What is a Writing Center, And What Can It Do for Me

A writing center is a college writing help center for student writers. Writing tutors at the writing centers assist student writers with any stage of the writing process for essays, reports, multimedia publications and other types of written publications. Most writing centers also offer online assistance. Use of writing centers is generally limited to enrolled students.

As a proud survivor of two writing center tutoring jobs during college, I feel especially qualified to write about the many free services and other educational opportunities that are waiting for students at the writing centers at their campuses.  Every good college or university in the US has a writing center that is open during most of the daytime with knowledgeable (at least compared to you) tutors and an ample supply of computers for student use.

Another perspective is often helpful in writing.

Students may expect to receive assistance with all stages of the writing process, so writers may come in to discuss an upcoming writing assignment, or they may come in for help with last draft editing issues on a paper they have mostly finished writing.

Since most of the tutors are also students, you will likely find them well-informed about most aspects of campus life as well as aspects of the essay you are writing.  Some of them are good-looking.  Some are friendly.  All of them will help you, and if they can’t, they will know who can.

Your writing center will probably have comfortable chairs and good lighting.  You just may even get a cup of tea or coffee with your tutoring.  But the greatest thing you will certainly get at the writing center is help with your writing assignments.  They will not give you the answers or edit your paper for you since you are at college to learn to do so yourself, but they will render you all assistance possible.

Many writing centers have online help, too, so you should contact your writing center and learn about the help available long before midterms, okay?  All of these services and even more are provided to college students gratis.

So you will have some idea what to expect, here is a training video of a typical tutoring session at the Purdue Writing Lab.

In researching this article, it became obvious that the following writing centers are of interest, so following is a summary of some noted writing centers and their websites. These centers all offer the same type of assistance. Visiting any of them will improve your writing. We have included links to a few writing centers below.

UNC Writing Center: located on campus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the UNC Writing Center can also be accessed via the internet. According to its website, “UNC-Chapel Hill Writing Center helps students become stronger, more flexible writers,” and offers writing coaching.

NYU Writing Center: is the New York University’s writing center. It now offers a remote writing center for NYU’s Global Students that facilitates interactive writing consultations via Google’s video chat and document sharing functions for all students in the Global network.

USC Writing Center: is the University of Southern California’s writing center. According to its website, the USC Writing Center mission is to “contribute to the development of better writers, not just better products, and to assist with the skills and processes of critical thinking, drafting, and revising that lead to clearly expressed positions, coherent arguments, and persuasive reasoning,” highlighting the preferred interaction between tutor and student.

Baruch Writing Center: offers 25 workshops on academic and professional writing and features peer review groups in addition to library and one-on-one sessions.

Additional Links

Depaul Writing Center

TAMU Writing Center

MSU Writing Center

UNR Writing Center

Certainly, the writing center “temporality,” described as “an interaction between people over time, in which the nature of the interaction is determined not by site but by method,” can be a creative furnace for writers. In the same way Ben Franklin’s free lending library democratized and fueled learning, so now do writing centers help develop better writers. Use it as an adjunct to the library or computer lab. Remember that most of the larger learning institutions have online publications of style manuals and other learning accessories that the writing center staff are certain to know about.


Works Consulted

Boquet, Elizabeth H. “”Our Little Secret”: A History of Writing Centers, Pre- to Post-Open Admissions.” College Composition and Communication (1999): 463-482. Print.

As always, its a pleasure writing for you.