8 Ways to Maximize Use of Your School's Writing Center

8 Ways to Maximize Use of Your School's Writing Center

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You are sitting in the stacks, with a cup of coffee, wondering how you will turn the two pages of incomprehensible gibberish in front of you into a sensible essay before tomorrow morning.

We have all been there. Consider stopping by your school’s Writing Center to get all of those writing-related questions answered. If you want to avoid the notoriously long wait for drop-ins, make an appointment.

Here are 8 ways to maximize your trip to the school’s writing center:

  1. Schedule a session as early as possible in your writing process while the professor’s explanations and expectations are still fresh in your mind. If you schedule your first appointment early in your writing process, you should have time to schedule more appointments for further guidance or review, should you want it, before the assignment is due.
  2. Prepare your assignment sheet, as well as any class notes or other materials that may be relevant to your topic, and any work you have previously done on your writing project.
  3. List key items and questions to discuss during the session. Tutoring sessions should be engaging and communicative. Your proactiveness can help to make the meeting more productive.
  4. Writing center consultations are advisory in nature. Rather than giving you answers, the tutor will generally provide recommendations about your composition through the lens of an experienced writer and ask you guided questions to help you better structure your paper. So take notes during the session to help you recall and apply the techniques you and your tutor discussed.
  5. Be open! The Writing Center is designed to help you improve your writing. The tutors will not judge you for your draft or the questions you ask. Remember, they are genuinely trying to turn you into a better writer!
  6. Send a thank you email to your tutor afterwards. While this is their job, writing center tutors are still everyday people who appreciate words of encouragement. The small gesture helps you maintain a great reputation with your school’s administrators and Writing Center.
  7. After your session, try to generalize your learnings to apply not only to the paper you are currently working on, but also to any future writing you undertake. This is how you grow as a writer.
  8. Some schools set limits on how frequently students can take advantage of Writing Center resources. Make sure to budget your allotted sessions and time appropriately!

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