Get the Most Out of Your Writing Center Session
hen it comes to the writing center, there are many ways you can make the most out of the thirty minutes you get during a session. Though it may not seem like that’s a lot of time for how much work you’d like to get through, there are ways to maximize your session and effectively utilize your time with the consultant so that you leave confident in yourself and your work. Here are a two steps which I have found helpful in my experience as both a client and a consultant at the Speer Writing Center.
Know what areas you’d like help with
One thing you will find helpful when coming to the writing center is having a clear purpose. What parts of your work do you want help with? Whether your assignment is completed or in its beginning stages, you can save a good amount of time just entering the session with an idea of what you’d like to work on, and if you haven’t started an assignment, it’s okay! Consultants can help you brainstorm or read though some resources, so just let them know what your plan is and what works best for you.
If you have completed your assignment or have finished a portion of it, coming in with a purpose is essential to an effective session. Remember, you have thirty minutes, so what areas do you think are most important to work on in your session—grammar, syntax, transitions, formatting, paragraph unity, etc. The consultants are equipped to help in most if not all areas, but it will be extremely helpful for you to let them know what you’d like to prioritize. This is your session, utilize it!
Have a reliable copy of your assignment at the ready
It goes without saying that having a copy of the assignment for your session will be most helpful for receiving feedback; however, it is up to you what form it takes. Most come in with a copy on their computer for viewing, but another great way to receive feedback is bringing a physical copy of your assignment. This allows the consultant to mark up the paper with comments or suggestions, which can be difficult to do on a computer. Also, technology is unfortunately not fool-proof and can fail you. Sometimes your computer might die or lose your paper miraculously, but having your assignment printed out is a guarantee that you will get feedback.
Moreover, reading assignments aloud is an effective method for catching mistakes, and while the consultant is reading and pointing out such errors, you could be on your computer fixing things as you go. A physical copy also helps you remember what modifications you both talked about in the session because the consultant can write out comments or add a summary at the end of the paper.
In the end, these two easy steps can help both you and the consultant use your session time wisely. Thirty minutes can go by quickly, especially when you have a long assignment and are looking for help in multiple areas, so coming in with a reliable copy of your work along with a good idea of what you need help with is important. The purpose of a writing center is to help you become a better writer, and making sure you’re equipped for your sessions can go a long way toward your improvement.
Faith Wickstrom is a senior English education double-major from Fort Collins, Colorado. This fall, you’ll find her in the Writing Center on Mondays from 7-7:45 PM.