When Should You Come to the Writing Center?

If you are waiting to come to the writing center until you have a complete draft and a works cited page and a blossoming confidence that the only thing needed is a little sentence-level revision, then you may be coming too late!

Let me back up.

If you’re coming to the Writing Center any time over twelve hours before the due date, you’re not too late. What I really mean is that we are here for so much more than catching minor errors.

While we do help with that–we know how difficult it is to spot a spelling error when you’ve been staring at the page for days–we are available for ALL stages of the writing process. So if you come in with a “finished” paper, don’t be surprised if your tutor suggests a larger revision. We know that your teachers are more concerned about you following your instructions and demonstrating critical thinking than they are about typos. We won’t waste your time by spotting commas in sentences that need to be re-written.

Here are just a few of the times that we recommend you come to see us:

  • When you are given assignment and need clarification
  • When you are brainstorming
  • When you are outlining or researching
  • When you are drafting
  • When you have finished a first draft

After you’ve come the first time, why not schedule a followup session? This is why it is important to schedule your appointments with sufficient time before the assignment is due. Say you bring a draft, and your tutor recommends some revision before they can look at sentence-level errors. You go home and revise, and then you come back for a second look. That way, we can cover the whole paper.

Finally, we know that many of you receive extra credit for coming. That’s great! But often what we see is students coming in for a few minutes just to get the extra credit and not bringing enough to let us help them with what they really need. Instead, why not earn extra credit and boost your initial grade by coming prepared with questions and specific needs?

Whenever you come–last minute or not–we will do what we can to help you grow as a writer. It’s what we do.

See you in the Writing Center!

 

 

 

 

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Doing a final project instead of a final paper? The Writing Center can help!

Students tend to have the perception that the Writing Center is all about papers and essays, because, well, they’re the primary form of writing that we do in the academy. But while we’re here to help you develop and polish your essays, we can also help you with any writing you’re doing for your final, even if it’s not a formal essay.

Presentations and Speeches

If you’re giving an oral presentation, it may seem like you won’t be doing any writing–but you should. There is a reason that public figures like presidents have speech writers; speeches should be written before they’re given. Writing a script for your oral presentation can help you ensure that you stay on topic, address all of the relevant points and evidence related to your topic, and that you sound prepared, polished, and eloquent. Having a prepared script can help prevent mistakes or misused words and reduce the number of times you say “um” when standing up at the podium. You can bring in your script, just as you would a paper, and our tutors can help you polish your writing so your presentation is the best it can be!

Group Projects

Just because you’re working in a group doesn’t mean you can’t come to the Writing Center. Whether it’s a group paper or presentation (or both), you can schedule an appointment for your group, or just one member of your group to meet with a tutor. With papers and presentations with multiple authors, continuity between the work of different group members can often be an issue. A Writing Center tutor can help check for consistency and cohesiveness in co-written papers and projects, as well as the usual stuff: content, organization, citation, source integration, grammar and syntax, etc.

Need help with that final paper or project? We’re open during exam week! Visit the Writing Center today or set up an appointment online. We’re open from 9 AM to 4 PM in 123 Cherry Hall and 4 PM to 9 PM in the Academic Commons in Cravens, Monday through Thursday (9 AM to 3 PM in 123 Cherry Hall on Fridays).

How to Set up an Appointment Online

Setting up an appointment for the writing center online is convenient and fairly simple, but it can be somewhat confusing. These appointments, while set up online, are for you to come to the writing center in person. If you are an off-campus student, you may set up an online appointment in which you send your paper electronically to be reviewed by a tutor. On-campus students must come to the center in person.

If you have any issues with the following steps, you can call the writing center using this number: 745-5719.

We also welcome walk-ins, but keep in mind that you are not guaranteed an appointment at the time you come in if our tutors are busy.

Logging in to TutorTrac

To set up an appointment online, you’ll need to log in to TutorTrac. An easy way to do that is to go to the WKU Writing Center Webpage here: https://www.wku.edu/writingcenter/

Then, you can click on “Make an Appointment” in the left sidebar menu. This will take you directly to TutorTrac.

