The Writing Center receives numerous questions each year. Below are some of our most common:
Q: So, can I just drop off my paper and pick it up later ready-to-go?
A: Actually, no. The Writing Center is not an editing service. Our mission is to assist you in learning to become your own editor. Instead of simply reading over your papers for you, coaches at the UWC read through your papers with you, thus helping you to spot your own errors and style inconsistencies. Writing Centers everywhere find this philosophy of teaching creates stronger, more flexible writers than simply providing editorial services.
Q: Can I have more than one appointment in the same day?
A: Since the UWC services the entire Regent community, our coaching appointments are limited in availability. Throughout the term, students are usually limited to one appointment per day, though they can have up to three appointments in the same week. Another reason for limiting daily appointments pertains to the revision process itself. After meeting with UWC coaches, students typically have much work to do, and revision takes time to do right. In order to facilitate this process effectively, students are therefore limited to one appointment per day unless approved by the UWC staff. Extenuating circumstances do occur, after all.
Q: Why do I receive different feedback at times from coaches on the same assignment?
A: UWC staff and coaches strive to provide as much consistency of experience as possible for students using Writing Center services. However, due to the nature of writing and reader experience, perspectives will differ, though not markedly. For instance, some of our coaches are trained in specific disciplines and will naturally notice areas of your writing that some other coaches trained in other disciplines will not, or at least not as quickly. Coaches are encouraged to be honest and fair regarding the manner in which they relate to your writings, and not all experiences will be the same. Variations in feedback can, in fact, be quite beneficial to the student since no single coach can spot everything in one session. That said, all UWC coaches are trained according to the same basic standards of grammar and punctuation, style, formatting, and composition pedagogy. Thus, while not every coach will interpret your work the same, the variations in the kinds of advice UWC coaches can offer are actually somewhat limited. The job of the student at this point is to assess what UWC coaches experienced as readers and decide if their concerns are warranted. Remember, you are the expert in your topic as the primary researcher or creative author.
Q: Why are WC appointments only 45-minutes long? Can I have a longer appointment?
A: In order to assist the needs of successive students, WC coaches are required to limit appointments to 45-minutes. This allows coaches to prepare for the next appointment by taking a quick breather and allowing them time to review the materials submitted by the next student. Coaches glean over these materials for potential areas of revision, make notes, and then meet with the student prepared to work. Back-to-back appointments without interruption wear down coaches' mental acuity, and sessions with students are much more effective when coaches are mentally prepared before each appointment.
Q: Can I have every appointment with the same Writing Coach?
A: Yes and no. When you schedule your appointment through the online scheduler, you can select which Writing Coach you would like to make the appointment with. However, we cannot guarantee you will have the appointment with the coach you select. Sometimes, coaches need off for various reasons, and we have to switch the appointment to another coach. In addition, we encourage students who use the Writing Center regularly to utilize the services of multiple coaches in order to receive the most benefit from the Writing Center's services. Since the Writing Center desires to help students become better self-editors, appointments may be switched to different coaches in order to ensure students do not become too reliant on the assistance of a single coach.
Q: When should I use the Writing Center?
A: The answer is early and often. Students at universities everywhere typically view writing centers as Emergency Rooms for their bleeding papers, papers marked red by their apparently very angry professors. When students use this method of service, the damage is already done and the grade already received. This "after-the-fact" approach proves disastrous for students who could have benefited from WC services much earlier. Also, the ends of semesters are very busy at the WC, and students waiting to the last minute to use the WC find themselves on waiting lists, lists sometimes 2-weeks long. By the time an appointment is available, the paper is already due. Thus, thinking of the Writing Center as a kind of Preventative Medicine approach makes life easier on everyone. The WC is open and available for appointments year-round.
Q: Do you have to have an appointment to use the WC, or do you take walk-ins?
A: Students do not need an appointment to use the Writing Center. Walk-in sessions are available, though these are much briefer in length and are intended to encourage students to sign up for regular appointments. In addition, walk-in appointment are taken around scheduled appointments. Therefore, we cannot guarantee their availability at any given time.