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Can I Help Students Use the Writing Center Effectively?
Encourage students to schedule more than one consultation per assignment
It can be difficult to address multiple topics in one 45-minute session and equally difficult for a student to absorb lots of information, so we encourage students to visit the Writing Center more than once per writing project. It is also helpful if you remind students that our goal is not simply to begin editing from start to finish or to "pick up where we left off" from previous consultations. Instead, our hope is that each consultation builds upon the next.
Encourage students to schedule consultations early and plan ahead
Our schedule can fill up quickly; at certain points in the semester, our schedule fills up at least a week in advance. While beneficial for all students, planning ahead is ESPECIALLY important for students who are required to visit the Writing Center. Students have access to the entire semester when scheduling appointments on WC Online.
Encourage students to visit the Writing Center several days before an assignment is due
Few experiences are more frustrating for a student (or consultant) than discussing changes to a draft that is due the same day (often, in a few short hours). Scheduling appointments in advance of the assignment's due date also gives students mini-deadlines that are often more manageable than the looming final deadline.
Encourage students to prepare for appointments
Our most effective Writing Center consultations are those in which the students come prepared to discuss their assignments, writing, progress, etc. We're more than happy to support students throughout all stages of the writing process, but we find that consultations are more effective when students have spent some time thinking critically about their assignment and/or writing project on their own before engaging a consultant in conversation. Students are in charge of the direction of the consultation, and they should take this responsibility seriously.
Encourage students to visit the Writing Center ready to work
Students should not expect to drop off their papers for review, nor should they expect consultants to do all the talking during a consultation. We work hard to engage students in conversation about their writing, and while we're flattered when students think we have all of the answers, we quickly remind them that we don't. That said, we'll work as a team with the student to find an answer to the best of our ability.
Encourage students to visit our website
We've gone to great links to explain our services and consultation formats and provide detailed instructions on our website. And, while we offer as many appointments per week as we can, we understand that writing doesn't always happen between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. So we've put together writing handouts in electronic form, created videos and presentations, and combed the Internet for useful links, websites, and podcasts. We hope students, faculty, and staff use our website often and find it just as beneficial as our on-site resources.
Even when our schedule books a week in advance, it changes daily (sometimes even hourly). Students cancel appointments at the last minute or, in some cases, don't show up for their appointments. It is entirely possible that a consultant may begin the day with a full schedule, but end up with several openings as the day progresses. However, it is the student's responsibility to seek out these impromptu openings in the schedule.
Encourage students to keep track of scheduled appointments
Scheduled appointments must be honored, and failure to honor or cancel
an appointment may result in suspended or revoked privileges. Students
should be familiar with our no-show policy.
The Writing Center
2015 Spring Hours