Final Papers? The Writing Center Can Help
Nestled in the heart of the Marshburn Library, the Writing Center provides a place for students to hone their writing skills with the help of qualified writing coaches.
With visits up 60 percent from this time last year, and more than 3,400 appointments made this semester alone, the Writing Center has seen a dramatic increase in student use. As the end of the semester draws near, the center provides a convenient and free resource to help students improve and polish those final papers.
Available on East and West Campus as well as three regional centers, the Writing Center and its coaches offer multiple ways for students to engage and find assistance, whether dropping by the office or downloading any of its 35 online resources. For best service, students are encouraged to sign up online for in-person appointments with writing coaches. This allows students to get help and valuable insight during any step in the writing process, from brainstorming a topic to putting the final touches on a conclusion paragraph. The center’s motto reads, “Any student. Any project. Any stage.”—and they mean it!
“Most students who come in are working on papers, but we also help with case studies, lab reports, exegesis, cover letters, personal statements, articles, and much more. Because our goal is to help students become better writers, we would be happy to help with a short story, a family newsletter, or even a Facebook post,” said Writing Center Director Rebecca Cantor.
Writing Coach Nick Phillips loves seeing the work that students bring in from across the university. “I have learned so much about music history, nursing, and even physics from working with students on their writing,” Phillips said.
The Writing Center works with students at all levels, from freshman to doctoral students. “In fact, our own writing coaches often make appointments with each other. It's helpful to talk to someone about your writing. I wouldn't dream of submitting an article to a journal without getting feedback on it first,” Cantor said.
Allied health major Abbey Mast ’16 frequently brings lab reports to the Writing Center for guidance. “It’s helpful for formal writing, and even if the coaches don’t know all the scientific terms I use for my write-ups, it’s still beneficial to learn about structure, format, and grammar,” Mast said.
If students are looking for a quick way to get a paper edited before turning it in hours later—they’re in the wrong place. Writing coaches never mark up papers, and they are adamant in pursing their goal to first understand what the student is working on and then to work with the student in a non-directive manner to improve writing skills. “We don't write on student papers; instead, we give examples and guidance and let the students mark up their own papers in order to increase learning,” Cantor said.
In addition to in-person appointments and online resources, the Writing Center offers a variety of workshops throughout the year for students, faculty, and staff. The workshops are free to attend and range from topics including Writing Center 101 to How to Overcome Procrastination. View the calendar and register for upcoming workshops.
“We find that better writers equal better papers. And in the end, of course, that's the larger goal: transferable skills that the students will take with them throughout their college and writing careers, not just a polished paper,” Cantor said.
Posted: December 1, 2014