Online support for student writing

Mason’s Writing Center staff provides a variety of resources and services such as tutoring, workshops, writing guides, and handbooks that are intended to support students as they work to construct and share knowledge through writing. In addition to face-to-face tutoring, the Writing Center offers the Online Writing Lab (OWL). With this resource, you can email your paper to a tutor and get feedback almost immediately.

What is the Online Writing Lab (OWL)?

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) is an email-based tutoring service. The Writing Center’s goal is to have the OWL appointments mimic the face-to-face appointments as much as possible. The tutor will review the writing assignment for 45 minutes and make observations, pose questions, and suggest strategies for the improvement of your writing. Before your session, you must email your essay and assignment instructions to Your tutor will give you feedback on your essay within the hour.

You can now sign up for an OWL session just like you would for a face-to-face session. You will be able to:

  • View the Online Writing Lab (OWL) schedule
  • Sign up for an online session for your preferred date and time (if available)
  • Request an OWL session even before you have completed your draft (just be sure to email the draft before your scheduled appointment time)
  • Know exactly what date and time you will receive feedback
  • Sign up for a session with a tutor who you have worked with in the past and would like to meet with again

How do you sign up for an OWL appointment?

To sign up for your OWL appointment, follow these instructions:

  1. Visit the Writing Center website to Login or Register.
  2. Select the “Online Writing Lab (OWL)” schedule from the drop down list. Be sure to select the OWL schedule, as all other schedules are for face-to-face sessions.
  3. White boxes indicate available sessions. Click on a white box and enter the appropriate information.
  4. Email your Word document (Word .doc format only) to at least one hour in advance of your online session so the tutors can make sure they have the document. When you send your email, please provide the following information:
    • Date the assignment is due
    • The assignment prompt as a Word .doc file (if an electronic copy is available) or a summary of the requirements of the assignment
    • What you would like the tutor to focus on during the session (thesis, introduction or conclusion, flow, integration of sources, etc.)

You will receive feedback within one hour of your scheduled appointment. If you have any questions, contact the Writing Center at 703-993-1200 or

Writing Center

The Writing Center

Contact the Writing Center for free writing support, face-to-face tutoring, online tutoring, and workshops.

Phone: 703-993-1200