11 Reasons To Visit Your College's Writing Center
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Student Life

11 Reasons To Visit Your College's Writing Center

What do you have to lose?

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11 Reasons To Visit Your College's Writing Center
Merrimack College Writing Center

Many colleges and universities are fortunate enough to have a writing center. Writing centers provides students with free assistance on their papers, projects, or any other form of writing from consultants. These centers shouldn't be seen as "fix-it shops" but more of a place to help writers learn and improve. Typical services include help with brainstorming, organization, structure, and function of writing. Writing center consultants and staff cater to writers of all levels and fields of study. If you ever struggle with or need help with a paper, the writing center is the place to be ... they're basically every college student's dream!

1. Free help!

As broke college students, the word "free" is our best friend. What's better than getting help for free? Visiting the center increase your grade for no cost. You get all the benefits of a high-end tutor without spending a dime!

2. Judgement-free zone

Writing Centers don't care about how much you've written or how well or poorly written it is, they just care about helping you. You could come in with a paper that is filled with spelling mistakes but no consultant would ever judge you for it. Even if you've waited until the last possible minute to start a 10-page research paper guess who'll sit down with you and help you rather than tell you you're screwed? That's right, the writing center.

3. Relatable consultants

Although sometimes directors of the center help students who come in, most of the time the consultants are undergraduate students who were trained in tutoring writing. Going to the writing center isn't like meeting another professor or authority figure, it's meeting with a student just like you! They understand how tough it can be to juggle multiple classes or that some professor's assignments can be really confusing or difficult. Like I said before, it's a judgment-free zone because chances are the consultant has experienced the same challenges as you.

4. No time limit

Typical sessions last from ten minutes to a half hour depending on how much you have written and the extent of your needs. The great part about writing centers is that they won't kick you out if you need more time. Consultants will stay with you to answer any questions or concerns you may have. The more active you are during your conversation, even though it may take longer than a half hour, the more results you'll see.

5. Gain confidence

The biggest reason students don't take advantage of great resources like academic centers is because they're not confident in their work. By sitting down with a consultant you can get reassurance about your strengths. By knowing your strong suits, the next time you sit down to write you can do so with the knowledge that your work is not as bad as you think! Writing can be stressful so don't let it get to you and make you think you're not a good writer! One person's "bad" writing is another person's inspiration.

6. Get help with more than just school work

Passing your classes is only one aspect of college, the other includes graduating and getting a job. Writing isn't limited to the classroom. Writing centers can help you improve resumes, cover letters, or personal statements! Resumes are all about word choice so in order to make yours stronger and stick out among the rest, have a consultant read it over. Cover letters are also really tricky. They're basically a short essay on why you're great for a position without reiterating your resume. Visit the center to see an example or a template of what a strong cover letter is like! Personal statements — whether they're for graduate school or scholarship applications — can always be improved by a fresh set of eyes!

7. ESL or ELL? No problem!

If English is your second language or you're currently learning English, don't be afraid to visit your school's writing center! Writing centers are not only for those fluent in English, they're for anyone who wants to improve their writing whether it's in academic English or informal English. English can be a hard language to fully understand as it has a lot of grammar and syntax rules so consultants are trained to help people better understand why we write the way we do and what makes clearer sense. Again, no judgment, only improvement!

8. Walk-ins welcome

College life is stressful and busy so you never know when you have a free second. With drop-in hours, when your schedule does clear up, you can stop by the center hassle-free to work with someone on your assignment. However, if you're the type that likes to plan their day out, then by all means make an appointment! Either way, whether it's last-minute or planned, the center will be there to help you!

9. Intimidating assignments

Getting the assignment sheet for a paper is the first stressful step of writing a paper. Often times we get the sheet, stare at it, then panic about how on earth we're ever going to come up with something that adheres to all these requirements. Writing anxiety is very real and it hinders potential success. If you're not sure where to start, the writing center consultants can sit down and brainstorm with you! They're not there to do the paper for you, but if you come with class notes and the assignment sheets within the hour you'll have a great outline that meets all of your professor's requirements.

10. Formatting and citations

Based on your major or the type of class you're taking there can be a lot of different citation regulations to follow, like MLA, APA, ASA, or CMS. With so many classes and stressful assignments no one has time to memorize it all! Writing centers have great resources like citation manuals with annotated bibliography samples so you don't ever need to worry. Citation styles also correspond with overall paper formatting like fonts, type size, margin size, cover pages, page numbering, etc. Not to mention that resumes and cover letters have their own guidelines. It all gets too confusing to remember so consultants and reference books are your best bet!

11. Developing skills

When you visit the writing center, you literally have nothing to lose. You can only leave the center knowing new ways to brainstorm, write, and edit/review. You can learn how to interpret assignments, improve grammar, and even word choice. Developing writing skills can benefit you during college and even after college in your chosen career. After a few visits, you'll be the pro yourself!

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