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For Students

Visiting the Writing Center

If you are having difficulty getting started, bring a list of ideas or questions so the writing consultant can help you choose a topic and put together a plan. If you are already working on a paper, bring a typed copy and the assignment description. Your own list of questions or problems you would like to work on is also helpful.

When you meet with a writing consultant, plan to spend half an hour discussing your work, asking questions and listening to suggestions. We are here to help you with the writing process in a shared effort that depends on your active participation to succeed.

Writing consultants will help you with everything from invention to proofreading strategies, but remember this is not a "fix-it" shop. Editing and proofreading are skills that we can help you to develop and master, not "services" that we provide. You are welcome to return for as many appointments as you feel you need to complete a work to your own satisfaction.

Please contact the Writing Center coordinator if you encounter any difficulties with the process.

Preparing for a Writing Conference

In preparing to meet your writing consultant, you will gain more from your conference if you target areas with which you need help. To do this, consider these aspects of your assignment:

  • What have you chosen to write about? How/why did you decide on this subject? What is your opinion of it?
  • Who are your readers and what can you assume they know about your subject? How, specifically, do you hope to influence their thinking through your essay?
  • How will you support your topic? What sources will you utilize?
  • List three areas that you would like help with in your essay.

What Writing Consultants Can (And Cannot) Do

They Can Help You Get Started

  • Talk with you about your ideas
  • Ask questions to help you focus your topic
  • Review the assignment to make sure you understand it
  • Introduce you to the library's online catalog

They Can Help You Revise a Draft

  • Review comments you have already received
  • Provide guidance and strategies for structuring and organizing a work
  • Advise you about ways to support your ideas with specific examples and with quotations from outside sources, when called for
  • Suggest specific ways to clarify the ideas in your sentences
  • Help you with correct documentation of sources

They Can Help You Proofread a Draft

  • Identify problems with grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, spelling and documentation and helping you to find ways to improve them
  • Provide dictionaries, grammar handbooks and handouts for your use
  • Help you to identify and correct errors, to avoid them in the future
  • Suggest strategies and tactics to enable you to edit and proofread your own work more effectively

They Can Help You Feel Good About the Writing Process

  • Welcome you to the Writing Center
  • Treat you and your writing with courtesy and respect
  • Help you to grow as a writer

Things They Cannot Do

  • Write or research your paper for you
  • Proofread your paper for you
  • Guarantee a higher grade