The Richmond OWL

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a free University of Richmond service offered exclusively to currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate SPCS students, and also to the University’s faculty and staff. Papers of all types and disciplines can be sent via email ( to a professional writing tutor for assistance at any hour of the day or night. Papers are returned by email to your UR account in approximately 48 hours or less with feedback that’s designed to help improve your writing.

Each assignment will be reviewed only once to avoid student dependence on a tutor.

When sending papers, writers should always include their professor’s instructions for each assignment and the style of documentation expected. Short reports will be sent to any professor if the writer so requests and includes that professor’s name/preferred e-mail address when sending the paper.

Papers must be sent from your UR account as an MS Word document of less than 10 MB with any charts, graphs, or visuals removed. If a delay is expected, you will be notified as soon as possible by return e-mail.

Please note that the OWL is not a “fix-it” shop. Writers are expected to take responsibility for their own writing, but explanations as to how and why changes might improve the paper will be offered. It’s up to individual writers to decide whether to make suggested changes or to keep things as they are. The OWL is also not a proofreading or editing service; however, tips are available to assist writers with those issues.

Questions are always welcome and answered promptly. If you don’t have a paper, but have a question about a paper, or a question about writing in general, you are welcome to use the OWL’s email ( in that manner. The OWL does experience heavy use during certain times of the semester. Feel free to inquire about possible delays or to request a list of anticipated closures during each current semester.

Instructions for Using the OWL

The OWL is for currently enrolled SPCS students, faculty, and staff. The OWL does not support recent graduates or students not yet enrolled.

To have your paper reviewed for editing, please send an email with your Word document attached to

  • In this email please describe what course this paper is for and what type of assistance you are looking for.
  • Be sure to add your professor’s instructions, their name, and, if you wish a report sent after the tutorial, their preferred e-mail address.

Your attachment must not be larger than 10 MB — if you have a large Word document that contains large photographs and illustrations, please remove these before sending them to

You must send this email from your University of Richmond email account.

Emails that are sent from,, etc. addresses will not be reviewed and will be immediately deleted.

You will receive a response within approximately 48 hours that contains changes to your Word document. Heavy usage times often cause delays. If this is the case, you will receive an email letting you know. If you wish to know this prior to submitting your paper, you can write to ask. Questions are welcome at any time.

Please understand that a single person is behind Richmond OWL. There will be occasions when the OWL is closed, such as between semesters, during breaks, and when the OWL is out of town. Feel free to request a schedules of closures at the beginning of each semester.