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Frequently Asked Questions


Do you take walk-ins?

Yes, but an appointment ensures that you won’t have to wait for an opening.

What if I can't come to the writing center?

The Writing Center can meet with you online! This type of consultation is geared toward students who may not be able to make it to the Center during open hours. We currently provide online sessions. Schedule an appointment today or call for more information. When you schedule your appointment, select the online option, then log in to WC Online a few minutes before your appointment, click on the appointment, and select the link that says "Join or Start Consultation."

What happens during a consultation?

  1. Your consultant will ask you to describe your paper and your concerns.
  2. You will usually read all or part of your paper out loud.
  3. You and your consultant will decide on 2-3 areas to work on.
  4. Your consultant will model strategies and give you time to practice.
  5. You will leave with a plan for revising your paper.

Can a group get a consultation for a written project?

Definitely. Be sure that all members of the group are available to meet, and plan to meet for an hour.

Will the consultant edit or proofread my paper?

Our mission is to make you a stronger writer. If we edit your paper, you haven’t learned anything, and will continue to make the same errors. What we do is to point out patterns (for instance, if you always forget to put a comma before “but”). We’ll show you some examples of the problem in your paper, demonstrate the correction, and then work with you until we know you have the rule. Since you will have learned how to correct that issue, your next paper won’t have the same error.

Will you work with creative writing, career writing, and annotated bibliographies?

Yes. We’ll take any type of writing you need to work on! Remember that Career Services is also an excellent place to work on developing a resume (and finding job/ internship opportunities)—they are located in the Yancy Building.

I'm a strong, confident writer. Why should I come to the writing center?

Professional writers always have someone else read their work. The Writing Center is not designed to be remedial; rather, it is a place to have open and thoughtful conversations about developing your skills.

How often can I come to the writing center?

You are welcome to stop by the Writing Center as often as you need to (as long as you are writing). You may schedule up to three coonsultations per week (one per day).

Can I come to the writing center just to write?

Absolutely! Because we will be busy with consultations, it may not always be quiet in here, but you are welcome to come and work at one of the computers or in any of our study stations.

When is the lastest I can come in for help on a paper?

Since we offer strategies and suggestions, you’ll need to leave yourself enough time after the session to incorporate those ideas. This is usually at least one day, preferably a few days. We really can’t help you if your paper is due in an hour, so be sure to start early.

How has the writing center adapted to COVID-19?

We switched to online only and we're currently offering two types of consultations, online and eTutoring. During an eTutoring consultation, you don't have to be present for the session. A tutor will independently review your paper and send you feedback/suggestions by the end of the hour. During an online consultation, you work with the tutor in real-time on WC Online. Meetings take place online using the built-in consultation module which includes a chat window, whiteboard, and audio/video.

What services does the writing center provide?

  • Outlining and Planning: Brainstorming
  • Major Revision: Higher Order Concerns (content creation, thesis or focus, audience and purpose, organization, and development)
  • Minor Revision: Lower Order Concerns (small corrections, sentence structure, grammar, word choice, spelling)
  • Style and Polish: Editing/Suggestions
  • Revision Plans
  • Soft Skills: Time Management, Stress Management, Study Skills


What is a consultation?

A consultation is a chance for you to sit down with a writing specialist and talk about a specific piece you are working on. It’s not a “fix” for your paper, though you and your consultant will focus on developing solutions for 2-3 problem areas. The types of problem areas we usually work on are content development, thesis statements, organization, incorporating research, grammar, and style, but feel free to bring in any paper you want some guidance on. Our consultations last about 30 minutes.

What is an online consultation?

Online consultations are run like a virtual meeting, but we’ll be “chatting” or using video. WCOnline (where you make an appointment) will allow you to choose “online appointment,” and will create a private session room for us. Click to view a video demonstrating how to register and use this. Appointments are meant to guide you, walk through the problem areas within the paper, and give you the tools to succeed and not be a "quick fix" or easy editing. Please note we are only offering e-tutoring and online consultations only for the Fall 2020 semester.

