Whether you’re taking a composition class or working on a lab report, writing for college classes can be tricky. Many campuses offer writing centers in some form, whether it be for the university as a whole or within specific departments. Knowing how to use a writing center can help either during finals week or throughout the semester.
Usually, campus writing centers are advertised by the university. Many have their own building or a certain number of classrooms, but some operate completely over email. Finding out the hours and schedule of your school’s writing center is the first step to getting help with a paper.
Making an appointment at a writing center requires some advance planning. Make sure that you still have some time before the paper is due, because writing tutors need time to read your paper and make comments.
Writing centers usually operate in one of three ways when editing papers. Some writing center tutors read the paper for the first time during a meeting with the student. This allows them to give feedback quickly and can lead to productive meetings. Some centers ask for the paper before the meeting. Tutors at these centers read the paper and make comments before the meeting and discuss improvements when meeting with the students. Additionally, online writing center tutors usually read students’ papers, make comments, and email them back to students.
Knowing how a writing center works can help you when making an appointment. After the meeting, talking to your professor can also improve your paper. If you’re unsure of any comments or suggestions that the tutor made in your meeting, your professor can usually answer your questions. This also shows your professor that you’re putting in work outside of class and taking their assignment seriously, which can help you when the professor is grading your paper.
Going to a writing center can seem like more work than necessary. However, having a second opinion on your paper before handing it in can make a big difference. Even if the tutor focuses only on grammar and punctuation, they are still making changes and improving the paper. Your professor will appreciate grading a more complete and coherent paper, and you will learn a lot more about writing for college classes.