Writing Center: Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Writing Center?

The Writing Center is in Davis Memorial Library. Note that we have recently moved from Room 111 to a more open space in the library itself. If you have trouble finding us, feel free to ask for directions at the library’s circulation desk, at the receptionist’s desk closest to the entrance by the quad, or at the Writing Center Director’s office, which is in what used to be Study Room D.

Why should I utilize the Writing Center?

You should utilize the Writing Center because writing can be an overwhelming, stressful task. Our consultants are here to lend a hand, and working with a writing consultant can make the process easier and more productive. If you need assistance with anything from brainstorming to final revisions, the Writing Center is here for you.

Will a writing consultant edit my paper?

In short, no, we will not edit your paper. We offer advice and guidance about what you have written. You decide what changes to make to your paper. Our goal is to help you become a better writer and help you gain knowledge and strategies that can strengthen your current and future writing projects.

Can I just walk into the Writing Center to work with a consultant?

We always welcome you to stop by; however, the Writing Center often gets busy, and consultants may be working with others. If that is the case, we can make an appointment for you or show you how. We do offer walk-in appointments, so if a consultant is available, they can work with you, but keep in mind that appointments begin at the top of each hour, so you may not have the same amount of consultation time as you would if you had scheduled an appointment. To ensure you get a full 45-minute consultation, we recommend scheduling in advance at WCONLINE.

What happens during a consultation?

What happens during a consultation depends on the type and duration of the appointment. Typically, your consultant will devote 45 minutes to your writing consultation (or 90 minutes if you have booked two appointments back-to-back). If you choose a Face-to-Face or an Online session, your consultant can work with you on anything from brainstorming, outlining, or structuring your paper to addressing concerns that you point out. Many of the same issues can be covered during an eTutoring, but an eTutoring requires that you have already begun writing. Regardless of the format, the consultants will work with you to help optimize your paper-writing process. Refer to Consultation How-tos for details about setting up and conducting writing consultations.

What is the difference between an “Online” consultation and an “eTutoring” consultation?

Both Online and eTutoring consultations are typically conducted via WCONLINE, but the main difference is the way the consultations happen.

Online: This type is handled by video or phone conference. This may be the best choice for those who have yet to begin writing or prefer to interact with a consultant in real-time.

eTutoring: This type is purely a written consultation. Prior to your appointment time, you will provide your consultant with a copy of your draft. You do not have to be available during your scheduled appointment time, and during this kind of session, your consultant will read your document, prepare written feedback, and return the document to you. Refer to  Consultation How-tos for details.

Do I need a draft paper to have a writing consultation?

No, you do not need to have a completed draft. In fact, you do not need to have anything written! We will gladly work with you at any stage of the writing process.

Aren’t writing consultations just for coursework in the humanities and first-year students?

Writing consultations are for everyone. We work with students, staff, and faculty. In fact, our consultants use the Writing Center’s services for their own projects. We are happy to work with you on papers for classes, creative writing, personal statements, scholarship applications, Davis Peace Prize applications, letters to the editor, or whatever you bring our way.

Why does the Writing Center have “professional” writing consultants and “student” writing consultants?

Our professional writing consultants have bachelor’s or advanced degrees and have some expertise in writing, research, teaching, and more. Our student writing consultants are MU (Methodist University) undergraduate students with exceptional writing skills and specialized training. The student writing consultants work only with undergraduate students and only in Face-to-Face or Online consultations. If you are a graduate student or want an eTutoring (written) consultation, you will need to sign up with a professional consultant. Refer to Consultation How-Tos for details.

WCONLINE doesn’t have any openings! I need help. What can I do?

Stop by the Writing Center and see if we have a walk-in opening. If that option is not available, you can add your name to the waiting list. You can do so by using the WAITING LIST function in WCONLINE. You can join the Waiting List for any given day by clicking on the link below that day in WCONLINE and completing the sign-up. You will be notified whenever an opening appears on that day’s schedule. This does not automatically reserve the appointment for you: You must go into WCONLINE, click on the opening, and make an appointment in the usual way. Refer to Consultation How-Tos for details.

Will my instructor know that I’ve used the Writing Center?

At the end of each session, your consultant will complete a “Writing Center Report,” a consultation summary that is emailed to you and to your professor. This summary provides an overview of what you and your consultant worked on during your appointment and might include remarks about the issues your consultant thought most important.

What will my instructor think about my having a writing consultation?

The feedback the Writing Center receives from professors is extremely positive. Many professors have seen their students’ writing improve following writing consultations, and they encourage or require students to visit the Writing Center for their classes.

I got my paper back from my professor, and I don’t understand what I did wrong. Can you help?

Yes, we will do our best to help you understand. We recommend that you first speak with your instructor, and if you are still in the dark, make an appointment. Your consultant will address the issues raised in your paper, help you understand them, and work with you to figure out how to improve the problem areas.

May I bring my take-home exam to the Writing Center?

Unless you have already been directed to bring the exam to the Writing Center, you must ask your instructor for permission before working with a consultant on a take-home exam. Remember, it is your responsibility to know the instructions for your take-home exams.

I’ve been assigned a writing project that’s 10 or more pages. Can you help me with all of it?

Yes, we can and do work on large projects. The important thing is to plan and schedule plenty of time. Covering anything over five pages during a single appointment is not likely, especially if you want quality feedback. Given ample time, you and your consultant can work on projects of any size. You can schedule up to five (5) 45-minute consultations in a single week, and you can make back-to-back appointments for a longer consultation. If you think you will need more time than that, contact a consultant, and we will do our best to accommodate you.

I’ve been assigned a group writing project with two classmates. Can all of us participate in a writing consultation?

Of course! The professional consultants welcome students with group writing projects. When you book your appointment, be sure to say that two (or more) students want to participate. You should also email your consultant to ensure he or she knows in advance that a group consultation is coming up. You must provide the names and email addresses of your co-authors, and all of you must have registered for WCONLINE accounts. (We are talking Face-to-Face or Online consultations here; a group of co-authors makes no difference in an eTutoring session because you will all be able to read the same feedback.) Your consultant might use WCONLINE or might set up a Teams video conference for your group meeting. The consultant will let you and your co-authors know what platform you are using.

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 feedback survey whenever you receive a summary report of one of your consultations; you can use the comments box on the survey. We also have a suggestion box in the center, or you may email your suggestions and comments to writingcenter@methodist.edu.

How can I get a job as a Writing Center consultant?

Enroll in WRI 4160, the internship course that prepares students who are good writers to be writing consultants.  In this class, students study strategies for helping people become more effective writers, how writing differs across disciplines, and so on.  After successfully completing this class and some hands-on practice, a student is eligible to apply to work as a student writing consultant.  Refer to Become a Student Consultant page for more details.

How do I contact the Writing Center?

You can stop by the center, which is in Davis Memorial Library, or you can contact the Writing Center by calling (910) 630-7264. Keep in mind that the consultants may be tied up in consultations and unable to answer the phone. However, if you leave a clear, detailed message, a consultant will return your call as soon as we can. Also, you can contact us via email at writingcenter@methodist.edu.