Frequently Asked Questions

Please find below the answers to some questions we are often asked about the Writing Center. If you are generally wondering how the Writing Center works and what we do, explore what to expect at the Writing Center.

What is the Writing Center? What is a typical appointment like?

The Transylvania Writing Center offers students the opportunity to make appointments to consult with a peer about a piece of writing. It is a space for student patrons to not only gain insight on specific projects, but to improve as writers and develop their writing skills through collaborative conversations with peer staffers. For a better understanding of what we do in the Writing Center, please visit our “What to Expect” page.

I have spell check and Grammarly — why should I come to the Writing Center?

An appointment in the Writing Center offers you so much more than proofreading. While our staffers can certainly help you find spelling and grammar errors and develop strategies to avoid them, we don’t consider copyediting our first priority. You might hear us talk about “higher order concerns” — things like organization, argumentation, and audience awareness. Focusing on these areas will put your ideas front and center in your writing and make you a better writer in the long run. A Writing Center appointment also gives you the benefit of collaborating and conversing with another student writer about your work — in our book, that’s way more helpful than any squiggly red line.

What types of writing does the Writing Center help with?

Here in the Writing Center, we can help you with any kind of writing — and our definition of writing is a broad one! We don’t just help out with essays — we can assist you with any project — creative writing, reading responses, lab reports, presentations, or anything else you want to get a second pair of eyes on. Any writing task, whether it’s a class assignment or not, is fair game! We’re happy to help with personal statements, job/graduate school applications, and resumes as well — but we highly recommend you also visit our friends in the Center for Academic and Personal Enrichment (CAPE) to make your professional writing the best it can be.

Is the Writing Center only for beginning writers?… only for advanced writers?

It’s a common misconception that the Writing Center is only for people who feel like they habitually struggle with writing. What’s important to remember is that writing can be a difficult process for everyone, no matter their level of comfort or experience with writing. The Writing Center is a space for staffers and patrons to collaborate in conversation to discover the writing strategies that are uniquely effective for the individual patron.

Anyone can benefit from discussing their work with another writer — the collaborative nature of the work we do in the Writing Center is helpful to everyone from first years to faculty. In fact, some of our most frequent flyers are Writing Center staffers themselves! We strive to develop all of our patrons’ confidence and comfort in writing, so that when they face challenges in the writing process they are prepared to meet the task and seek help whenever they need it.

Can the Writing Center assist someone who experiences challenges in learning?

Yes! We understand that students who experience challenges in learning may need unique accommodations when working with staffers in the Writing Center. With this in mind, we are committed to creating an accessible and safe environment for all students, as well as offering comprehensive writing assistance that meets our patrons wherever they are in their development as writers. Please feel free to contact us via email with any questions or concerns you may have about the accessibility of the Writing Center, or to request specific accommodations you may need during appointments. All students are welcome at the Writing Center and we are eager to support all of our patrons’ needs!

English isn’t my primary language; can the Writing Center help me?

Yes! At the Writing Center, we are dedicated to welcoming and supporting students of linguistically diverse backgrounds, and we understand that students who are multilingual may require assistance that is different from native English speakers. Our staffers are trained to thoughtfully collaborate with students to discover writing strategies and approaches to writing that meet their patron’s unique needs. We also have a great relationship with student support offices across campus and can help connect students with additional resources, if needed. We are committed to providing students with the tools they need to become more comfortable and confident with the writing process.

Where is the Writing Center?

The Writing Center is located in the Library in the ACE, to the left at the bottom of the stairs. If you’re lost, any member of the Library staff can send you in the right direction. For Modules 2 and 3 in 2020, all Writing Center appointments will be held virtually to protect the health of our staffers and patrons. At their discretion, staffers will schedule either a Google Meet or Zoom meeting with their patrons. If needed, staffers can schedule phone consultations with students for whom a phone call may be more comfortable and convenient.

How do I schedule an appointment?

In order to schedule a Writing Center appointment, you first need to register with WC Online. You will need your Student ID number, which is available on TNet.​ The schedule is color-coded, with available appointments listed in white. Click on the time you prefer, and you will be asked a few questions pertaining to your assignment. You must answer all required questions. When you have completed and saved the form, your writing consultant will receive an email announcing the appointment. Your consultant will email you with a link to a Google Meet/Zoom invite for your virtual appointment. They may also ask you to email them any relevant materials such as prompts and drafts. We also ask that you try your best to reserve your appointment at least an hour before the scheduled time in order to allow your staffer to prepare for your session.

