Simon Mermelstein Writing Tutor

Simon Mermelstein Writing Tutor


About this tutor

I've been a tutor at the WCC Writing Center for seven years now, and I've gotten to be very good at it.  Tutoring for that long has given me a vast knowledge of grammar, and the ability to explain it simply and clearly.  I will fix your commas and teach you how to fix them yourself.  I'll help you clarify your thoughts and structure them into a cohesive, convincing essay.  I know what great papers look like, and I know how to get your writing from here to there.

I'm also a poet, published from coast to coast and nominated for major awards.  If you need help with your poetry, there aren't many people around here more qualified than I am.

I offer tutoring, proofreading, and editing services.  Whether you need a single essay fixed and quickly, or want to learn how to do it right every time, I can help.

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Ann Arbor, MI 48103
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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

The first thing I'll do is have a look at your writing.  From there we can talk about what we want to do.

 I want things looking good on a sentence level (punctuation, word choice, clarity of phrasing) and on an essay level (organization, cohesiveness of thought, research/citations).

Usually the first thing I'll work on is clause structure.  You can't understand punctuation if you don't know syntax.  Most people basically guess for their commas, and usually do a decent-enough job, but there are a million cool things you can do when you actually understand on a technical level what's going on.

But there are plenty of other things that prevent papers from being all they can be.  The most common one I see is writing a descriptive essay instead of argumentative.  Students often won't understand why they got a bad grade--there are no comma errors, it flows smoothly, it looks like a good essay--because they don't know how to write a good thesis statement. 

Ultimately, I want to show a student the whole writing process, from topic and research to thesis and outline to drafting and last-minute revisions.  

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

$25 for a fifty-minute session of tutoring, or for an hour of edits/proofreading.  I don't do by-the-word.

How did you get started teaching?

Well, I took Composition I at WCC, and I thought to myself "those tutors look like they're having an awfully good time."  I ended up finding something I'm perfectly suited for.

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a tutor in your area of expertise?

Find someone you enjoy working with.  You can't have an adversarial relationship with your tutor--we're here to make writing fun!  But also make sure they know their stuff.  Personality is no substitute for real tutoring chops.

What questions should students think through before talking to tutors about their needs?

Send me the writing before we meet in person.  If it's just an essay that needs editing/proofreading, we can do the whole thing via email.  If you're looking for personal tutoring, seeing your writing will let me know what we're going to be working on.  

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