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Writing Center Webpage

Once you are in TutorTract, you will log in using your NetID and password. This will take you to the the Main Menu.

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TutorTrac Log in Page

In the Main Menu, you can see your upcoming appointments. On the left side, lick on “Search Availability” to browse appointment times.

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TutorTrac Main Menu

Setting up an Appointment 

On the availability page, under “Center,” click on the drop-down menu to select “Writing Center.” Then, select “Writing Center Assistance” under “Section.” Finally, make sure the dates align with when you wish to set up an appointment and click “Search.”

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Availability Menu

The available time slots will appear along with the tutors who can be scheduled. Select a day and time from the green slots that works for you. All times are thirty minute increments.

Once you have clicked on the time slot you prefer, a box will appear requesting more information.

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Available Time Slots

Make sure that the “subject” says “Writing Center Assistance.” This should happen automatically if you selected this subject in the last step.

In the “notes” box, provide any information you think the tutor should know. This helps us prepare for your appointment. Some things you might include are the class you are writing for, your professor, an assignment description, and/or what you are specifically wanting help with.

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Finally, select “Save.”

Your appointment has been set. You will receive a verification email with the details of your appointment, and you can also review this on the TutorTrac Main Main Menu page.

You are only allowed to set up one appointment at a time. The maximum appointments for one week is two.

Canceling an Appointment 

If you wish to cancel your appointment, please call or email the writing center. Several late or missed visits may result in you not being able to return to the writing center, so make sure you come on time or cancel if you can’t make it.

Setting up an Online Appointment 

Online appointments are for off-campus students. Tutors will look over your papers electronically and email you the papers back with comments.

Online appointments can be set up here: https://distancelearning.wku.edu/writingcenter/

Fill in the form on this page, making sure that your attached file is in Word Doc (.doc or .docx), Rich Text (.rtf), or Text (.txt) format.

Most importantly, in the Assignment description box, please provide as much information as you can so that tutors know exactly what to look for. You might include, for instance, the required paper format or page count, the writing prompt, and/or what your professor is looking for.

Need more help?

This video describes everything covered above with audio and visual examples:

https://mediasite.wku.edu/Mediasite/Play/0e8b50e602364859ae065a82e44cdbfc1d

Meet the Tutors: Lydia & Rachel

Lydia Anvar

Lydia Anvar, a senior professional writing major, hails from Louisville, Kentucky–a city full of coffee shops, street art, and all the cheap Mexican food you can get your hands on. Although she’s only been working at the writing center for half a semester, she loves being able to encourage students who lack self-confidence in their writing. She also enjoys getting to learn new things when students bring her papers on topics that she isn’t familiar with. Thanks to her professional writing concentration, she’s well-versed in professional genres like memos, reports, and resumes as well as MLA style. Lydia hopes to get her Master’s in Education from the University of Kentucky to teach high school English; she believe that literature has the power to change the way that we see the world and ourselves–and she want to pass that on to others! When she’s not writing papers or working, she’s watching The Great British Baking Show on Netflix or catching a cheap concert in Nashville with her friends.

Rachel Phelps

Rachel Phelps has tutored in the Writing Center since August 2015. Like many of the tutors you’ll visit here, Rachel is a senior at WKU studying literature; unlike many, however, Rachel has a unique feature–her eyes are two different colors. This often becomes an interesting topic when Rachel realizes students are gazing into her eyes with perplexed expressions.

Along with literature, Rachel is studying professional writing and hopes to attend the University of Kentucky next year to get her Master’s with Initial Certification in Secondary English Education and become a high school English teacher. Rachel is a natural teacher and especially loves helping students brainstorm ideas for papers. Her expertise includes–but is not limited to–MLA format, science writing, and writing for education and literature classes.

When not tutoring or doing homework, Rachel is involved in her sorority, Delta Zeta, writes for the Talisman, and volunteers with the high school ministry at Living Hope Baptist Church.

