Becoming a Peer Tutor

The Writing  Center is a key component of Writing at Bates. As members of the Writing at Bates team, Peer Tutors reinforce the foundational principles underlying our work with writing (and speaking) on campus:

  1. We are a community of practice.
  2. Writing is thinking; speaking is thinking.
  3. The scholarly conversation requires us to ask questions, test our beliefs, and
    rethink and revise our ideas.
  4. We believe in the power of collaborative learning and teaching.
  5. We want writers and speakers to gain self-reliance and independence.

While Tutors should have good writing ability and strong oral communication skills, they should also be open to continuously improving their own writing and speaking.  Intellectual curiosity and a genuine desire to mentor and learn from others are also important traits for a Peer Tutor.

Peer Tutors are selected once a year through a competitive process that begins in winter semester. The hiring process includes a resume, cover letter, samples of academic writing, official transcript, and an interview with Writing at Bates staff.

The commitment to being a Peer Tutor is significant: Peer Tutors must be able to devote up to fifty hours per semester, or four to five hours each week, to the program.  Peer Tutors work in the writing center, as well as in the Academic Resource Commons. Peer Writing and Speaking Assistants (PWSAs) are attached to courses such as First-Year Seminars (as well as some W2s).  Both Peer Tutors and PWSAs attend several days of training at the beginning of fall semester to learn about theories of writing and oral communication and best practices in tutoring others. They also attend weekly staff development meetings throughout the semester and are closely mentored by the Director of Writing. Peer Tutors and Peer Writing and Speaking Assistants are paid on an hourly basis at the top student rate.

If you are a faculty or staff member who would like to nominate a student as a Writing and Speaking Assistant, please use our online form.


What Do Peer Tutors and PWSAs Say About Their Work?

– “Peer writing was a great asset to me at Bates both academically and personally. Through this job I became a better writer and speaker, became more sensitive to the differences in the way that people think and communicate, and made many more friends.”

– “Not only did I enjoy my time working with Peer Writing, but I learned a great deal about myself, my writing, my teaching, my strengths, and my weaknesses. It is a program that promotes student-to-student mentorship and development, and in an institution largely defined by student-to-professor relationships, I think as many students as we can get to teach other students, the better. Everybody learns, everybody develops. It’s a win-win.”

– “Being a Peer Writer really helped me as a writer. Learning to think explicitly about writing is really important to my writing process now. Peer Writing is also the place at Bates where I learned most about teamwork and leadership.”