Online Writing Lab

Who We Are
All writers can benefit from having other writers critique their written work, listen to their formulation of ideas, and share in the project of translating their nascent thoughts and arguments into polished prose.  We are a group of faculty, alumni, and graduate students dedicated to establishing an online community of enthusiastic and responsible writers drafting effective, precise, and elegant essays for their course requirements here at Holy Apostles College and Seminary.

Director: Dr. Dawn Eden Goldstein

ESL Specialist: Margaret Posner
Student and Alumni Peer Tutors: Stephen Bujno, Daniel Younan

What We Do

The Writing Center offers tutorial sessions free of charge to all students at Holy Apostles College & Seminary. We work with writers at all stages of the essay process: we can brainstorm a topic to get you started (Skype or a telephone connection is a must for this), read a work in progress, or take a look at your prized final draft.  In this last case, however, be forewarned: a good tutor will always find room for improvement, offering a suggestion or two to even the most spectacular essayist.  Of course, you are in charge of construction: whether you decide to build on those suggestions is entirely up to you.

We focus on what we deem the higher-order concerns of logic and style. We ask, for example: Is the thesis viable, or is it too general/deductively flawed/inarguable opinion or fact?  Is it dexterously argued throughout the paper’s entirety, or are there digressions?  Is evidence accurately and adequately marshaled to support that thesis?  Are there redundancies, or vague passages?  Is tone consistent throughout, and is the audience effectively considered?  What of the introduction and conclusion: do they offer, respectively, a provoking and specific basis for the argument in question and conclude that argument with an satisfying statement of impact?  These are only a few of our considerations, and they are meant to give you some sense of our modus operandi. It should be noted that some of the most successful sessions are the ones in which the student asks specific questions about his or her own paper.

While we may note lower-order grammar and syntax concerns on a global level, we do not edit these in your paper line-by-line. If your tutor recognizes a pattern of error in your use of colons, contractions, citation format, et cetera, he or she will likely mention it to you along with pointing out instances of it in your paper. Your tutor will also help to ensure that you are familiar with the rules enough to correct such errors on your own.

To dispel any mistaken perceptions, we emphasize this writing center is not a place of remediation that judges writers by their writing and punitively corrects what is “bad;” such affective terminology is not in our lexicon.  Nor are we a drop-off proof-reading service that fixes all typos and grammar errors, as a mechanic would tinker under the hood while you wait.  Bring your elbow grease because we’ll be working in tandem on the engine of your argument!

How do I submit a paper?

Email the paper in PDF format to and request an appointment providing a few days and times (noted in EDT/EST) you’re available over the course of the following week.

Also, please state your degree program, your due date and your Skype name if you’d like to use Skype. If you don’t yet have Skype, you can download it for free from You’ll need a microphone and speakers. A webcam is optional. Other methods to communicate in real time can be used. You can, for instance, simply email your tutor back and forth during the time slot the tutor has available for you, and our email system has its own text chat feature so that you and the tutor can type back and forth in real time. Other methods to communicate in real time can be used.

How long are tutorial sessions?
One hour.

How often can I sign up?
Once bi-weekly.

What can I submit?
Send your essay draft (if you have it) as well as the assignment or prompt.  Tutors can read an outside limit of ten pages an hour.  One paper per session, please.

When do I sign up for a session?
Please allow time for scheduling up to two weeks in advance of your due date. You’ll always be scheduled within seven days of requesting the appointment, and that will provide you with another seven days to ready the paper for submission following the appointment. Emergency scheduling is available if noted in the subject heading of your email.

When do I send the paper?
Email text to be critiqued, along with the prompt/assignment, to at least twenty-four hours in advance of your scheduled session.

What if I have to cancel?
Please email within 24 hours of your scheduled appointment. Emergency cancellations can happen any time.

How will the tutorial session proceed?
Live Chat (preferred method)
Upon receipt of your paper, your tutor will confirm your appointment via email and send you his or her Skype name.  At the time of your appointment, make sure you’re in front of your computer with Skype open. Additionally, those without the ability to Skype may use the synchronous chat feature within the Holy Apostles email system to interact with your tutor. Just make sure that you and your tutor know how you want the session to proceed prior to your trying to make contact with one another.

Written Critique
In the event you’re unable to do a live chat via Skype, you may still sign up for a session. Your tutor will use that hour to read your essay and submit written comments by the hour’s end.  While our preferred method for tutorials is to be synchronously engaged with one another for the purpose of creating a collaborative atmosphere, we are able to work asynchronously when necessary.

What Resources does the OWL Provide?

Here are the Special Project Guidelines (September 2015).

Here are the Thesis Guidelines (January 2018)

Here are the Guidelines for Papers, Projects, and Theses (January 2018)

Here are the Abridged Guidelines for Papers, Projects, and Theses

Here is a Sample Paper.

For stylistic and bibliographic needs not included in the Holy Apostles Stylesheet linked above, please refer to either of these resources below.

Chicago Documentation Style
Turabian Quickguide

This style sheet is based on Chicago Manual of Style. An easy to use citation engine for Chicago can be found at StyleEase website. Others like this one may also be available online.

To avoid reinventing the concept of the OWL, we’re happy to direct you to Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab.

Paper Formatting Faux-Pas (or, how to recognize simple composition errors in your own writing – a humorous approach to a real issue)” by Dr. Daniel Van Slyke

Plagtracker, a free online service to check papers for plagiarism.

If you know of a good resource to add to this page, please email it to us at