Can I just walk in and meet with a staffer?

At this time, the Transy Writing Center does not offer walk-in appointments. See above for information about how to schedule your visit.

How far ahead of an assignment’s deadline should I schedule an appointment? Can I come in the day/day before my assignment is due?

Although our staffers are prepared to help patrons no matter the proximity to the deadline, try your best to come in sooner rather than later. By scheduling an appointment at least two days before an assignment is due, you’ll be giving yourself the time you need to revise and implement the strategies you develop in your appointment. Even better, schedule further out to allow ample time to schedule multiple appointments throughout your writing process and improve your work — you’ll thank your past self for doing you that favor!

How do I know which staffer to schedule an appointment with?

The good news is, you can’t go wrong! Every Writing Center staffer has the experience and training to help anyone and everyone with any kind of writing, no matter their academic discipline. However, if you are looking for someone who has experience in a particular field, you can choose from the “Limit to” drop-down menu near the top of the page on the appointment scheduler. This lists all of the majors and minors of our writing consultants and can help you find who you’re looking for. Keep in mind, Writing Center staffers are always happy to help you improve your writing, but they cannot tutor you in course content.

How do I cancel an appointment? What happens if I miss my appointment?

If you schedule an appointment, keep in mind that your staffer blocked out that time especially for you. Please do your best to respect your staffer’s time. If you ever need to cancel, log into WC Online, open the appointment, and click the “Cancel this Appointment” button at the bottom of the page. If you cancel or fail to attend (even virtually) three scheduled appointments, you’ll be blocked from the scheduling system until you chat with Dr. Scott Whiddon, the director of the Writing Center. With Dr. Whiddon, you can develop a plan to reinstate your access to Writing Center services.

Do I have to have a draft when I come to my appointment?

No, you don’t necessarily need to have a draft to come to the Writing Center. Our staffers are happy to work with you during any point of the writing process- whether you’re revising a final draft, just starting the brainstorming phase, or anywhere in between. Bring whatever you’ve got, along with a ready-to-work attitude, and you’ll be perfectly ready for your appointment. Learn more about “What to Expect” on your visit to the Writing Center here.

Can I email my writing to a staffer to review before our appointment?

In the Writing Center, we do all our appointments synchronously–in real time–so your staffer won’t be reviewing your work until the two of you sit down for your scheduled appointment. However, feel free to attach your draft to your appointment or share a Google doc so your staffer has your work in front of them as soon as your session begins!

Can I record my appointment?

Some people find it helpful to record the audio of their appointment to reference later in the writing process. However, it’s up to each individual staffer to decide their comfort level with being recorded. If you would like to record your session, please ask for the express permission of your staffer to do so.

Will my professor be notified when I come into the Writing Center?

The Writing Center does not have a policy of reporting sessions with staffers. That said, we do have a close relationship with faculty (especially in programs such as Course-Embedded Consulting and Writing Partnerships). Faculty members encourage their students to utilize the services available to them and would be happy to know that you took the initiative to bring your work to the Writing Center.

If I get help on my paper, will the University consider that plagiarism or cheating?

The Writing Center is a service provided by the University to students to help them improve their writing, and utilizing that service is not only permitted, but encouraged! In order to uphold Transy’s policy of academic integrity and maintain ownership of your work, please do not ask or expect your staffer to write any portion of your paper. A Writing Center staffer will never write your paper for you, but will rather work with you to develop your writing skills and help you to become a better writer.

Does the Writing Center offer course tutoring?

No, while the Writing Center can assist with writing tasks for any course, we do not offer course content tutoring. For help with course content, please visit the ACE Tutoring Center.

How do I give feedback on the Writing Center?

After your appointment, a feedback survey will be sent to your email. Please take the time to thoughtfully respond to this survey. Your response helps us to gauge the impact of writing center work on our community and meet the needs of our patrons.

How do I become a Writing Center staffer?

Twice a year, faculty members and current staffers are invited to nominate students for positions. The number of TUWC positions available varies from year to year. TUWC staffers not only have good writing skills, but also work hard at being active listeners, as responsible collaborators, and as citizens who contribute to the intellectual life of the campus. Nominated students are then contacted to submit a letter of introduction and a writing sample from a course taken at TU. From this pool, students are invited by the TUWC director to enroll in our required pedagogy course, which is generally taught in Winter Term. The course can be taken for .5 or full credit. If interested in becoming or nominating a staffer, please contact Dr. Scott Whiddon.