Where is the Writing Center located? When is it open?

The Writing Center is fully online for Fall 2020.  The Center is normally open on days when university classes are in session and closed on days when classes are not in session.  We close during interim, final exam periods, and university holidays.

What type of help can I receive from the Writing Center?

The UA Writing Center provides free one-on-one consultations for UA students in all disciplines.  We help students build confidence as writers, improve their drafts, and develop the skills necessary for long-term improvement in writing.  We can help with issues such as brainstorming, organization, research and using sources, and revising for clarity and style. You can bring work at any stage of the writing process.

What can I expect from a Writing Center session?

 A typical video or in-person consultation takes 30-50 minutes. During this time, you can expect to collaborate with a thoughtful reader in a friendly, low-stakes environment. You and your tutor will review the assignment guidelines, talk through your concerns and come up with strategies for improving the draft.  Your tutor will usually allow time for you to complete some hands-on work, such as creating an outline, revising a paragraph, or finding a new source.  

Can I just show up, or do I need to make an appointment?

In order to serve as many students as possible, we limit clients to one appointment per day, and two per week.

I’m trying to get an appointment, but you are booked up!

Our schedule is often full, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t get in.  You can check the online appointment system for last-minute cancellations; appointments frequently come open in the middle of the day.  You can also use our waiting-list feature, accessible at the bottom of each daily schedule.

Do I have to bring a complete draft to my Writing Center Session? 

Not at all!  We can help you at any stage of the writing process, including getting started and generating ideas.

Can you proofread my paper for me? 

The Writing Center is a tutoring service rather than a copy-editing service. We focus on “big picture” issues (content, organization, thesis, etc.) over surface-level issues.  When dealing with sentence-level problems, tutors will look for patterns of error rather than trying to correct each sentence.  For instance, a tutor might help you identify a recurring problem, show you how to correct it, then give you time to practice on your own.

Will I get a better grade on my paper if I come to the Writing Center?

While we will do our best to help you improve your papers, we cannot guarantee or discuss grades.  For grade-related concerns, contact your professor.

Is there a fee to use the Writing Center? 

No!  We are a free service available to all University of Alabama students.

Who works in the Writing Center? 

The Writing Center is staffed by both graduate and undergraduate students who are trained to work with writers from all academic disciplines.  Staff members receive ongoing and extensive training throughout the academic year.

I’m not an English major.  Can the Writing Center help me?

We work with students in all disciplines– English, history, humanities, art, nursing, social work, social sciences, engineering, science, business, human-environmental science, education, communication, and so on.  Your tutor can provide feedback regardless of your discipline.  It is possible, however, to search for a tutor with specific expertise.  Once you log onto our online system, look for the option marked “Limit Focus.”  From there, you can choose a staff member with expertise in your field or your preferred writing style (APA, MLA, etc.).

I’m a graduate student working on my thesis (or dissertation). Does the Writing Center provide any relevant services?

For graduate students working on their theses or dissertations, the Writing Center can provide rhetorical, conceptual, and sentence-level input. We can also help you to improve your writing process and develop better writing habits.   In a typical session, we can look at up to 10 pages of writing.

How can I make the most of an asynchronous session? 

The more information your tutor has about your questions and needs, the better they will be able to provide feedback specifically tailored to you.  When you make your appointment, be sure to upload your assignment sheet and/or rubric. Make sure you fill out the appointment completely, especially the question that says, “please identity 2-3 things that you want your tutor to look at.”   Make sure you upload a word processing file (rather than PDF or other format) so your tutor can easily insert comments.  Consider leaving your own comments/questions in the margins for the tutor to respond to.

How do real-time video chats work? What technology do I need?

We use Zoom for our real-time, online appointments.   Your appointment form will continue a tutor bio with a link to their Zoom meeting room.  You can click on this link to join the meeting.  We recommend that you set up a free account and download the Zoom app onto your device in order to get the full capability of the app.  You may need to adjust your computer security settings to allow Zoom to share your screen.