FAQs

Welcome desk

I always get A’s on my papers. Why would I need to go to the Writing Center?

It's possible that you have always thought of yourself as a "pretty good writer," but we believe that all writers need trusted readers and deserve quality feedback in order to do their best work. Students at any skill level can benefit from discussing their work during the drafting process. Even your professors discuss their work with colleagues and editors before they publish it.

The Writing Center provides a safe environment to discuss your work. Consultants can help you strengthen your ideas, clarify your thoughts, and sharpen your writing.

If you’re a first-year student, you’ll quickly find that high school writing is different than writing for college.  Why wouldn’t you want to try and continue writing great papers by discussing your work with college writers who have been in your shoes?

Students are the consultants? What?

We believe there is an advantage to having your peers as writing consultants. Our peer staff is easier to approach--we’ve been in your shoes! Most importantly, we don’t use red pens! Instead of telling you everything you’re doing wrong, we coach and teach you how to develop, organize, evaluate, and edit your own writing. Through conversation, we help students become confident, critical readers of their own writing.

What should I bring to a conference?

Consultants generally begin sessions by asking students the specific questions or concerns that they have about their current project.  We encourage students to bring their writing prompt, course syllabus, textbook, or other materials that might help the consultant better understand the assignment. Having access to these resources will make the conference run smoothly.

How much time should I allow?

Some students might need 10 or 20 minutes while others need longer. This is the beauty of our writing center! Consultants will work with you as long as you need but if your session lasts over an hour or you come in halfway through or at the end of an hour you should expect to be transferred to a new consultant who is on duty. Consultants begin shifts on the hour so it is best to come in at the beginning of each hour if you think you need a longer conference.

Do I have to make an appointment?

No. We typically have 2-3 consultants on each shift during open hours. More often than not you will get in right away.

However, If you want to meet with a particular consultant, or if you know exactly when you want a conference, you can make an appointment by clicking here. Students who have scheduled appointments will take priority over those who walk in.

Please note that at certain times in the semester the Writing Center is quite busy and students who bring in papers the night before they are due may find that consultants can not give them the time they need. Therefore, it is important for students to come in earlier in their writing process.

How much does it cost to use the Writing Center?

Nothing. Writing Center services are free to all Coe students, faculty, and staff.

Do I have to have a draft?

No. Let us help you sift through your ideas or break your writer’s block! We often help students brainstorm and outline their work.

How often can I come to the Writing Center regarding the same assignment?

We'll never get enough of you. We encourage writing process and want to help you with every step along the way. Be a frequent flyer!

Can I simply drop off my paper?

No. The Writing Center is a site of education and instruction. The benefits of a Writing Center conference come from actively taking part in a discussion about the writing project.

Does the Writing Center help with citations?

Yes, the Writing Center will help you learn and apply particular citation styles to your work. We also have manuals and online resources that you may peruse on your own.


Writing is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
— E.L. Doctorow