Student Frequently Asked Questions


How can the Writing Center help me with my writing?

We can work with you at any point in your writing process, including:

  • PLANNING. You can bring in your assignment and we’ll help you figure out exactly what’s being asked of you, brainstorm for ideas, come up with a thesis, create an outline, and generate preliminary notes.
  • DRAFTING. We can help you get going by asking you questions to prompt your thoughts, show you techniques such as free-writing that help to get the words flowing, and point out where more explanation, details, or examples might be needed. We can also help you to formulate an introduction and a conclusion—particularly difficult tasks for most writers.
  • REVISING. We’ll look over your draft with you and talk about how you might re-organize the ideas, create more effective transitions between them, develop ideas that need more support, eliminate repetition, make sure the logic of your argument works, and let you know how well at least one reader—that is, your tutor!—is able to follow your drift, grasp your points, and be persuaded by your argument.
  • CITING YOUR SOURCES. We’ll show you how to document your sources through in-text citations, create a list of references, and format your paper properly according to MLA or APA guidelines.
  • PROOFREADING AND EDITING. We’ll show you the best ways to proofread your papers so that you yourself are able to spot and fix fragments and run-ons, spelling errors, and all sorts of other grammar troublespots.

What if I need some help with understanding the sources I’m supposed to be writing about?

Writing Center tutors are also available to help students with reading. Some of the reading issues that students might consult with a tutor about include:

  • Understanding exactly what a particular assignment asks for
  • Applying relevant material from an assigned reading to a writing assignment
  • Developing effective reading strategies, such as understanding vocabulary
  • Figuring out what contextual information you need to know in order to grasp the meaning of a passage in a reading assignment
  • Any other reading-related concerns students bring

How do I get help finding the sources I need for assignments?

You’ll want to contact a Reference Librarian for help finding your sources, but there are some parts of the research writing process our tutors can help you with including:

  • Finding a topic that will be manageable, appropriate to the assignment, and interesting to you
  • Thinking about what you will need to know in order to complete the assignment
  • Considering the sorts of support/evidence that will be persuasive to particular audiences
  • Using paraphrase, quotation, and summary appropriately to convey the content of your sources to your audience
  • Synthesizing your information and ideas to achieve a specific purpose
  • Citing your work correctly using MLA or APA style
  • Identifying and avoiding plagiarism

Can the Writing Center help me develop computer skills for my academics?

During a tutoring session, a tutor may work with a student at a computer to assist in the development of one or more skills—from inserting pagination or using proper MLA or APA format to evaluating websites.

When is the Writing Center open?

The Writing Center is available during fall, spring, summer, and winter semesters, including through study days and finals. Hours vary throughout the year. Contact the Writing Center for your campus for current hours of operation, or go to the Writing Center Community on Blackboard.

Can the Writing Center help me with my thesis or dissertation?

Yes. See details for how we work with thesis and dissertation writers on the Writing Center Community on Blackboard.

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