Frequently Asked Questions

Why am I limited to five pages per day?

The purpose of the OWL is to serve as many different Stritch students as possible. We receive dozens of submissions each day, and in the time that it would take to review one 25-page paper for one student, we could review five shorter papers for five different students. Moreover, students must ultimately be responsible for their own revisions, and our goal is to help students improve their writing instead of simply proofreading papers. Therefore, if a student is working on a 10-page paper, he or she is encouraged to use the comments and suggestions we provide on the first five pages and apply them to the rest of the paper. Ultimately, a limit of five pages per student, per day, allows us to provide quality responses for as many different students as possible.


Why won't the OWL review capstone papers, master's theses, or doctoral dissertations?

First, please review our response to the question "Why am I limited to five pages per day?" above. In addition to those reasons, capstones, theses, and dissertations typically represent the culmination of an undergraduate or graduate student's academic career/major, and at that point, we feel students should use the skills they have acquired throughout college to complete these projects independently. That said, we still offer tutoring by appointment for students who are working on these projects, and we are happy to work on certain aspects of these papers in person.

*** A note for graduate students: There are a number of knowledgeable, qualified English tutors in the Milwaukee/Madison area who do freelance work as proofreaders and editors. You can conduct a simple online search for these services.


Can I submit 5-page segments of a longer paper on separate days?

Technically, yes. Students are limited to five pages per day. Therefore, if a student is working on a 15-page paper, he or she may submit one 5-page segment per day over the course of three days. However, we encourage students who are working on longer papers to submit only the first five pages and then make an appointment with an Academic Support Center tutor if they would like additional feedback on subsequent pages. It is much easier to go over a paper in person with a tutor so that students can ask questions and actively discuss complicated issues that are difficult to explain through the OWL system.


How long will it take for me to receive feedback on may paper, and how far in advance should I submit my paper?

The standard wait time for OWL submissions is two business days. The OWL is not staffed on weekends, so papers submitted on Friday evening, Saturday, or Sunday will likely not be read until Monday. The wait time will vary depending on when the paper is submitted and how busy Academic Support staff is on a given day. No matter what, students should plan ahead and expect to wait two full business days. In fact, we recommend submitting the paper at least three days in advance of the due date in order to give yourself enough time to review our feedback and make the necessary revisions.


Will the OWL review multiple drafts of the same paper?

No. Students may submit one draft of a paper to The OWL and then make an appointment at The Academic Support Center if they would like additional feedback on that particular paper. Students may submit multiple segments of a longer paper, e.g. a 15-page paper that is submitted in three parts over the course of three days. However, students may not submit a 5-page paper, make corrections, and then resubmit the same five pages.


I received my paper, but I do not see any comments in the margins. How do I get the comments to show up?

If the comments do not appear immediately after you open the document, you will need to go to "View" - "Comments" or "Review" - "Track Changes," depending upon which version of Microsoft Word you are using. In MS Word 2007, "Comments" and "Track Changes" appear under the "Review" heading at the top of the MS Word menu. For further assistance with MS Word issues, you can save your paper to a flash drive or your email and come to the Academic Support Center, or give us a call at 414-410-4165.


I am a non-native English speaker (English is not my first language). Should I use the OWL for papers?

The OWL service is available for all current Stritch students to use; however, the OWL is not recommended for non-native speakers (NNS) or ESL students. We strongly suggest that NNS and ESL students meet with our English tutors instead of submitting their papers to the OWL. It is very difficult to address challenges that NNS/ESL students face with verbs, adjectives, and sentence structure through the OWL. Explaining some of the grammar rules in person and using examples for practice is much more effective. Furthermore, we do not want NNS/ESL students to rely on the OWL for proofreading, because their writing in English will not improve this way.