What to Expect

Here's what you need to know to make the most of your session.

Thank you for your interest in the University Writing Center! The following information will prepare you to make the most of your session:

Who should visit the Writing Center?

Everyone who writes anything!

We work with all types of writing from academic to creative. We work with all types of writers from the struggling to the brilliant. We work with you at all stages of the writing process from brainstorming a topic to drafting and developing ideas to polishing your grammar.

We can help you write introductions, conclusions, supporting points, a strong thesis, good research questions, science lab reports, or literary masterpieces. A writing center appointment can give you an extra boost to help you tackle your writing assignments. We think of writing as a collaborative, social act. Before you write, you need to think. Talk to a thoughtful, intelligent, trained consultant who can help you jumpstart your thinking.

What to expect at your first appointment:

Every conference is unique. Expect your appointment to last anywhere from ten to fifty minutes. You may choose to work on one of our computers, bring your own laptop, notebook, scrap paper, or printed draft of your paper. Your consultant will want to read the prompt for your assignment (be sure it’s readily accessible). He or she will ask some questions about what you want to work on. Once you have set the agenda for the session, your consultant will respond to your work as an attentive, careful reader (or listener). They will point out what works well and identify possible areas for improvement, asking questions that will help you develop your thoughts.

Our goal is not only to help you improve your paper, but also to help you improve your writing in general. To that end, consultants aim to concentrate on the big picture first. Our consultants understand that small changes in individual sentences will not improve a paper as much as changes in thesis, focus, and organization will.They want to ensure that you respond to the assignment in a focused, well-organized, and effectively developed paper before you address such concerns as style, grammar, word choice, and punctuation. Consultants work with you, not for you, to help you read, think, write, organize, proofread, and edit your papers. Our goal is to help you become a better, more confident writer.

How to prepare for your first appointment:

Ideally, before you meet with a consultant, you’ll have some time for some preliminary work on your assignment. Read the assignment carefully, ask your professor any questions you might have about the assignment, and read (or begin reading) any useful texts. If you can, do some initial research (visit the reference desk if necessary), discuss the assignment with classmates, brainstorm some ideas, or begin a rough outline.

If you are having difficulty putting pen to paper, come to the Writing Center anyway. You can use your appointment to discuss how to get started.

Be ready to engage in discussion about your writing, to receive advice about it, and to seek ways to improve it.

How to make an appointment:

You can schedule an appointment with a Writing Center Consultant by:

When to schedule an appointment:

Feel free to come to the Writing Center at any stage of your writing process—from brainstorming a topic to polishing a final draft.

The more time you can give us in advance of an assignment’s due date the better.

Come early and come often!

What we cannot do:

We are not able to read papers in advance of an appointment (exceptions for extraordinary circumstances may be made).

We work collaboratively. We do not provide last-minute proofreading or editing services.