Success in Using the Writing Center

Success in the Writing Center is something you will see a lot of discussion about on this blog, specifically when to come in for a visit. This is part of the writing process and depends on each person. I have found that the best and easiest answer is to come early and come often. So how do you decide when you should join us?



Step One:

First you need to plan your schedule, this works the best if you tackle your project in small chunks. CSU Fresno has a neat little calculator that can help you set your goals in small manageable pieces. Below you can see what the calculator would look like if you had an assignment that was due in 12 days.


The calculator on their website will allow you to click on each section to find more details to assist you in each stage. Now that you have a plan, look at when it suggests you have each section done. In this case we see the first draft should be complete by Sat Dec 07, 2011. But you do not have to wait six whole days to come by the Writing Center for a visit. [Here is a link to the calculator, it is also available at the end of this document.]


Step Two:

Decide which parts of this assignment you would like help on. Literally visiting the Writing Center at any step of the writing process can be beneficial to anyone. We can help you understand your assignment, narrow down your topic, research, evaluate sources, as well as help you with revising your work.


Step Three:

This is the most important part. Choose a time to visit that fits your schedule; plan on at least 30 minutes. You will want to have plenty of time to work with a consultant, and you would probably find it very helpful to have enough time to work on your paper after the session. More than 30 minutes would be a good idea. If you have multiple time slots that are open for you to visit, consider coming by during our afternoon hours. After 3:00PM the Writing Center is typically very slow, and there will be plenty of time for you to meet with a consultant and not feel rushed.


Step Four:

Actually come in! We cannot help you if you don’t join us. Going to lunch, sleeping in, of hanging out with friends might be more fun than working on your paper, but the longer you wait to get started the harder it will be to finish.


Step Five:

Come back! Just because you finished one session, does not mean you are done. In the majority of cases the consultant will only discuss a few of the largest areas you can work on improve your paper. Returning to the Writing Center makes it possible for your paper to evolve and grow as you get new ideas. Meeting with different consultants will also help; as each consultant has a different skill set which may be useful to you. If you find that you enjoy your sessions with a specific consultant, do not be afraid to ask for their hours; while they cannot promise to always be available to help you, you can increase your chances of getting help from them by returning when they work.


Step Six:

So your came to the Writing Center, turned your paper in and it was returned by your instructor. You are not done yet! Come by for another visit and a consultant will happily help you try to decipher the hieroglyphics your teacher has scribbled across your paper. In some cases this can be even more important than the original session. It is in this set of notes that your instructor lets you know what their expectations for this writing are; if your instructor is allowing you to revise, why not get a head start with a early session?


Above All:

Even if you can’t force yourself to follow a time line like the one CSU Fresno helps you make, we could all use the help. The Writing Center can only help you if you come in for a visit.


Link to the CSU Fresno calculator: Assignment Research Calculator

Last Updated: 3/10/2015 9:41 AM