Writing Center Frequently Asked Questions

For Students

What’s a consultation like?

Consultants meet one-on-one with students to focus on one or two writing issues agreed upon by the writer and the consultant. In most sessions, students and consultants will engage in a combination of discussion, reflection and writing. Consultants will provide constructive criticism and help you determine a direction for developing or revising ideas, but they won't tell you what to write. Instead, they are trained to help you clarify—through a process of dialogue and questioning—what you are trying to say and develop it more fully. During a session, your consultant might ask you questions or suggest low-stakes writing in order to prompt you to view your own writing critically. Students who are prepared to discuss, explore and experiment collaboratively with their writing in this way tend to find the Writing Center's services to be the most helpful.

How long does a consultation last?

Sessions run between 35 minutes to 1 hour. All appointments start on the hour.

Do I need to bring anything?

Bring the assignment, all drafts you've done thus far (including brainstorming/prewriting), and something to write with.

Do I need to have a draft to come to the Writing Center?

No. You can visit at any stage of the writing process, even without a draft. In fact, writers often claim that early Writing Center sessions focused on understanding the assignment and brainstorming ideas are some of the most productive sessions.

Do I need an appointment to stop by? How do I make one?

Appointments aren't necessary, but at busy times of the year they can ensure you a spot at a time most convenient to you. Drop by the Writing Center or call us at x4051 (215-572-4051 from off campus).

Will the consultant edit my papers for me?

No. The Writing Center consultant will ask you questions and make suggestions regarding editing and revision for your draft, but they will not edit the draft for you. Students who need help editing can come to the Writing Center in order to practice thinking about and discussing their work with this critical eye.

Who can use the Writing Center?

The Writing Center is open all Arcadia students (undergraduate and graduate), staff, alumni and faculty.

Who works in the Writing Center?

All consultants are Graduate or Undergraduate students who have been recommended by faculty, interviewed by the Writing Center director, and undergone extensive training in the peer-to-peer method of collaborative learning.

How is my visit documented? Can I get a report sent to my Professor?

When you appointment begins, you will fill out a form asking for basic information about you and the paper. A report is generated by the Writing Center Consultant after each visit. If you would like a report sent to your professor, simply circle yes under "OK to send to your professor?".

What if I am studying abroad, or am taking classes at Arcadia's Delaware campus? Can I still use the Writing Center?

Yes. The Writing Center has the capability to conduct a limited number of sessions with students who absolutely cannot come to campus via Bluejeans. Given the collaborative and interactive nature of Writing Center consultations, however, it is always best to work with a consultant face-to-face. To make an online appointment, please contact the Writing Center and specify your reason for requiring an online appointment. A Writing Center consultant will help you determine whether or not an online session is, in fact, the best way to work with you and your writing. 

For Faculty

What is the Writing Center?

The Writing Center works with students across campus to help them with all aspects of writing, from generating and refining ideas to revision and editing. The Writing Center works with students on any writing assignment, in all disciplines and majors, and at any stage of the writing process. Through open-ended talking, writing and sharing, the Writing Center helps students understand their own unique writing processes and adapt responsibly to writing with a wide variety of audiences and purposes.

Why should I recommend the Writing Center to my students?

The Writing Center is not just a resource for students in the English department, but for all students across campus. Students in all majors and disciplines and at all levels use the Writing Center, from First Year students through Graduate students.

Students who use the Writing Center often find that it saves them time and frustration when writing. Because Writing Center consultants excel at facilitating critical thinking about writing during “pressure points” in the process for students, consultations can provide students with a venue to address potential issues in writing before they arise.

Students who have previously visited the Writing Center also find that their experiences there help them become better writers overall: students overwhelmingly report that they can better explain and defend decisions they make in their writing, and that they actually revise based on what they discuss and review with consultants in Writing Center sessions.

The Writing Center can also save time for you as a faculty member. Faculty who encourage students to visit often find that students working with consultants are more likely to produce coherent, well-supported arguments and claims than if they had not visited. 

What will and won't the Writing Center do when working with my students?

Please see the list below. You can even download this list to print and distribute it to your students here.

What We CAN Do
What We CAN’T  Do

Help students understand grammar and mechanics through practice and discussion

A grammar “check” where the Writing Center corrects the grammar in students’ papers without input from the student

Help students practice proofreading strategies using the papers they bring in

Proofread papers for students or without their participation

Help students understand assignments and develop ideas for writing papers

Give ideas to students or represent the instructor when answering questions about assignments or grades

Help students critically evaluate and responsibly integrate sources through modeling, discussion and practice

Fix citation errors, find research or validate references or reference lists for students

Help students evaluate structure, organization and development of claims and ideas in their papers

Tell students what claims they should write or assess the accuracy of content in their papers

Help students practice critical thinking and revision when making their own decisions in their own writing

Fix papers for students

Help students consider audience, voice and tone and context when writing academically.

Be expert references for students regarding discipline-specific academic conventions or processes.

Meet and talk with students about any writing issue for any assignment in any course

Look at or discuss a paper without the student’s participation or presence

Help students develop a plan for continued improvement and practice in academic writing, including English Language Learners

Solve every writing problem for a student, even with repeat sessions

Who are the Writing Center consultants?

Writing Center consultants are undergraduate and graduate students from many disciplines who have been trained to work with student writing in the Writing Center. Consultants are facilitators of thinking and writing; they will not tell your students what to write. Instead, consultants are trained to engage with writers at any stages of the writing process, helping students navigate complex writing tasks through discussion, practice and critical evaluation. 

Can I require my entire class to use the Writing Center?

Yes, but you must arrange this requirement with the Director of the Writing Center in advance. Please contact the Director to discuss the benefits, drawbacks, and other considerations related to such a requirement.

What else can the Writing Center do to help me work with my students?

The Writing Center offers other services to help faculty, including workshops and primers on specific writing issues conducted by the Director of the Writing Center or an experienced consultant. The Writing Center can even tailor workshops and presentations to specific classes or programs. If you are interested in developing or requesting a writing workshop for your class, please e-mail Dan Schall, the Director of the Writing Center (schalld@arcadia.edu).

I have other questions about the Writing Center. Who can I talk to?

Please contact Dan Schall, the Director of the Writing Center at schalld@arcadia.edu or 215-572-2870.