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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I come to the Writing Center?
Instructors in all departments agree that student writing improves after the student receives informed and quality feedback from the Writing Center. The consultants are all writers themselves, and they care about what you say and will patiently help you to master skills that will enable you to express your ideas. Our goal is not only to help you with current projects but also to foster the skills and confidence necessary for your continued improvement and academic success.

Will a consultant correct my paper for me?
No. The Writing Center is not an editing service, and we do not fix your document. Writing consultants are professionals who will help you learn how to correct your own mistakes. Our goal is not only to assist you with your present writing project but also to assist you in becoming a better writer.

What happens during a consultation?
During your appointment, you will engage in a 45-minute conversation with a consultant about your writing. If you have special concerns, those concerns will be addressed. If you have no specific concerns, the consultant will often have you read your paper aloud and discuss with you strategies for making your paper better. The consultant will read through your paper with you, answer your questions, and work with you to strengthen your paper and your writing skills. You and the consultant may discuss any aspect of your writing project or process. The consultant will ask you questions to lead you to clarify your ideas, sentences, and paragraphs. What happens during your appointment is up to you.

Where is the Writing Center located?
The Writing Center is located in the Davis Memorial Library, Room 111, adjacent to the reference desk and directly across from the Monarch Tutoring and Testing Center.

What are the "Dirty Dozen" grammar errors I keep hearing about?
The Dirty Dozen is a list of the twelve worst and most common errors in English. These are the errors that make English instructors run out of red ink and pull out their hair. Instructors in the English and Writing department, professors of writing enrichment classes, and other Methodist University instructors will emphasize these errors. The Writing Center offers a Dirty Dozen Workshop series during the Fall and Spring semesters. Click here for a current Dirty Dozen Workshop Schedule. You can also test your grammar knowledge with the Writing Center's Dirty Dozen Quiz Series. You can learn more about the Dirty Dozen on the Department of English and Writing's website.

I got my paper back and I don't understand what I did wrong. Can you help?
Yes. We recommend that you first speak with your instructor and then make an appointment to discuss your paper with a consultant, who will address the issues raised in your paper and help you to formulate a strategy to improve.

When I telephone the Writing Center I often have to leave a message on voicemail. Don't you ever answer the phone?
We do not answer our phones when we are working with students so that every student will have the benefit of uninterrupted, quality time for his or her writing project or process. If you leave a clear and detailed message on our voicemail, a consultant will return your call as soon as possible. We also respond to the emails we receive at Keep in mind that WC ONLINE makes it easy for you to personally manage your appointments.

I have some suggestions for improving the Writing Center. Where can I send them?
We are always happy to hear from you. We ask you to complete a short survey at the end of each consultation, regardless of the consultation format. Additionally, you may email your suggestions and comments to Use the "Contact Us" link to the left for more information on how to reach the Writing Center.

I have been assigned a writing project that will exceed 40 pages. Can you help me with all of my paper?
Yes, but not all at once. If you are working on a master's thesis, senior project, or a group project, there are several ways we can accommodate you. If you are working as a group, each student has reservation privileges, and you may combine them to complete your assignment. With bigger projects, it is often beneficial to separate your paper into sections and work each section individually. Remember, you are always welcome to come to the Writing Center as a walk-in; there is no limit on walk-in consultations. Discuss your writing needs with a consultant, especially if your writing project exceeds 40 pages, and we will do our best to accommodate you. Keep in mind that we are not a proofreading service. While it is helpful to get through as many pages of your draft as possible, it is not our responsibility to read every page of your document. Our hope is that by the end of your consultation(s), we have given you the tools to address your writing concerns/needs. If we cannot make it through an entire draft, you should feel comfortable applying the knowledge gained during the consultation to the rest of your draft.

May I bring my take-home exam to the Writing Center?
You must ask your instructor for permission before working with a consultant on a take-home exam. Many of the instructors encourage their students to utilize the Writing Center for all writing assignments, including take-home exams. It is your responsibility to know the instructions given to you regarding take-home exams.

I am a member of a group assigned to a writing project. May all members come to a face-to-face consultation appointment?
Of course. We welcome groups in all our consultation formats, whether it is a joint project assigned by an instructor or an informal study group working on a common assignment. For a group project, it is beneficial to have as many group members as possible present. However, only one person can schedule the appointment on WC ONLINE; be sure to list the names of your group members in the "What would you like to work on?" field of the reservation form. For face-to-face consultations with groups of 3 or more, we will meet in one of the group study rooms at Davis Memorial Library. Your group is responsible for reserving the study room for your consultation; be sure to add the room number to your reservation so the consultant can find you. When making your appointment, tell us if there are any specific concerns you want to address during the consultation so that the consultant can bring the necessary resources. Many students have found it valuable to address style requirements, such as MLA and APA, and organizational issues as a group. Other unique challenges that arise in group projects are transitions between paragraphs or sections that have been written by different group members that potentially disrupt the "flow" of your group paper. Again, having as many group members as possible present aids the discussion.

Not everyone in our group can come to the Writing Center. Can we do an online consultation appointment?
Yes. We can conduct a Live Online Consultation via WC ONLINE. Before scheduling your appointment on WC ONLINE, please contact Allison Bennett, Assistant Director, by email, or by telephone, 910.630.7264 or 910.630.7264. She will work out the particulars with you and make the necessary changes on WC ONLINE so that all group members will have access to the Live Online Consultation.

How will my instructor know that I have used the Writing Center?
At the end of each consultation, regardless of the format, your consultant will complete a consultation summary that will be emailed to you and your professor. This summary provides details of what you and your consultant worked on during your session. We retain an electronic copy so that all consultants who work with you can see your progress as well as provide continuity between consultants working on the same writing project with you. For Live Online and Written Online Consultations, in addition to your email summary, you will be able to access either your consultation or document with comments, depending on the type of online consultation, via WC ONLINE. Your professor will not have access to your online consultation or your document with comments.

What will my instructor think of my visiting the Writing Center without it being required for the class?
Most instructors are delighted to learn that you have taken the initiative to improve as a writer, and see your work with a consultant as a sign that you are a conscientious student who knows the value of good writing skills and who has the wisdom to make use of this resource.

The Writing Center

2014 Spring Hours
Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Location: Davis Memorial Library, Room 111
Phone: 910-630-7264
E-Mail:

 

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