a writing center consultant helping a student with their paper


Writing Center 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 from 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.

Do I need to make an appointment?

Drop in appointments are welcome; scheduling an appointment is recommended. 

We typically have 2-3 consultants on each shift during open hours. If you stop by during our quieter daytime hours, you will often be able to meet with someone right away.

However, if you prefer to meet with us during our busier evening hours, or if your professor requires you to have a conference, it's best to make an appointment. You can make an appointment by visiting the Writing Center's front desk or by clicking here. Students who have scheduled appointments will take priority over those who walk in.

Whether you drop by or make an appointment, you'll have a better outcome if you visit us early in your writing process, or at least a few days before your paper is due, when you'll still have time to rethink and revise.

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?

Most appointments last about 30 minutes, but consultants will work with you as long as you need. If your session lasts over an hour or you come 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 have a draft?

Not at all. Let us help you figure out the assignment, 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 the writing process and want to help you with every step along the way. Be a frequent flier!

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?

APA, MLA, Chicago Manual of Style--we can help you learn and apply citation styles to your work. We also have manuals and online resources that you may use.

How much does it cost to use the Writing Center?

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

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