FAQs: Answers to where and why of the Writing Center

1. Where is the Writing Center?

  • The Writing Center is located in the library commons on the Southeastern campus in Wake Forest (building 6 on the campus map). Although drop-in visits are welcome, we recommend that you make an appointment so that you do not have to wait and can reserve a particular time with a writing consultant suitable for your degree program and writing project. We highly recommend that you make appointments early in the semester for later in the semester—such as one week before your writing project is due. Then come whether or not you're finished because appointments are always productive times. To make an appointment and view our schedule, please visit our online appointment scheduler: WCOnline (mywco.com/sebts).

2. What are the benefits of visiting the Writing Center?

  • Five or more valuable benefits come from seeking informed feedback from a writing consultant:
    1. You set a preliminary due date for yourself, giving sufficient time and information with which to revise and improve your project (so it's wise time management).
    2. You extend your writing process including critical reading, research, and revision (so it's educational, for longer processes mean better thinking, better products, and more learning).
    3. You gain informed feedback and dialogue aimed at helping you improve your writing skills and your writing project (so it's a win-win situation).
    4. You learn to improve critical skills including understanding and composing academic genres, analysis, research, and communication styles (so it's instructive in productive, marketable skills).
    5. You overcome national statistics reporting that 11% of college seniors are proficient in writing and merely 6% are proficient in critical thinking (national studies: AAC&U 2007; Arum and Roksa 2011; Bok 2013). So it seems that everyone should work to improve his or her critical skills.
    • "I wish I would have come sooner; it would have saved me a lot of time" say many students after their first visit. For we help writers to find their focus and to work more efficiently and effectively.
    • Moreover, writers find that they are encouraged, energized, and more interested in their writing projects when they visit a writing consultant, who offers genuine interest and feedback with encouragement.
    • Why not visit the Writing Center? is the question. Your professor, loved ones, financial supporters, and future audiences all want you to improve in critical thinking and communication—recognized essential skills for the twenty-first-century workplace.
    • An academic instructional service, the Writing Center focuses on Southeastern's Fifth Core Competency: Critical Thinking and Communication (see sebts.edu/academics).

3. What is the writing process?

  • Writing is a process that experienced writers expect and plan for in advance. Why do inexperienced writers think they are "bad" writers if they "have to" revise, but experienced writers plan to revise as part of their normal writing process? Experienced writers manage their research-writing projects, planning when and how they will invent, draft, review, revise, and edit their works. Writing Center consultants help you work through the writing process and the needed skills—sentence-level skills, argument-level skills, research skills, and critical-thinking skills—involved in each stage of the writing process. The writing process includes terms from classical rhetoric, such as invention referring to planning, analysis, research, and considering purpose and expectations of target readers such as an academic audience.
    • Invention (50% of writing time and energy): How plan the project, research, analyze texts or data, create a challenging research question, develop a thesis-focused argument, and consider what kinds of reasons, evidence, and sources will best support the argument and meet the needs of target readers.
    • Drafting (10% of writing): How to frame the introduction for significance, outline the body, start topic sentences, sketch paragraphs, and develop reasons and evidence.
    • Critique (5% of writing): How to find and evaluate the thesis (claim, position, main idea, solution) answering the research question, and assess reasons and evidence, anticipating and addressing target readers' questions; also asking other skillful writers into the writing process for critical dialogue and feedback to make an informed revision plan.
    • Revision (25% of writing): How to clarify, style, and refine the thesis, show its significance, develop paragraphs with adequate evidence, and develop the argument from beginning to end in light of target readers' needs and expectations.
    • Editing (10% or more of writing): How to style sentences clearly, correctly, precisely, and often creatively and elegantly, and how to assert one's own voice while also integrating other sources and voices into the argument.

4. What does an appointment look like?

  • You set the agenda, and your writing consultant helps you work toward desired outcomes. An appointment consists of meeting with a writing consultant, usually with a draft paper, for critical dialogue and informed feedback about the quality of the essay's thesis, argument, research, arrangement, and style, including clarity, correctness, and integration and citation of sources. An appointment may also address specific or general questions or assistance with starting an assignment, developing an argument, or editing a final essay.
    • An appointment may focus on the following, as desired or needed:
    • Writing project: Discussing purpose, academic audience, research question and problem, thesis, evidence, organization, significance, focus, voice, clear style, citation, etc.
    • Research plan: Discussing moving from topic to research question to thesis statement to outlining reasons and evidence to finding relevant sources to structuring the introduction and conclusion for significance.
    • Writing skills: Discussing arguing a case, framing it for significance, outlining, creating global coherence, developing paragraphs, writing with sources, and editing sentences for clarity, correctness, conventions, cohesion, and style, etc.
    • We are happy to help you with your research and writing from planning to revision to editing.

5. What do we do?

    • Discuss new assignments with you (help clarify assignments with their requirements and expectations)
    • Help you improve your writing process (help plan key moves of research writing with effectiveness and efficiency)
    • Help you develop a research plan (help plan your search for an argument, literature review, and significance)
    • Act as careful readers (help review your written draft and offer feedback toward improvement)
    • Stimulate ideas (help develop your ideas, argument, and paragraphs)
    • Help you communicate your information (help with matters of clarity, arrangement, style, and usage)
    • Teach you to become a better writer (help you gain strategies and perspectives about the craft of writing)
    • Care about your writing (help address your concerns and serve as a focused dialogue partner)

6. What do we not do?

    • Write your paper (we help you become a confident writer)
    • Proofread your paper (we help you become an editor)
    • Research your paper (we help you become a researcher)
    • Predict grades (we help you become a competent writer)
    • Dictate your session (we help answer your questions and discuss your paper)
    • Assist with exams (we help you become an effective writer of essay exams)

7. With what projects do we assist?

    • Essays and research papers
    • Book reports and reviews
    • Creative writing projects
    • Theses and dissertations
    • Speeches and presentations
    • Summaries and proposals
    • Résumés and professional letters
    • Book chapters and articles
    • Web pages, blogs, and editorials
Last modified: Thursday, April 18, 2019, 11:18 AM