Online Writing Lab (OWL)


Image of an OwlThe OWL is closed for Summer 2024 semester! We are no longer accepting submissions. Please stay tuned for our Fall 2024 opening day.

What Is the OWL?

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) is an email tutoring service. After you fill out some key information on the submission form, your work will be submitted to a tutor for review. You can use the OWL at any stage in the writing process!

You can expect a reply within 36-48 hours Monday-Friday (except for holidays). At certain times of the semester, our response time may be longer.

OWL Tutor Liz's email to student Estella

OWL Goal

Most people benefit from getting responses to their writing. In fact, successful writers routinely seek out such feedback as part of their writing process. Our goal is to give you the kind of feedback that will help you develop and refine skills that you can carry with you beyond a given assignment or course. We want to teach you how to improve your own writing, not take over your paper and rewrite it. You can expect your OWL tutor to give you clear, specific suggestions for improving your paper. Save time to do some work revising your paper based on those suggestions.

Tips for a Great OWL Session

  • Be specific when submitting the form: tell us about the assignment so we can give you the best feedback possible. Consider attaching or copy/pasting guidelines from the instructor.
  • Allow enough time to get a response and then revise. You should receive an email confirmation of your request immediately. Requests received after 6 p.m. Monday-Friday will be considered received 8 a.m. the following working day. You can expect a reply within 36-48 hours Monday-Friday (except for holidays). At certain times of the semester, our response time may be longer. Our email address is should you have any questions.
  • Check your school email regularly. Your tutor may write back to you with additional questions.

OWL Submission Form Questions

You will see that the online submission form asks you several questions about your paper. These questions are designed to let us know exactly what you want to work on. Even if you don’t have an immediate concern about your writing, we can still help. Before you proceed to fill out the submission form, spend a few minutes thinking about your answer to the question “What do you want the tutor to focus on today?”

Here are some areas where we can help:

  • Coming up with an interesting topic to write about
  • Devising a thesis or outline
  • Writing an introduction or conclusion
  • Drafting paragraphs and transitions
  • Revising based on your teacher’s comments
  • Quoting, paraphrasing, and citing
  • Developing ideas
  • Working with grammar and punctuation
  • Looking for patterns of strengths and weaknesses in your writing
  • Any other concern you might have

Online Writing Lab (OWL) Submission Form (MySWC Login Required)