Writing Center Resources

Instructor: Andrea Losa
Whether you need help outlining your essay, citing sources, or proofreading a final draft, your college writing center can provide you with the guidance you need to improve your overall writing skills. Read on to learn about some of the resources you can find in your writing center and discover online courses you can use to supplement them.

Assistance Developing Your Writing Assignment

While some students wait to take advantage of writing center resources after they have completed a draft, others might seek assistance with breaking down an assignment and planning their essays. A writing center associate can help you read over and understand what your writing assignment is asking you to do. You can also get assistance with prewriting tasks, such as organizing and developing your ideas, constructing an introduction and thesis statement, and identifying potential sources or details to include in an essay.

Editing and Proofreading Help

Grammar, punctuation, organization, and clarity are some of the most common concerns for students writing papers. When students seek help with general proofreading and editing, a writing center associate might read over a draft and highlight areas in which a student can improve his or her work. While an associate isn't likely to go through and correct all errors in a document, he or she can point out types of recurring errors and provide a student with feedback on avoiding and correcting them going forward.

Your writing center might also provide you with handouts covering such topics as punctuation use, sentence structure and clauses, verb forms, and voice.

Suggestions for Improving Your Style

Becoming a better writer does not just involve ensuring your grammar is flawless, it also entails choosing the best words to convey your ideas, constructing clear strong sentences, avoiding clichés, correctly citing sources, and developing a voice that is appropriate to your writing task. Your writing center can provide guidance on all of these concerns.

Help Writing for a Specific Discipline

Many academic disciplines have writing guidelines to which instructors might expect you to adhere. This may mean utilizing the principles of a particular style manual in your work - such as Chicago, MLA, or APA - or it may involve taking a certain approach to your assignment. After checking with your professor to determine what style or system of documentation you are expected to use, you can visit your writing center to go over any concerns you have about citing sources, maintaining a proper tone, and formatting your paper.

Feedback on Personal Writing Tasks

Your writing center can also help you with personal writing projects. Some examples of the types of documents you can receive guidance and feedback on include:

  • Resumes and CVs
  • Business-related emails
  • Graduate school admissions and other application essays

Collegiate writing centers can also help with graduate-level writing projects such as:

  • Dissertations and theses
  • Conference papers and presentations

Tips for Making the Most of Your Writing Center Resources

In order to ensure you receive the best possible assistance from your writing center, try to approach every visit with a clear goal of what you would like to accomplish in that session, keeping in mind the limited time associates have to work with each student. Remember that your writing center is not a proofreading service but a resource that can help you develop and improve your writing skills.

You might also consider supplementing the guidance you receive with Study.com's easy-to-digest writing courses. Video lessons, quizzes, and exams can be used to sharpen your overall writing skills and identify areas in which you would like some additional assistance from your writing center:

Earning College Credit

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Transferring credit to the school of your choice

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