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Here are frequently asked questions from the campus community about the Writing Center.



Do you edit papers for students?

  • No. Instead we work collaboratively with students, asking questions and having focused conversations. Our goal is to help you become a more versatile and confident writer. To that end, we will work with you through any stage of your writing. We are interested in the process, not just the product.

How long are consultations?

  • One hour sessions are offered every hour on the hour. You will have the full 60 minutes to work should you need it. The Writing Center also offers Walk-In hours--30 minute appointment slots that operate on a first come, first served basis--several times per week. (The exact hours change from semester to semester). You do not need to make an appointment for Walk-In Hours.

What should I expect in a Writing Center session?

  • After introductions, your consultant will ask you about your assignment and to describe in your own words the task at hand. You’ll also discuss your concerns and what you hope to achieve during the session. Depending on where you are in the writing process, your consultant will likely ask you to read your work aloud. Your consultant then may ask questions about the work--it’s structure, flow, or content. If you’re in the early stages of drafting, you might work on developing a thesis or outlining your argument. If you’re in the final stages, you’ll likely focus on sentence-level concerns. At the end of the session the consultant will briefly review key takeaways from your consultation and fill out the white sheet for you to keep for your records. If you’d like, you can fill out a comment card and let us know how we did and how we can better serve you in the future. We’ll hope to see back for your future writing assignments!

Do I have to be “bad” at writing to visit the Writing Center?

  • Not at all. On the contrary, visiting the Writing Center demonstrates your commitment to growing as a writer and thinker. The work we do in the Writing Center isn’t remedial; we work with students with varying levels of confidence. Even the most seasoned writers come to the Writing Center and receive suggestions from our consultants. We sincerely believe that every student at the university has something to gain from coming to the Writing Center.

What should I bring to my appointment?

  • It varies based on where you are in your writing process, but generally, you should bring a draft of your paper, the assignment prompt, any texts you’re referencing or responding to, and any notes.

Do you work with graduate students?

  • Yes. All our consultants are trained to work with both undergraduate and graduate students. We also staff a Graduate Assistant who offers designated “Graduate Only” hours each week.

How do I make an appointment?

  • To make an appointment online, click here. You can also call the Writing Center at 619-260-4581 or stop by in person and speak to a staff member.

What happens if I’m late or miss my appointment?

  • If you are ten minutes late, your appointment may be given away to another student; if you are fifteen minutes late, you will not be given a white sheet and may be asked to reschedule. If you miss three appointments in one semester, your user account will be disabled and will have to be reactivated by a Writing Center staff member.

How often can I come to the Writing Center?

  • You may visit the Writing Center up to three (3) times per week. You may not book back-to-back sessions.

Will you help with citations?

  • While we have plenty of handouts on various citation methods, our primary task is to help you with your writing process. Therefore we ask you to visit the reference desk in Copley Library for any assistance on citations. They’ll be happy to help!

I’m interested in working at the Writing Center. How do I apply?

  • To work in the Writing Center students must be nominated by faculty. At mid-semester, Writing Center Director Deborah Sundmacher sends out an email inviting all faculty members to recommend students with strong writing and interpersonal skills. If you’d like to be nominated, reach out to your instructor and see if he or she is comfortable recommending you. Should you be recommended, you will be notified by email and invited to attend an informational session with the Writing Center staff where you will be able to request an interview. Please note that the Writing Center only hires students at the end of each semester to begin working as a consultant during the subsequent semester.