Daria Rockholz – May 29, 2014

One of the most valuable — yet often underutilized — resources on a college campus is the Writing Center. The term “writing center” typically conjures up an image of a high school study hall, where students sit at desks in a large classroom to catch up on the prior week’s homework. This is far from the truly beneficial environment offered by a college Writing Center.

The purpose of the Writing Center is to help students strengthen their writing skills, whether it is creative, research-based, expository, or journalistic in nature. Writing Centers have dedicated professionals and trained students (often graduate level) on-site, some of whom specialize in various subjects taught at the college. If, for example, you are having difficulty with a specific assignment in your course on Civil War Studies, you could use the Writing Center to get individualized help from a writing coach who may also have a background in history. Or suppose you are not feeling completely confident about that 10-page term paper you’ve written for English Literature. In this case, a staff member from the Writing Center could review your paper and provide feedback with helpful suggestions on how it could be improved. Need help with a resume? Writing coaches often provide educational consulting, offering suggestions and recommendations for future coursework, applications, and essays.

The services provided at college Writing Centers are usually free of charge, open seven days of the week, and utilized by students across all departments. Some centers are open to drop-ins, while others encourage students to make appointments. If you’re having difficulty with a particular writing assignment, the Writing Center is definitely the place to receive guidance from someone who is familiar with the instructor’s teaching style, and who may know the subject better than you!

Campus Writing Centers are also excellent resources for students with special needs who require assistance organizing and writing research papers. The small, quiet, supportive environment may be an excellent solution to help them succeed. At large universities, professors sometimes only offer limited individual or small group attention, in which case Writing Centers may be the ideal place to develop a “one on one” relationship with a writing coach.

Don’t hesitate to learn about the Writing Center on your campus. Visit the office, introduce yourself, and meet the staff – make this valuable resource part of your academic college experience!