Academic Skills: FAQs
How do I cancel an appointment?
What should I bring?
I have an assignment due in two hours. Can you help me?
Will you read my take-home exam?
What do I do if I am in the Fresh Start Program?
How does Academic Skills support students who are registered with Student Accessibility Services?
What is the Academic Integrity Module?
What is Take the University Challenge?
What is Read & Write Gold?
- What is Academic Skills instruction?
- Will you proofread my essay?
- Is it hard to get an appointment?
- How many appointments can I have?
1. What is Academic Skills instruction?
Academic skills instructors help students learn the skills needed for academic success at university. These skills include essay writing, critical reading, study techniques, seminar presentation, time management, note taking, lab writing, mathematics, documentation and referencing, and exam preparation.
Academic Skills does not offer academic advising. Each college has an academic advisor who will help you to understand the academic calendar and plan your degree.
Academic Skills does not offer testing accommodation. Please contact the Centre for Academic Testing.
We do not offer course or discipline-specific tutoring or instruction; we encourage you to check out the online tutor board or to contact the relevant academic department.
2. Will you proofread my essay?
We are a teaching service and provide instruction in grammar, style, organization and other writing skills. Nobody learns from watching somebody proofread an essay. We help develop editing skills students can apply independently. Questions about specific content should be addressed to course instructors. We provide guidance on developing analysis, organizing arguments, and general principles of writing. We may not always need to read an entire paper but will read a portion of a paper and help the student with problems found there, so the student can edit the remainder.
Access online resources for additional help with grammar and clear writing, formatting papers, and referencing.
Also refer to
3. Is it difficult to get an appointment?
At the Peterborough campus, Academic Skills offers in-person and online appointments for students Monday to Friday; in addition, we offer 30-minute drop-in sessions Monday to Thursday (see our schedule). At peak times during the academic year, you may wish to book an appointment at least one week in advance.
Use our online booking system to book an in-person appointment, online appointment, or an in-person math appointment. Sign in to the Student Experience Portal; click on “Peterborough Campus Appointment Bookings” in the left menu and select “Academic Skills.” You’ll see all open Academic Skills appointments for the next two weeks. If there are a limited number of slots available, we recommend you regularly check the system as new appointment slots open up when students cancel.
You can also call 705-748-1011 x7098 during office hours.
Appointments in Durham
4. How many appointments can I have?
Students may book one in-person or online appointment (or drop-in session) per week to a maximum of five appointments per term. In addition, students may book one math skills appointment per week to a maximum of five appointments per term.
Exceptions may be made based on the instructor’s discretion and appointment availability.
4a. Can I have more than one appointment for the same assignment?
For some assignments, students find it helpful to meet with an instructor first in the planning or outlining stage, where they can analyze assignment instructions, refine topics, and organize ideas. This appointment may be followed by another appointment to review part of a draft. Note that instructors will not usually read the same draft more than once; they may use their discretion to provide a second review of a draft if significant edits have been made from the first review.
5. How do I cancel an appointment?
If a student cannot make an appointment, it is important to cancel it in order to free that time for someone else. Students should use the online booking system to cancel an appointment at least 3 hours before it is scheduled to begin or call 705-748-1011 x7098 during office hours.
No Show Policy: Students who miss an appointment and do not cancel in advance will be unable to book an appointment for thirty days (appointments scheduled within this period will be cancelled by academic skills staff). They are also barred from the drop-in for that time period. Students who repeatedly miss appointments without calling ahead to cancel will be unable to use academic skills services for the term.
All students must follow Academic Skills policies regarding cancellations and no-shows.
6. What should I bring?
It is important to bring all relevant material, for example, assignment instructions (for papers), syllabi (for time management sessions), or reading or note taking samples (for study skills).
Prior to a session, it is recommended that students ask their course instructor for clarification of assignment instructions. It is also helpful if students think ahead about the type of guidance they are seeking.
Students are asked to bring in a hard copy of their work; research has shown that revision is easier and more effective and errors are more easily spotted on paper than on the screen.
7. I have an assignment due in two hours. Can you help me?
Students should leave sufficient time for revisions after an appointment. It is best to book an appointment well in advance of a due date. These are teaching sessions, not editing sessions, and students need time to apply what is learned in the appointment.
An instructor can choose not to go over an assignment if it is due on the same day as the appointment.
8. Will you read my take-home exam?
Generally, you should treat your take-home exam like a formal exam, where you would not have access to Academic Skills supports. However, some course instructors may allow students to seek feedback on grammar and organization for a take-home exam.
An academic skills instructor will only read a take-home exam with written permission from the course instructor. In advance of your appointment, contact your course instructor by email to ask permission to discuss the take-home exam with Academic Skills. Be clear about the questions you plan to bring to Academic Skills (do you want help with grammar or organization?). Print the email or forward it to the Academic Skills instructor in advance of your appointment. Without this permission, we are unable to review your take-home exam. Note that course instructors may not give permission for a take-home to be read or reviewed by any individual other than the student.
9. What do I do if I am in the Fresh Start Program?
The Fresh Start program is part of a re-entry agreement for students who face suspension for a failing academic record. Students enrolled in the Fresh Start program may be referred to Academic Skills by an academic advisor. Students can reflect on their academic strengths and weaknesses, and with an instructor, they can work to improve study strategies, writing skills, or time management.
10. How does Academic Skills support students who are registered with Student Accessibility Services?
Students who are registered with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) can discuss details about re-occurring appointments with an instructor (how often and how many appointments should be made). Usually, once every two weeks, up to five appointments per term, is sufficient. More appointments may be scheduled depending on circumstances.
11. What is the Academic Integrity Module?
We administer an online module on Academic Integrity at Trent, which you may find on your learning system if your professor requires you to complete it for a course. The online module is comprised of three sections: Policy and Practice, Avoiding Plagiarism, and Avoiding Cheating. Each section is comprised of instructional materials followed by a quiz that assesses your understanding of academic integrity. In order to successfully complete the module, you must earn 100% on each of the three quizzes.
If you are required to complete this module for more than one course during the same academic year, you only need to complete it once. You must complete the module again if it is required by a course in a different academic year.
It is the responsibility of all Trent students to understand the university's academic integrity policy and procedures.
12. What is Take the University Challenge?
We offer an academic boot camp during Orientation Week, which offers new students an opportunity to become familiar with the work load and expectations faced by university students. Whether you plan to study Nursing, Business, Cultural Studies, or Biochemistry, you will discover helpful strategies to meet the challenges of university by working with Academic Skills instructors to complete exercises, discuss strategies, and assess your strengths in topics like time management,writing lab reports and essays, and study skills.
13. What is Read & Write?
Read & Write is software that helps students to improve their
editing skills. A quick download offers students a toolbar that provides
useful options such as text to speech, word predictor, and homophone
recognition. This software is a free download for all Trent students;
download the program from the Student Accessibility Services website (PC or
Mac versions available).