The Writing Workshop is a student-staffed program designed to provide assistance with any stage of the writing process, from initial brainstorming to final drafts. Staffed by sophomores, juniors, and seniors, selected and trained to work with individuals in an informal, non-judgmental context. Prospective tutors are nominated by faculty usually as first-year students, occasionally as sophomores. Candidates are interviewed, selected, and then trained by head of the Writing Workshop. Good candidates don’t necessarily have to be stellar writers themselves, but they do need excellent analytical skills and strong inter-personal skills. If you think you would like to be a Writing Tutor, don’t hesitate to ask a professor to consider nominating you.
Not all faculty members have funds to hire student research assistants. Those who do frequently do not have sufficient funding or may not want or need full-time student assistance. Faculty who do hire student assistants are generally very selective. They tend to approach students whose work they know well, and whose critical and mechanical editing skills are impeccable.
But you don’t have to wait to be approached either. It never hurts to make your interest known to a professor whose field of study inspires and excites you. You may also give your name to the Department’s Administrative Assistant, who keeps a list for faculty to consult. Just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What kind of work can you expect to do? Proof-reading, reference checking, and xeroxing are probably the most common tasks. Depending on your skills, you might also be sent on detective adventures: compile a list of books or articles that discuss a particular topic, track down what textual scholars know about the stage directions in a Shakespeare play, compile a list of manuscripts of the Romance of the Rose in England in the fourteenth century.
Your best bet for a full-time research assistantship is one of the college’s Division I and II Summer Research Fellowships.