Contact Us
Canaday Library, First Floor

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Writing Center?
Canaday Library, first floor. Our door is to the left of the Circulation Desk when you walk in the front entrance.

When does the Writing Center open for the semester?
The Writing Center opens each semester during the second week of classes. It closes each semester on the last day of classes.

Is the Writing Center open during Finals Week?
No. The Writing Center is closed during finals so that the peer tutors can focus on their exams. ESOL tutors are available during finals to assist multilingual writers of English, and a small number of peer tutors volunteer to tutor during finals as well.

Do I have to make an appointment? Can I walk in?
Walk-ins are welcome on the hour (for example, 2 p.m. or 3 p.m., not 2:25 or 2:45). Ask a tutor if anyone is available to meet with you.

How long should I expect the conference to last?
Conferences are a minimum of 40 minutes and a maximum of 1 hour.

What should I bring?
The most important thing to bring to your tutorial is the desire to become a better writer or speaker! Other things that contribute to a successful conference are:

the assignment sheet;

any class notes or course texts that pertain to the assignment;

any writing you have done so far.

I don’t have a draft of my paper; can I still come to the Writing Center?
Yes! Lots of writers visit the Center to talk through ideas with a friendly conversation partner.

Is there a limit to how often I can use the Center?
YES! You may have a maximum of one conference per day, and your name can appear on the schedule no more than twice per week. It's important to have time to work on your paper between visits and to ensure that everyone has a chance to book an appointment at the Writing Center.

What if I need help with study skills?
We don't help with study skills. For non-writing study skills (how to study effectively for a foreign language or math class), you should contact a Peer Mentor. If you are having trouble in a particular class, contact the professor and/or your dean.

I came to the Writing Center last night and worked with a tutor on a paper and I want to come in right before it's due tomorrow to have a new tutor take a "final look." Is this okay?
Maybe. If you want a writing consultant to look over the final draft of your paper and teach you how to catch grammatical or copy editing errors on your own, then we are happy to help. However, a tutor cannot “fix” your paper for you before you turn it in.

How far in advance do I need to cancel an appointment?
Log on to WCOnline and cancel as soon as you know you cannot make your appointment. Appointments MUST be canceled at least two hours before the appointment is due to begin. If you don't cancel in advance, you'll be considered a "no-show."

What if I’m late to my appointment?
After waiting 15 minutes, the tutor will begin helping the next person in line. If no one is waiting, the consultant may still be able to help you, as long as she has at least 40 minutes before her next appointment or the end of her shift.

Can the tutor read the paper on my laptop?
It's up to the tutor. Some tutors are only comfortable reading a hard copy of your paper. A Writing Center conference is a chance to slow down and evaluate your paper. We hope you'll take notes on the issues you discuss with the tutor and reflect on our feedback before decisions about what to change.

Can I talk about more than one assignment in an appointment?
No. We take pride in the care we give to each student and her assignment.

I have a research paper due for a non-humanities class. May I still come to the Writing Center?
YES! We offer tutorials for writing in all disciplines. All staff members are trained to help students in any major and some, because of their major or other experience, specialize in non-humanities tutorials. Take a look at the “Meet the Staff” page to find out more about our tutors’ special interests.

My professor says I really need to work on grammar; will the Writing Center help me with this?
YES! While the Writing Center is not a copy editing service, we are happy to help students who express a desire to learn more about grammar. Often, once a tutorial is underway, the tutor will note issues other than grammar that will also warrant the student’s attention.

Do you help with non-academic writing?
YES! We help with all the different kinds of writing tasks that students face. This includes personal statements for graduate or professional schools (law school, medical school, etc.), applications for internships, and applications for funding for internships.

Do you help with creative writing?
If you are clear about the kind of help you want with your creative writing, we are often able to help. Some of our staff has a special interest in helping students of creative writing. You can find out who does by looking at our “Meet the Staff” page.

Do you help with foreign language papers; how can I make arrangements for this?Sometimes we have consultants on staff who can help with foreign language papers. You can find out who can help you by looking at the “Meet the Staff” page and then making an appointment with the appropriate person.

I am a strong writer and am confident about my writing. Is the Writing Center for me?
YES! All writers can benefit from the feedback of an interested reader. In fact, just about all professional writers show their work to others in order to improve it.

Does the Writing Center see students who are not freshman?
YES! The Writing Center sees students at all levels and in all classes.

Can I work with the same tutor every time?
Theoretically, yes, but probably not. Our schedule fills up quickly, and it's unlikely that the tutor you want will always be available.

How can I make the most of the Writing Center?

1. Schedule your appointment so that there's enough time to revise before the paper is due.
2. Don't cancel! No matter where you are in the process, no matter how little you have written--we can help. An hour spent planning and prioritizing will help you work efficiently.
3. And relax! Peer writing consultants are also students, and they have felt stressed about writing as well. We’re here to help and are happy to do so.

What if I have a suggestion for the Writing Center?
Tell your tutor, or contact Jen Callaghan, the director of the Writing Center, at