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The Writing Center > Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is the Writing Center just for “bad” writers?

    a. No! The Writing Center is for all students at Athens State. We are not here because students can’t write; we are here because they do.

    b. The Writing Center helps writers answer questions such as:
      i. What is the best way to get started on a writing project?
      ii. How do I narrow my topic to make it more manageable?
      iii. How do I determine my thesis?
      iv. How do I know when my draft is “complete” and ready for submission?
      v. How might my perceived audience respond to my text (or essay, paper,etc.)?
      vi. How much revision is necessary for a given project?
      vii. How can I identify and correct stylistic errors in my writing?

    c. The Center is designed to assist students with effective written communication whether that is through informative writing, argumentative writing, multimedia writing, or other kinds of research-based writing. For example, the staff can work with you on a resume for your professional development, listen as you practice multimedia presentation you have created, or guide you in drafting a research proposal. Any project that involves “composing”—the manipulation of words and/or images to make meaning—is fair game. We focus on active, collaborative dialogue with writers about their work. As the writer, you know your goals and what you would like to achieve. As consultants, we provide a “sounding board” for your ideas and feedback on your writing to help you increase your own audience awareness.
2. Who works in the Writing Center?
    a. The Writing Center is staffed primarily by Athens State students who are employed to consult with their peers on writing. Think of them as writing “coaches” or “consultants.” Writing Center employees come from the various colleges of the university and represent a range of knowledge in different subject areas. In addition to demonstrating writing effectiveness prior to employment, Writing Center employees receive hands-on training in the process of conducting writing conferences and assisting others in the learning process.
3. Will the Writing Center edit my research papers and essays?
    a. No. Competent writers should edit their own work. The Writing Center will provide editing tips and guidelines to help you increase your own skills at editing. This is important because editing, especially when considering individual sentences, usually involves a number of choices and considerations rather than simply fixing “errors.” Some errors are easy to fix (i.e. misspelled words). However, with sentence structure there are always multiple “correct” ways to write a sentence rather than one simple fix. Our goal is to help writers recognize errors and make informed decisions about revising.

4. Does the Writing Center provide proofreading services?
    a. No. Please refer to the response to question #3 (above).
5. What if I am comfortable with my content and thesis, but need help with grammar and editing?
    a. This is a common question. Each writing consultant will handle it in his or her own way and tailor their feedback to your situation. Here are two common responses you can expect:

      i. In some cases, the consultant may agree that the text indeed is quite well developed but say that it has some consistent sentence-level errors that are hampering the delivery of your message. In these cases, as stated above in question #3, we will provide “editing tips and guidelines to help you increase your own skills at editing.”

      ii. In other cases, the consultant may encourage you to re-consider some of the more “global” aspects of your text (i.e., thesis/support, development, etc.) before you move on to editing and proofreading. The consultants can always comment on the style of your piece (i.e. sentence structure, punctuation, etc.). However, many writers find it helpful to temporarily place less emphasis on “style” while they are working out their ideas and thesis. Each consultant will approach this situation differently, but you should always expect feedback the “big picture” (message) of your writing. All other considerations can be discussed within the context of your message and goals.
6. Is there a charge for visiting the Writing Center?
    a. No.
7. Can I access the Writing Center online?
    a. Yes. In fact, all Writing Center appointments must be scheduled online first—even walk-in appointments. To schedule an appointment, go to www.athens.edu/writing and click on the appropriate link for making an appointment. b. We offer two kinds of online appointments—synchronous (live chat) and asynchronous (email). Please visit our online schedule and follow instructions for making each type of appointment.
8. Will the Writing Center email me feedback on a draft?
    a. Yes! This service has returned as of Fall 2012! Use our online scheduling system to set up an E-Tutoring appointment, and we will send our feedback within 3 business days. To access this system, go to www.athens.edu/writing and click on the appropriate link for making an appointment.
9. Will the Writing Center help me ensure that my paper will earn an “A”?
    a. No. The Writing Center is not involved in determining final grades for courses. While the Writing Center can help you improve your own writing—which should result in better grades—Writing Center staff members are not qualified to grade student work or provide the same feedback as your instructor (who they may not even know). Instead, we work actively and collaboratively with you in your learning process. A Writing Center employee will not attempt to predict a potential grade. Instead, he or she will help you evaluate a teacher’s assignment criteria and discuss what writing qualities the prompt requests.
10. How do I schedule an appointment with the Writing Center?
    a. Go to www.athens.edu/writing and click on the appropriate link for making an appointment. There is also a list of step-by-step instructions for making appointments available on our website.
11. Is there a limit to the number appointments I can have with the Writing Center?
    a. There is a daily and weekly limit, but not a semester limit. Each student of the university is allowed no more than one appointment per day (availability permitting) and no more than three visits in any given week of the semester.
12. How long is an appointment with the Writing Center?
    a. Length of appointments usually range anywhere from 10 minutes to 50 minutes, depending on your interests or concerns. Through our online schedule, you may choose a “30 minute” or a “60 minute” appointment slot. For a 30-minute slot with Face-to-face or Online sessions, you will work with the consultant for up to 20-25 minutes; for a 60-minute slot you will work with the consultant for up to 45-50 minutes. Thirty minute slots are manageable for face-to-face meetings in the Center. For online appointments—usually conducted via a live chat window—we recommend 60 minute slots as communication is mediated and significantly different than in person.

    b. For E-Tutoring appointments (email), the tutor will work on their response for up to 25 minutes if you choose a “30-minute” window or for up to 50 minutes if you choose a “60-minute” window.
13. How much “lead time” before an assignment is due should I allow when I come in for an appointment?
    a. With a typical college-level essay or research paper, our recommendation is to come in early enough to plan and brainstorm before beginning to write the actual text. For that matter, please come to the Writing Center during the first week of classes (when we are less busy) to meet the staff and find someone who can meet with you throughout the semester to provide a “sounding board” for your ideas.

    b. For a single essay or research paper, try making three appointments for working out your text: one to talk about your plans (before drafting the text), one to discuss ideas for revising an existing draft, and one more to discuss ideas for final changes and editing to the draft.



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