writing tutor will be able to help you.

How to utilize them:  You can always visit them in the SSC with or without an appointment (you can schedule appointments through tutoring schedule email or on the SSC Brightspace page accessible to all students). Pro tip, if you want a tutor to proof read something but you’re worried it won’t be finished before you can take it to them, you can always bring your unfinished paper to a tutor.  Whether you need help starting, revising, or polishing your paper, the writing tutors are more than happy to help no matter what stage of the writing process you’re on.


What they are: SI stands for supplemental instructor.  These are students who have already taken the class and act as an additional resource outside of the instructor to provide a deeper understanding of class-specific content.

What they do:  SI’s hold class-specific tutoring sessions called SI sessions.  These are hours outside of class time when students can go to the SI and ask questions about the class content or homework assignments or as designated study times.  They also hold individual tutoring hours if you need help in a one-on-one environment.  SIs will sit in on your classes so they are up to date on the class material.

How to utilize them: Go to SI sessions.  Go to SI sessions. Go to SI sessions.  Don’t understand a concept? Go to an SI session.  Unsure if you’re on the right track with a homework assignment? Go to an SI session. Just need someone to sit with you while you work? Go to an SI session.  Seriously, utilize these resources now because you won’t have them once you graduate.

Peer Writing Fellows

What they are:  A Peer Writing Fellow is a student familiar and skilled in a discipline-specific style of writing. Oftentimes they’ve taken the class before, but not always.  PWF who have not taken the class before can still help improve the quality of your writing without knowing exact material.  Their focus is on the application of specific styles of writing (this includes citations).

What they do:  PWFs do not help you study and understand concepts better.  They can help you apply concepts to writing assignments and make sure you are utilizing them properly.  They cannot help you with a math problem set, but they can help you apply the numbers from the problem set to a research paper. They hold workshop sessions that focused on class-specific and discipline-specific writing techniques, they also hold tutoring hours to give additional homework help (for writing assignments only), and they sit in on classes so you have access to them and the instructor at the same time.

How to utilize them:  Ask them questions about writing assignments.  Go to Workshop sessions to develop a better understanding of the writing style specific to your discipline.  Go to tutoring hours if you have questions about writing assignments, need someone to write with, or need help with certain writing assignments.  Brainstorming, research, format, and editing, your PWF is here to help you learn.

QEP page: https://kwc.edu/academics/qep/