Policies and FAQs
What kind of help can I expect?
At the Writing Center, our mission is to help all students become better writers by helping them understand and improve their writing processes. We want students to become more independent writers and learners, and we focus on helping students effectively conceptualize and construct their written work. Writing Center consultants are trained undergraduate and graduate students who work individually with writers; they provide feedback and suggestions to the writer, but do not proofread or write students’ papers. We endeavor to provide professional, effective service to as many students as possible.
How long will my session last?
Sessions can last up to 50 minutes, but may be less depending on how much and what kind of help you need.
Do I need an appointment?
No, walk-in hours are available Monday through Thursday from noon to 1pm and 2pm to 3pm during the regular semester. However, if you want to be guaranteed more than 15 minutes with a consultant or have a tight schedule, you should make an appointment.
How often can I visit the Writing Center?
Our system allows you to schedule three sessions per week, but they may not be back-to-back appointments.
What should I bring to my session?
Please bring the instructions for your assignment, a copy of your draft (if you have one), and any notes or sources that are key to what you want to discuss about your writing. Bring your ideas for what you want to discuss, as well.
Will I get an A on a paper I bring to the Writing Center?
Writing takes a great deal of work and practice that cannot be mastered in a few short sessions. We cannot guarantee a grade, but recent research shows frequent visitors do earn higher grades on their writing assignments and score higher in composition courses.
Can I get someone to just fix my grammar?
No, we work alongside writers to help them “fix” their own writing. Grammatical errors usually have an underlying cause which we cannot “fix” without knowing what the meaning was intended to be. So, we ask questions which lead writers to clarify their own ideas and improve or recognize their own patterns of error. As a result, their writing is stronger and easier to understand.
I have writer's block, and my paper is due tomorrow. Will the consultant help write part of it?
No, we will not even write a few sentences of a client’s paper. Consultants normally do not even write directly on your paper at any point during the session, we take notes instead (which you can keep). Since the Writing Center’s goal is to develop better writers, not better papers, this method tends to help the writer correct similar errors on their future assignments too.
Can I drop off my paper and pick it up later with your corrections?
No, but we will sit alongside you and provide guidance and practice that will improve your writing and critical thinking skills. Ultimately, we aim to help you become a more successful, independent writer. We have found that happens best when the writer is right beside us working through a draft.
My roommate had the same class last year with a different instructor. Can you help me make his paper sound like my own?
The Writing Center promotes the ethical use of information. Consultants call attention to any portion of a writer’s work that does not correctly document its source or is not appropriately integrated into the writer’s work. The consultant will ask whether the writer knows how to document the source material correctly in the style appropriate to the project and discipline; if not, that consultant will instruct the writer how and will remind the writer of the ethical obligation all writers have to cite their sources. We can help you develop your own ideas if you are struggling so you don't have to rely on a friend's paper as a crutch. In the long run, that will make you a better writer!
What else can I expect?
- Confidentiality from consultants
- Instructors are only notified if students ask us to notify them
- To be respected. Disrespectful or abusive behavior by either students or writers will not be tolerated. All questions or concerns should be directed to Dr. Crystal Mueller, Writing Center Director.
- Disrespectful or abusive behavior by either consultants or writers will not be tolerated. All questions or concerns should be directed to Dr. Crystal Mueller, Writing Center director.
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