What is an eTutoring consultation?

eTutoring consultations are run independently by the writing consultant. This type of consultation is for students who are in the final stages of their writing process and would like to have a tutor look at their work and make suggestions. When booking an eTutoring consultation, make sure to upload your paper along with the assigment guidelines. The writing consultant / tutor would read through the paper, make marginal comments with feedback and suggestions for revision, and email the revised/suggested paper to the student.

What to expect?

Tutors assist students with everything from brainstorming to revising a final draft. The types of problem areas we usually work on are content development, thesis statements, organization, incorporating research, grammar, and style, but feel free to bring in any paper you want some guidance on. Our consultations last about 30-60 minutes.

Getting the most from a session

The Writing Center is a place for you to experiment with your writing—you may try a new type of introduction, or a different way of structuring a sentence. Be open to that experimentation. Your consultant will not tell you what to do. She will ask you a lot of questions about what your intentions are with the piece and offer suggestions that will help make those intentions clear to a reader. The choice to make a change is yours. The same idea applies to grammar problems. Your consultant will point out any patterns of problems she sees, and will teach you how to avoid that problem. It will be up to you (with your consultant’s guidance) to find and change instances of that problem.

How to prepare

You will need your assignment and any notes/ drafts that you have done (in hard copy even if you uploaded your essay). Be sure to do any reading or planning that you can ahead of time. For example, if you want help brainstorming, you should have read all of your materials. If you want help with structure, try to create a sample outline. Watch video to see what a consultation looks like.

What is the difference between eTutoring and online consultations?

E-TUTORING - If you make an e-tutoring appointment, you’ll upload a copy of your writing to the online scheduling system for a tutor to review. During the hour you booked for a session, the tutor will take a look at your writing and send you a feedback letter by the end of the hour. You don’t actually have to be present for the session, which makes this a great choice for clients who have busy schedules. If you need directions for uploading a document for review, visit our website for instructions. ONLINE APPOINTMENT - If you make an online appointment, you’ll meet with your tutor via the WC Online Appointment Scheduler. Meetings take place online, using the built-in online consultation module. Online meetings include a chat area, a whiteboard or document-sharing space, and limited audio/video. WC Online is part of the Shaw U system, so you already have an account with WC Online ZOOM APPOINTMENTS - If you request a Zoom appointment it is the same as an online appointment with more capability with audio/visual, screen sharing, commenting, and editing. However, unlike an online appointment, you will need access to your laptop or desktop camera or a phone camera. With online appointments, you can simply use the chat feature to discuss changes. With Zoom, the tutor will make real-time changes in Google docs.

Rules for consultations

  • The Writing Center no longer allows same-day papers or paper assignments over 6 pages.
  • Tutors must have at least 48 hours to return papers. We do not accept same-day or 24-hour page editing requests. We ask that all appointments be made 48 hours in advance of the due date.
  • All appointments must have the assignment rubric and guidelines uploaded to the appointment.
  • All e-tutoring appointments must at least come with a draft or some brainstorming started, and very clear expectations must be given.
  • Papers cannot be given to a tutor without clear instructions and problem areas outlined.

Consultation policies

  • If you need to cancel, you must cancel at least one hour before the appointment. You may cancel online or call the Center at 919-719-2285.
  • If you are more than five minutes late to your appointment, it may be given to a walk-in client, and it will be recorded as a missed appointment.
  • After three missed appointments in one semester, you may not make appointments—you are still encouraged to use the Center on a walk-in basis.
  • Submit only your own work. It is not the responsibility of the Writing Center to identify plagiarism; if you are unsure of whether or not you are plagiarizing, please bring in the source with your paper. If a consultant believes a paper is plagiarized, she is at liberty to end the consultation.
  • Book your appointment at least 48 hours before your papers is due. We do not accept papers that are due within 24 hours.
  • Please limit drafts to 1-4 pages for 30-min consultations, and 4-7 pages for one hour-long consultations.