What is a Writing Center?

College writing centers have become a popular way for students to get writing help. Find out more about the different ways writing centers can assist all types of college students.

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Not everyone who goes to college is a good writer. But with term papers and college composition classes required for college students at every level, it seems like the odds are in favor of those who can write well. It would help to enter the writing center, where anyone is welcome to get help with writing.

What Is a College Writing Center?

A writing center is a place where college students can get writing help. That help can include help with such issues grammar and word usage.

A writing center will teach a student how to work on their writing, but it is ultimately up to her to write and finish anything brought in.

The best thing about them is that they are open to everyone. Even graduate students and faculty and staff members can use the services available through college writing centers. Getting help from a center is very easy, but you often have to go through very exact protocol.

How Do I Use a Writing Center?

Typically, you will have to schedule an appointment. You will then be given a time to come in and work with a trained consultant one-on-one. Most appointments are about one hour. At many schools, you are only allowed a certain number of appointments per week. Many college writing centers won’t have space for walk-ins or people without appointments. If you don’t arrive on time, they might give your spot away, and if you consistently come late or don’t show up they might completely revoke your privilege to use the center.

With all these rules, the people who work at the center may seem strict, but they have a lot of students to work with, and following the rules is the easiest and most efficient way to help everyone.

Sometimes you don’t even need to go in person. Syracuse University, for example, has a great program where you can use instant messaging and video chat with writing consultants without setting foot outside your room.

What Help Can I Get From a Writing Center?

Specifics vary from school to school, but often you can bring practically any kind of writing to a center. Check with the writing center at your college to find out.

The University of Colorado at Boulder, for example, allows help with class papers, academic articles, dissertations, personal statements and even non-school related writing such as resumes, cover letters, business proposals, and your own personal creative writing. But the University of Wisconsin at Madison does not allow you to bring in creative writing or work for ESL courses.

What Can’t I Get From a Writing Center?

Writing centers typically do not offer translation services, and they will not edit or proofread entire papers for you. They also do not do the work for you. A writing center will teach a student how to work on their writing, but it is ultimately up to her to write and finish anything brought in.

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