Probably everyone on campus knows about the Writing Center (located on the first floor of KJ), and has either already been there or will have to make an appointment soon, since writing-intensive classes require it. However, for every student who swears by the Writing Center, there’s another who isn’t a big fan because of the extra time commitment or because they just haven’t seen the light yet. If you’re not yet sold, no matter what the reason is, here are the main reasons why you should commit to start going more often:
1. It’s not just for literature essays
If you have a writing assignment for a class outside of the literature department (say, a lab report for psychology or a piece on current events for government), you might assume that the Writing Center can’t help you. That’s not true! They have a bunch of tutors and they aren’t all lit or creative writing majors. When you make an appointment, the WC will ask you what class your paper is for and try to pair you with someone who is knowledgeable in that area. And even if your writing tutor isn’t an expert in whatever you’re writing about, they can still put their writing skills to good use and apply them to any kind of writing.
2. It goes beyond the basics
Yes, the WC will help you if you’re not very strong in grammar or punctuation, but they go much further than that. They will evaluate your draft (or give you advice based on your outline if you don’t have a draft yet) based on its organization and flow, and of course will consider your thesis statement, how you incorporate evidence to support it, and the transitions between different paragraphs. These will all help you have a much stronger paper overall, as well as simply making sure you’re following grammar rules and not making typos.
3. You don’t have to have a full draft to go there*
If your professor requires a writing conference, they may stipulate that you must bring a complete draft when you go. But if your professor doesn’t care or you’re going of your own volition, don’t worry if you’re not done with your draft. You can even purposefully make an appointment for a pre-writing conference and bring just an outline or partial draft, if you’re having trouble getting a draft together. Since they help you with organization, a pre-writing conference can be great when you have a bunch of ideas but aren’t quite sure how to bring them together.
4. It can be hard to recognize weaknesses in your own writing
Even if you’re a strong writer, it’s helpful to have someone else take a second look. When you keep re-reading your own writing as you go, it becomes easy to miss typos and small mistakes. The bigger picture is arguably even harder to get a good grasp on. A sentence that makes total sense to you might not quite follow to someone else reading it, and a WC tutor can point out those places.
5. It can’t hurt
You might not be desperately in need of a writing conference and may be able to get a good grade on a paper without one. But, why not go the extra mile? If you plan ahead and use your time effectively, you should usually be able to squeeze in an appointment. They’re scheduled for an hour, but if you’re already in good shape and you don’t have a ton of questions for your tutor, it probably won’t even take that long. It’s a great resource that you might as well take advantage of, and every little thing you do to improve your writing will not only boost your grades but also make you a stronger writer in the long run.