FAQs - Graduates

Browse the list of questions graduates often ask about the CAPC

Browse answers to frequently asked questions.

Do I need to see a consultant from my department or field?

No. Regardless of their major and classification status, all of our communication consultants are trained to recognize the conventions and structures of written and spoken genres in various disciplines and thus will be able to work with you. There is even empirical research showing that trained undergraduate tutors can help graduate students improve the way they communicate their ideas.

Can I work at the Center?

Yes! We welcome applications from graduate students, especially from STEM fields, to work as communication consultants. You do not need to have experience teaching or tutoring communication skills; we will provide training. You only need to be interested in and enthusiastic about working with Rice students to improve their skills. We post the job notice on our site in late March, and a writing sample and interview are required. Note: We rarely interview candidates with only one year left in their studies at Rice. We are looking for consultants who, after receiving our intensive training, will work here for multiple years.

What other teaching opportunities related to writing and communication are there for graduate students?

The Program in Writing and Communication hires a small number of graduate students to be TAs and instructors for the FWIS courses. The application process is explained in detail on the Program’s site.

Can the Center refuse to serve me?

Yes. We expect all visitors to the Center to respect the rights of others. Anyone who engages in disrespectful or disruptive behavior will be asked to leave. In such rare cases, an individual may lose the privilege of using the Center's services and/or be referred for disciplinary action.

Do you accept walk-in students?

While we recommend that students make an appointment in advance, you may come in as a walk-in and meet with a consultant if any consultant is free at the time. To avoid wasting your time, though, you should check our online scheduling system before you come over.

What happens if I am late for my appointment?

We recommend strongly that you call ahead (713-348-4905) if you are going to be late. If you are more than ten minutes late for your appointment, you may lose your spot.

How do I cancel or modify an appointment?

You can cancel or modify an appointment up to six hours before the appointment by logging into the scheduling system. After that time, you will be considered a no-show. After two no-show appointments in a semester, your access to the scheduling calendar will be blocked until you have spoken with a Center administrator.

Are there limits on the number of appointments I can make?

Yes, you are limited to one appointment per day, two per week and 14 per semester to ensure that all students are provided with equal opportunity to access this service and to allow adequate revision time on your work.

How long does a consultation session take?

Appointments last 40 minutes. You are limited to one appointment per day, two per week and 14 per semester to ensure that all students are provided with equal opportunity to access this service and to allow adequate revision time on your work.

What happens in a consultation session?

Our communication consultants will serve as informed readers with the goal of assisting you in effectively communicating your ideas. During the session, your consultant may work with you to help you do any of the following:

  • Brainstorm ideas Identify and analyze your audience and their needs
  • Develop a thesis statement appropriate for the writing situation
  • Organize your ideas and arguments
  • Develop self-editing strategies
  • Address stylistic and grammatical concerns
  • Provide feedback on presentation delivery

Can I get help on anything other than papers for classes?

Yes, our consultants can help you with such documents as your application essay for graduate school, a personal statement for a summer internship, a fellowship application, a research poster, slides, or an oral presentation (see below). Our consultants can also help with longer written work, such as a senior thesis. However, for long projects you may need to visit the Center several times.

I heard that I could also get help with a presentation. How does that work?

If you have just begun to work on the presentation slides/poster, our communication consultants can help you with designing and/or revising your slides or poster. Our consultants also can help you practice and improve the delivery of your presentation.

Will my consultant proofread my paper?

The Center is not a proofreading or editing service. During a session, our consultants will first try to work with you to improve big-picture issues (such as argument support and organization of your ideas) and then may move on to help you improve sentence-level issues if time permits.

What if I am working on a group project?

We recommend that the entire group meet with a consultant. If you come alone, the consultant can help only with the part that you wrote or created.