Interested in setting up an appointment with Lydia or Rachel? Visit the Writing Center today or set up an appointment online. We’re open from 9 AM to 4 PM in 123 Cherry Hall and 4 PM to 9 PM in the Academic Commons in Cravens, Monday through Thursday (9 AM to 3 PM in 123 Cherry Hall on Fridays).

Ringing in the near yea–er, semester

By Abby Ponder 

Welcome back to campus, friends!

I hope you all had a wonderful and engaging summer. Whether you’re a returning student or new to the hill, we’re happy to see your smiling faces on campus again–and in the Writing Center.

With the start of the new semester, we’re happy to announce several new developments in our neck of the woods.

First of all, while we are still very sad to see last year’s graduates go, we’re excited to welcome several new tutors to the Writing Center staff! As the semester progresses and we all get to know one another, we’ll be posting bi-weekly tutor profiles to this blog. So, keep an eye out for some familiar and new faces alike!

Our writing-themed blog posts will also continue like usual, but we’re open to suggestions for topics. Is there something in particular you really want to learn more about? Is APA giving you some trouble? Are you baffled by that block quote and why you really need it? Ask your questions and we shall deliver!

Another thing we’re super excited to unveil is our newly-created writing groups!

Are you interested in learning about conference and publication opportunities? Do you thrive in a collaborative environment? Do you love to write or, in some cases, need to write?

Well, if you answered “YES” to any of the above questions, then this group is perfect for you.

There will be several meeting times throughout the week where we focus on specific areas of writing and what comes after the words have been put on paper. It is, after all, an evolving process. The general idea is that we’ll come together as a group on a weekly basis to share thoughts and ideas on writing. So, whether you’ve got a working draft or a budding idea, come see us! It’ll be a casual time for us to work together and do what we all love best: write. You’ll also meet some pretty cool people, if we do say so ourselves.

For students interested in conferences or publications, you’ll want to come to our meeting on Monday, September 14, at 4:30. We’ll be located in the FAC Commons (Room 166). This meeting time could also be very beneficial for students working to complete Honors CE/T projects, though it is by no means limited to Honors students. If you’re interested in publications/conferences or you want to brainstorm ideas with your peers, you should definitely stop by! Our first meeting will also have free snacks, which is always a plus!

For groups interested specifically in creative writing, there will also be different groups focusing solely on its sub-genres, led by our MFA students. These groups will meet at the following times:

  • Fiction Writing: Wednesday, September 16, at 3:00pm in the English Department’s Study Room (Cherry Hall 124)
  • Poetry Writing: Wednesday, September 16, at 5:00pm in the WKU Writing Center (CH 123)
  • Creative Writing Publication: Monday, September 14, at 4:00 in the WKU Writing Center (Cherry Hall 123)
Mark your calendars, but know that we’ll probably have more information available as we draw closer to these dates.
So, all in all, I think it’s shaping up to be a pretty fantastic semester. We hope you’ll join us for it!

Let’s talk about grammar (or not)

By Abby Ponder

It’s a gloomy Wednesday, you’re drenched from hiking up the hill in the pouring rain, and you can feel your stress levels beginning to rise with each step you take. You have a test tomorrow, a paper due the day after that, and you don’t know when you’re going to have time for a lunch break–next Tuesday, maybe? You’re on your way into the writing center, paper clutched tightly in hand, and you just want this day to be over with.

You round the corner and walk into the room, located on the main floor of Cherry Hall, for the first time in your academic career. Perhaps you are a freshman still finding your way in this great big world of academia or perhaps you are a graduating senior who doesn’t really want to be here in the first place. (You won’t tell your tutors that, though, will you?) You cross over the threshold, taking in the round tables with multiple students filling them. You don’t think you can even differentiate who is helping whom. They’re all student, each and every one of them–like you.

“Can I help you?”

You turn your head and smile at the person sitting behind the reception desk. You think you might recognize her from one of your classes.

“Yes, I was wondering if I could meet with someone about my paper? I’ve heard this is where you go,” you say.

The girl smiles at you.

“You’ve got it,” she says. “The sign-in sheet is right behind you. Someone will be with you in a moment, if you want to have a seat.”

