Frequently asked questions
What should I expect during my writing conference?
When you first come into the Center, you will be welcomed by one of our receptionists, who will check you in and introduce you to your writing assistant. With your writing assistant, you will set goals for your session. Then, if you have a draft, you will read the paper out loud. After reading, you and your writing assistant might ask questions about the draft, discuss specific sections or aspects of the paper, refer to a handout or writing resource for assistance—whatever the case, the conference will be focused on your writing process and how you would like to work on revising your paper. Or, if you don’t have a draft, you and the writing assistant might brainstorm or outline your ideas. The writing assistant might give you some time to do some preliminary drafting and then discuss what you’ve written. At the end of the conference, you and your writing assistant will discuss your plan for revision.
How can I get the most out of my conference?
- Make an appointment early in the writing process. You might come in before you’ve written anything or when you are in the early stages of drafting. Remember that writing is a process and takes time, and you should use the CWC while keeping that in mind.
- Bring in two copies of your draft (if you have a draft).
- Bring your assignment description.
- Come with your own questions and ideas for the direction of the conference.
- Be prepared to engage in a conversation about your writing and/or writing process, listen to another writer’s suggestions about your draft, think through questions the writing assistant asks you, and pose your own questions in return.
- Give yourself plenty of time to draft or revise after the conference.
When should I make an appointment?
Because writing is a process, we recommend making an appointment as soon as you have an assignment or early on in your writing process. You might choose to make an appointment to better understand your assignment or brainstorm before you begin drafting. You might choose to make an appointment early on in the drafting process and bring in a really rough draft.
Again, because writing is a process that takes time, we advise against making an appointment immediately before the assignment’s due date and time.
What kinds of writing can I work on at the Writing Center?
Any type of writing—lab reports, literature reviews, critical essays, poetry, research papers, personal statements, etc. You can even come in before you’ve actually started writing to brainstorm and plan.
How do I make an appointment?
You can access our online scheduling system through our homepage: http://www.unh.edu/writing/cwc/. When you click the “Make an Appointment!” button, follow the prompts in the system to schedule an appointment.
If you have any questions, feel free to call us at (603) 862-3272.
What is the policy on the number of appointments a student is allowed to make?
Undergraduate students can make two appointments per week and one appointment per day.
Graduate students can make one appointment every two weeks (a total of eight per semester). Please review our page for Graduate Students, including our overview of Graduate Student Services if you are working on a longer project.
Do you take walk-ins?
Yes, if an appointment is available. We will take walk-in appointments if there is an opening on our schedule and a writing assistant is free to take the appointment. The best way to make sure you will have an appointment is to schedule one in advance.
When you request a walk-in appointment, we will still have you sign up through our scheduling system to gather information for the conference; for this reason, we recommend that students simply make appointments in advance.
How do I cancel or reschedule an appointment?
As soon as you know that you won’t be able to make an appointment, please log in to WC Online and cancel or reschedule your appointment. Doing so is especially important during times of high demand for our services, so please make sure that appointment slot is free for another writer if you won’t be able or don’t wish to attend an appointment.
Please note: the CWC does not see lacking a draft as a reason to cancel an appointment. We can help writers overcome writer’s block, brainstorm, organize, help spark new ideas, or refine a rough draft. You can come in even if you didn’t get as much (or anything) done on your assignment as you would have liked.
Do you have a policy on missed appointments?
If you miss two appointments without calling ahead to cancel or without cancelling through WC Online, you will be locked out of our online scheduling system. You will be locked out of our system for two weeks, and you will need to contact the Writing Center to request that your account be re-enabled to schedule appointments.
Please be sure to cancel an appointment if you are unable to attend or no longer want the conference. Another writer would love the opportunity to have a writing conference.
I haven't started my paper. Can you still help me?
Absolutely! We can help you at any stage in the writing process. Students often find that brainstorming sessions with writing assistants are very helpful. We can also help you understand your assignment, create a plan for your drafting process, and help you write an outline for a first draft.
Can I either drop my paper off or email it and have it looked over by the Writing Center? Can’t you just do a quick check and tell me what to fix?
No. We are not an editing or proofreading service. We invite students into a collaborative relationship that is facilitated through direct participation on the writer’s part. Your participation is vital and necessary.
I really need help with my grammar. Can I come to you for that?
We can help students with grammatical issues, but we are not editors. The CWC is always focused on learning. We help students learn self-editing techniques, point out patterns of reoccurring grammatical issues, and provide grammar resources. We do not, however, “fix” a writer’s grammar for him/her—writers don’t learn to self-edit when someone edits for them.
The CWC has many grammar resources, including a large collection of grammar-related handouts both in the Center and on our handouts page. We also have a library of writing texts in the Center.
Will my professor know that I’ve been to the Writing Center?
If you would like your professor to know that you came in for a conference, you can request a faculty note at the end of your session. It is up to you whether or not a note is sent. A faculty note contains the name of the assignment you worked on and an overview of what you focused on during the conference.
Can you help me get an “A” or improve my grade?
We don’t focus on grades at the Writing Center, since we are fellow students and peers and are not your instructor. Instructors grade differently, and we are not in a place to anticipate how your instructor will grade your work. We tend to focus on writers and not on particular assignments. We see a writing assignment as an opportunity to talk about writing, not as an end grade.
Will the writing assistants judge or grade me?
Definitely not. Our writing assistants are students and writers just like you, and they understand how difficult writing can be. They are here to help you think about your writing in a friendly, non-judgmental atmosphere. No question is too obvious at the Writing Center.
What kind of qualifications does your staff have?
Our writing assistants come from all different majors within the university and are both graduate and undergraduate students. We hire writing assistants who possess strong writing and reading skills and bring with them experience in peer tutoring, teaching, writing, and leading. All our writing assistants attend an orientation and bi-weekly staff development meetings. ESL specialists also participate in additional training sessions throughout the academic year. Undergraduate writing assistants complete a semester-long training course, INCO 529 Writing Consultation. Most importantly, all CWC writing assistants share a commitment to collaboration and writing improvement, both yours and their own.