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FAQ - Students

Student FAQs

Where is the Writing Center? When is it Open?

The Writing Center is in Lloyd 322. We also offer online support for distance learners through Zoom and asynchronous sessions. During fall and spring semesters, we have a drop-in service on weeknights at Gorgas Library. The Center is normally open when university classes are in session and closed when classes are not in session (i.e., weekends, holidays, and final exam days).

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

We provide free one-on-one consultations for students in all majors and fields. We can help you build confidence, revise your drafts, and grow as a thinker and writer. Our peer tutors can help with tasks such as brainstorming, organization, research, citing sources, and revising for clarity and style. You can bring any kind of writing– personal, professional, or academic– at any stage of the process.

Who works in the 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.

What can I expect from a Writing Center session?

 A typical session 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 hands-on work, such as creating an outline, revising a paragraph, or finding a new source.  

How do I get started? 

The first step for all clients is to register for an account with us.  From our homepage, click on “Make an Appointment,” and follow the prompts to register for an account. Our appointment system is not connected to MyBama; your user name should be your crimson address, but the password does not have to be the same.

Do I need an appointment?

Appointments are recommended for Lloyd Hall, but we take drop-ins when time permits. Drop-in sessions are generally shorter (about 30 minutes).  Our evening service at Gorgras Library is drop-in only. It’s on the 1st floor of Gorgas Library, Sun-Thurs, 7-9 pm, starting the third week of the fall and spring semesters.

All online/distance sessions, whether asynchronous or Zoom, require an appointment.

I’m having trouble accessing my account. 

If you are trying to register and getting an error that says “This activation link isn’t valid,” you may have accidentally clicked on it twice.  In this case, try exiting, then logging in normally– you may already be activated. If you’ve typed an incorrect email and password several times, our appointment system will lock you out temporarily. If this happens, exit the system and wait 15 minutes before you log back in.  Finally, if neither of these options work, come by in person (or call, if you are a distance learning student).  We can reset your password, activate your account, or help you set up your first appointment.

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.  Check the online system for last-minute cancellations; appointments frequently come open in the middle of the day.  You can use our waiting-list feature, accessible at the bottom of each daily schedule.  And you can try for a drop-in session in Lloyd Hall.  If you have some flexibility in your schedule, we can likely work you in.

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 understanding an assignment, getting started, or creating an outline or plan for your paper.

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.  If you have never had this kind of writing support, we encourage you to give it a try. After working on sentence-level issues with a tutor, you may find that you become better at proofreading your own work.

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 a specific grade. 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.

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

We work with students in all disciplines– humanities, social science, STEM, nursing, education, and more.  Tutors 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, Chicago Style, etc.).

I have questions regarding accommodations at the Center.  What should I do? 

E-mail us at! We aim to provide an inclusive service for all, including people with disabilities. We can provide accommodations and work with you and our campus partners to make sure our services are accessible and suited to your needs.

I’m a graduate student working on my thesis (or dissertation). Can the Writing Center help?

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.

During the summer, we offer programming for thesis and dissertation writers.  Follow us on social media to receive information about upcoming events.

How can I make the most of an asynchronous session? 

Asynchronous sessions are convenient, but it can be challenging when you and your tutor are not collaborating in real-time. Providing information about your goals and concerns will help the tutor tailor the feedback to you. When you make your appointment, upload your assignment sheet and/or rubric. Fill out the appointment form completely, especially the question that asks what you want the tutor to focus on. Upload a word processing (.doc or .docx) file (rather than PDF or another format) so your tutor can easily insert comments.  Consider leaving your comments/questions in the margins for the tutor to respond to.

Help!  My ONLINE session ended, but I didn’t receive the tutor’s comments. 

At the end of each session (Zoom or asynchronous), you should receive your client report form with tutor feedback via e-mail.  For asynchronous sessions, your tutor will attach a draft with their comments, which will arrive in an automated e-mail at the end of the appointment hour. If you are working on a mobile device, you may need to download the document to view the tutor’s comments. After your session, you can log into UAMYWCONLINE  and navigate to previous appointments to retrieve your feedback; drafts with tutor comments will be at the bottom of the appointment form. You can also email us at to ask us to re-send feedback.

How do Zoom meetings work? What technology do I need?

We use Zoom for our real-time, online appointments.   Your confirmation e-mail will contain a link to the Zoom meeting room.  You can click on this link to join the meeting.  We recommend that you set up a free Zoom account and download the app onto your device to have full capability.  You may need to adjust your security settings to allow Zoom to share your screen.