Featured Image

Writing Center 101: Boost Your Skills With This Resource

From freshman year five-paragraph essays to graduate doctoral theses, the writing center at your college is there to help everyone become a better writer.

If you’re currently in college and have yet to write a paper, be advised that one is coming your way. You’re kidding yourself if you think your professors don’t plan on giving you any writing assignments. I promise you, one of them will. Nobody studying at the collegiate level is exempt from the art of writing; English, music publishing, criminal justice, chemistry, and accounting majors all need to be effective writers. Professors know this and plan written assignments accordingly. Somebody else on your campus knows this too: your school’s writing center. I’ve been working in my university’s writing center for two semesters now, and it blows my mind how many students—and not just freshmen—don’t even realize we exist. Those who do know about us rarely take advantage of the services we offer. A university writing center is a phenomenal way to improve writing assignments and grow as a lifelong writer. If you’re skeptical about the idea of a writing center, take a minute to consider a few things your writing center staff probably wants you to know.  

Everyone benefits from visiting the writing center

If you don’t think you can benefit from a trip to the writing center, think again. My university writing center sees a lot of freshmen taking their core English credits, along with international students who are just beginning to write in a new language, but we also work with graduate-level students and even help with PhD work every now and then. Everybody writes, which means everyone can stand to improve their skills. How you learn to write in college determines how you write professionally. Your writing center staff wants you to be equipped for whatever future writing assignments come your way. If you’re a freshman who (somehow) graduated high school without writing a research paper, go to the writing center. If you’re a doctoral student preparing for a thesis defense, go to the writing center. The staff will be willing to work with you on any level, in any way they can.

Related: 5 Helpful Ways to Improve Your Writing in College

They will teach you how to write, not do it for you

The people in the writing center will probably not edit your paper. Every writing center policy is different, but in my experience, only two kinds of people work in writing centers: those who are passionate about writing or teaching and those who are passionate about both writing and teaching. Thus, when you go into a writing center, expect to be taught how to write. I’m sure your local grammar Nazis could edit your paper beautifully, but they would rather teach you the rules of grammar, so that in the future you can catch mistakes on your own. The writing center could help fix your funky phrases and unclear sentence structure, but they would rather help you articulate your own thoughts in your own voice. We’ve established that writing is a forever skill, but the writing center is not a forever resource. You won’t be able to have your business proposals proofed before a meeting or your emails edited before you send them off to a client. For this reason, most writing centers will want to equip you with the ability to have effective writing all on your own.

You won’t be judged for seeking help

The writing center is not the judgment seat of the writing gods. Most people are cautious when it comes to sharing things they’ve written out of fear of rejection or condemnation; even professional authors get nervous about launching a new book. It’s okay to be apprehensive about sharing your writing. But do it anyway. The nice people at your local writing center are not going to tear apart your essay word by word, mock your topic, and sentence your thesis to an academic inferno. Most likely they’re students too, and they know how much writer’s rejection hurts. That’s part of the reason their job exists. Writing centers are designed to encourage students, not belittle them. Don’t expect to be told that your writing has reached nirvana, but don’t anticipate hostile feedback either. Enter the door of your university writing center with confidence that the only kind of criticism you will receive will be of the constructive kind.

Related: How to Ask for and Get Important Help in College

If you’re still not convinced, that’s okay. I beg of you, don’t take my word for it. The best way to learn about your school’s writing center is to stop in for a visit. You will never know what the staff has to offer you unless you investigate for yourself. Ask questions, get information, and by all means bring in a paper! Regardless of which specific services your writing center provides for students, every experience is guaranteed to make you a better writer. And if you ask me, better writers make better people. It’s that important.

The writing center isn’t the only on-campus center you should be utilizing! Check out our article 5 Great Campus Resources Students Should Know About to learn more.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
campus resources college academics college essays college writing student life writing writing center

About Savanna Mertz

Savanna Mertz

Savanna Mertz studied at Dallas Baptist University, where she majored in Intercultural Studies and minoring in Business. She is a follower of Jesus and active both at her home church and her college church. Her favorite pastimes include running, reading, golf, and Texas Rangers baseball, but most of all, her heart is passionate for mission work. She has been to Lima, Peru, and worked with inner-city children in Amarillo, Texas; both experiences helped confirm her desire to pursue a career on the mission field. She's also a continuing student of American Sign Language and deaf culture. You can follow Savanna on Twitter and Instagram.

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Bri'Yana Brown-Dunn

Bri'Yana Brown-Dunn

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress helped me gain interest in many colleges/universities and many scholarships. I would say the most helpful thing CollegeXpress has done for me is sending me emails that tell me certain types of colleges are interested in me as well as emails about scholarships that I can look at and possibly apply for.

Nikole Dixon

Nikole Dixon

$500 Refer-A-Friend Scholarship Winner

Towards the beginning of last year, I was searching for scholarships to apply to through my school, town, websites online, and anything else I could find. I asked tons of questions [online] about scholarships and the best places to find them because I was desperate and I needed as many as I could find. I came across a ton of bogus websites but as soon as I found CollegeXpress, I knew I had to tell other people about it. It was definitely the most helpful site I came across, so I told my friends about it. . . . CollegeXpress is definitely a website worth giving as a source.

Aaliyah

Aaliyah

High School Class of 2022

My mother signed me up for a couple of scholarship contests through CollegeXpress. I was also able to do some research and compare the different schools on my list. I was able to see the graduation rates and different programs that helped me decide on Adelphi University. I will continue looking for some scholarships for my start in September.

Joan Franklin

Joan Franklin

Counselor

I love this website and have been using it for years with my students. I originally bought products through Wintergreen Orchard House and appreciated having key facts at my fingertips when advising students. Your site is easy to access and offers a wide array of topics I need as a busy college counselor.

Laura Wallace

Laura Wallace

High School Class of 2019

My favorite part of CollegeXpress is that it features student writers so I get an inside perspective from students slightly older and farther along than me. I realize that other college websites also utilize student writers; however, I relate the most to the college writers that I read articles from on CollegeXpress.

College Matches