Writing Center FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the Writing Center

What happens during a consultation?

Every session begins with the writing consultant asking, “What are your goals for this appointment?” This allows you to prioritize your concerns, and it indicates what the consultant should focus on or how they should divide their time.

Often, the consultant will ask to see the prompt or the original description of the assignment to see if your work meets the criteria. They may also ask when the paper is due in order to understand where you are at in the writing process and determine what improvements are achievable given the time restraints.

Each session will look different, but generally you and the consultant read through the writing sample paragraph by paragraph, pausing to share feedback or to ask questions related to clarity. The consultant will point-out the paper’s strengths as well as any areas that need development. Sometimes if there is a pattern of errors, the consultant will turn away from the paper and focus on building a specific skill-set that can improve not only to the current draft but future writing assignments.

At the end of the session, the consultation will reiterate the tasks or skills covered during the last hour and ask if there’s any further questions. They will also help you plan out the next steps if the draft is still in development.

How should I prepare for my writing consultation?

Read about the writing consultant. This could help alleviate any pre-appointment anxiety, and it’ll also inform you of your consultant’s strengths. You can meet all of your consultants virtually here. 

Have your materials ready. It’s beneficial to bring in the prompt or the assignment sheet if you have one. You can also attach these documents to the appointment when you schedule it. You should also bring in any notes, outlines, or drafts you may have written. If you don't have a draft, don't worry. We can help you break down a prompt and brainstorm ideas.

Double check the date, time, and format of your appointment at the Writing Center. Sometimes students select the wrong date or the wrong time. Fortunately, you can make, cancel, modify appointments anytime on our scheduling platform.

Be prepared to talk about your topic and your paper. Our consultants typically ask questions to help you think critically about your ideas and their significance.

When is the best time to visit the Writing Center?

You can come in at any stage of your writing process, but generally, the sooner, the better. You do not have to have a draft completed to meet with a writing consultant. They can help you analyze a prompt, brainstorm your ideas, and form an outline before you even begin drafting.

Later in the writing process, once you have a rough draft, the consultant will focus on content by looking at things like your topic, thesis, organizational structure, and the integration and interpretation of sources.

Once the content of your paper is developed, then a writing consultant would work with you on sentence level revisions. They can also teach you how to self-edit and polish the piece with transitions or creative embellishments, and they can show you how to add powerful introduction and concluding statements.

To experience all of these forms of feedback, students should come in early. Unfortunately, many students wait until the day before a paper is due to visit the Writing Center, which doesn't give them time to revise the paper’s content. This puts undue pressure on the writer and their consultant. To improve your writing skills, do what successful writers do - seek out a readers' feedback early and seek it often by visiting our Writing Center.

Who uses the Writing Center?

Anyone who wants to improve their writing is welcome here.

Both graduate and undergraduate students use the Writing Center. Our writing consultants often schedule appointments with each other. Why? Because this is a resource for students who are already strong writers to continue to advance their talent. Feedback is beneficial to any writer at any level. Beyond academia, successful writers have learning communities similar to what we offer.

The Writing Center is also a place where students who are less academically prepared can build a strong foundation of skills to excel as writers. Students who are insecure about their writing ability can develop confidence working with a consultant.

Because students work one-on-one with a peer, visiting the Writing Center is also a great way to connect with other students. If you have any questions, please email us at  writing-center@scranton.edu.

How many appointments should I schedule?

If you have multiple papers, you should schedule multiple sessions. If you paper is more than seven pages long we also recommend that you schedule more than one session. Back-to-back sessions can not be scheduled with the same writing consultants. All sessions last for an hour. Students are limited to 3 hour-long appointments per week.

Can I walk-in without an appointment?

Yes, you can, but we recommend making an appointment to ensure there is a consultant available, especially during periods of high student traffic. If there is an available writing consultant, they will assist you. If not, they will encourage you to make an appointment or return at a later time.

Can I meet with a consultant outside of my discipline?

Yes, regardless of their specific discipline, all of our consultants can offer you valuable feedback

Will my professor know if I visited the Writing Center?

When you schedule an appointment, you can determine whether or not we can disclose the details of the session with your instructor. Sometimes instructors will ask us if you met with a writing consultant. If the meeting is a requirement for a grade, we will always confirm your visit. Likewise, if you were referred by a faculty member, we will let them know you made an appointment. However, we do not actively outreach to instructors to let them know you used our service.

Will a consultant tell me if my paper will get an “A” on a paper?

Absolutely not. In fact, our consultants are not allowed to talk about grades in general. They are invested in your growth, not your performance on a single paper. We believe that strong writers will make strong papers, but it usually requires multiple visits to the writing center to improve your skills. Because our consultants are not your professor, they are not qualified to predict grades, suggest grades, or compare grades.

Who can I talk to if I have other questions?

Email the Writing Center Coordinator at  corinne.nulton@scranton.edu.
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