You nod, reaching for the pen and paper. You fill out the necessities–name, student identification number, time of day, and course title–and then take a seat on the couch beneath the white board. As you wait, you spend your time checking your phone and trying not to guess at which student you’ll be sharing your work with.

Writing is an extremely personal thing for you. You both love and loathe the process, and you can’t help but feel your cheeks flush and your heart beat erratically any time someone dares to look too closely at the words you’ve carefully placed on paper. Sometimes you’re extremely grateful that you don’t have to be present as your professors read your assignments–the red pen is bad enough. Sometimes there’s a little and sometimes there’s a lot, but either way it breaks your heart.

Sometimes, more often than not, you think, you can’t even bring yourself to read the tightly scrawled notes.

“Are you ready to get started?” you hear. Your head snaps up, eyes falling on the speaker.

You nod at this person who must be your tutor and follow her to one of the round tables in the corner of the room. You can’t help but note that you have a rather nice view out the window from where you’re now seated. The cherry blossoms are dancing in the wind, the skies beginning to cloud with another April shower. It’s almost calming in a way–the calm before the storm. You wish you hadn’t forgotten your umbrella, though.

“So, what can I help you with?” the tutor asks.

“Grammar,” you say immediately. Grammar has always been your weakness, the biggest drain on your confidence. If you could only make it go away, eschew all the rules, then you would be more than happy to. Unfortunately, your professors, it seems, disagree with that philosophy.

The girl sitting beside you nods, picking up a purple pen and uncapping it.

“Mhm,” she says. “What is your assignment about? What class is it for?”

You launch into your explanation of the assignment: what it is, whom it’s for, and all the problems you’ve been having with it. You don’t like your thesis at all, and you’re not feeling confident about the third paragraph, but you really like the way you bring out this one point in paragraph five.

You tell her all of this, watching a smile spread across her face.

“Okay,” she says. “Let’s start with that thesis statement then.”

The next half an hour passes by rather quickly. Together you read through your paper, catching errors and inaccuracies on occasion, but also finding strong textual analysis and well-written content. It’s not a perfect draft, but it doesn’t have to be: it is a first draft, after all.

When the minute hand eventually signals the conclusion of the session, you’re feeling good about your paper. There were some hiccups along the way–that’s life–but you leave feeling more confident about your paper than you did before you walked through the door a half hour ago.

Two weeks later finds you in the writing center again. This time, you work with a different tutor–one who is just as nice and helpful as your tutor before. For this paper, you don’t even have a draft written yet, just an idea that’s beginning to blossom in your head. You tell your tutor as much, and he nods encouragingly.

“We can work with that,” he says with a laugh.

Together your chart the trajectory of your paper, filling in a blank outline with your words and ideas. It’s more than just going through the motions, you think: it’s progress.

When you leave this appointment, you have another scheduled a few days down the line.

“Come back whenever you’re ready,” your tutor tells you. “We’re happy to look at another draft with you.”

And you do.

The Writing Center at WKU offers support for all students who are enrolled at the university. We offer services in two respective locations, Cherry Hall 123 and the Commons at Cravens Library, as well as online appointments for students attending WKU’s regional campuses or exclusively taking online courses.

Contrary to some misconceptions, the Writing Center isn’t simply an editing service. Instead, we work with students to help them improve their overall writing abilities, not just a singular paper. We’re there for you at any stage in the writing process, whether you’re brainstorming or looking at a final draft.

This post was originally published on June 9, 2015.

Meet the Tutors: Geneva

About Me: Hi! I’m Geneva!  This is my first semester as a graduate student at WKU and my first semester tutoring at the Writing Center.  I’m the current keeper of the Writing Center blog, so most of the time you’ll see updates from me.
Hobbies: I love to craft, but I don’t know how to knit!  I also love hiking and rock climbing.
Favorite Book: Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
RANDOM QUESTION TIME!  Q. What’s your favorite place on WKU’s campus? A. Definitely, the steps at Van Meter.  You can look out over all of Bowling Green from the very top of the hill.
This post was originally published on November 29, 2011.