Frequently Asked Questions in the Undergraduate Writing Center
Anyone and everyone!
There is a misconception that only writers who are struggling should use the Writing Center, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Even professional, published authors utilize consultants and editors. All writers benefit from the perspective of readers and “practice audience members.” Bringing your paper to the Writing Center functions like a rehearsal in which you can gauge the effectiveness of your writing, strategize revisions to improve your draft, and get support and resources from a nonjudgemental third-party.
Writing consultants are trained and ready to work with you on any paper from any discipline.
It’s true that you write in an English class, but you’ll also write in biology, history, AMDT, animal science, psychology… In fact, you will have writing assignments in every UCORE class and in several of your major courses. At WSU, faculty know that communicating in writing is a vital skill for college and for life, so writing is integrated into all disciplines and all courses. The writing consultants represent a range of disciplines and are trained to respond to all kinds of writing.
Writing consultations are all about conversation. The goal of a writing consultation is to support you in clarifying and communicating your ideas. The consultant will ask you a lot of questions at the start and throughout your visit; they’ll ask about the class, the assignment, your goals, and any challenges you’ve encountered, and while they read your work, they’ll ask questions about the ideas and content of your paper, the organization you’ve constructed, and even sentences and word choice. The consultant will also give you some of their reactions as a reader and some potential ideas for revision, development, and/or editing.
No, we can’t make those kinds of promises, but working with a writing consultant can only benefit you and your writing. You will learn something about yourself as a writer which will aid you in writing intentionally and effectively. You will get to see an audience member react to your writing, which is information you can use to gauge your writing and revise as needed. You will also leave with some resources or next-steps. It’s worth it.
There isn’t a definitive answer here. If you have a draft, bring it; you can print it or bring your laptop. If you don’t have a draft, bring your ideas and any notes or other relevant materials. If you’re able, bring the prompt or instructions so that the consultant can have a clear understanding of what you’re working on. Keep in mind that you do not need to come to the Writing Center with a fully-developed draft; some of the most valuable consultations actually take place before the first draft.
If you come in with a draft of your paper, your consultant will always ask if you have any particular concerns or if there is anything you’d like to focus on. If you don’t have a particular concern, the consultant will look at the prompt, read your draft, and comment on anything that stands out to them. Our consultants pay particular attention to your ideas, the way you arrange your ideas, opportunities to further develop or clarify ideas, and the general clarity of your sentences. If you come in before writing a first draft, your session will likely be focused on the assignment, your ideas, and a plan for writing a first draft.