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

The Writing Center is located in 322 Lloyd Hall.  During the fall and spring semesters, consulting is also available on a drop-in basis at Java City/Gorgas Library on weeknights.   The Writing 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 seek to help students build confidence as writers, improve their drafts, and develop the skills necessary for long-term improvement in writing.  The Writing Center 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 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 try to 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?

We accommodate both drop-in clients and those with appointments.   While scheduled appointments can last up to 50 minutes, drop-in sessions normally take about 30 minutes.  You can make an appointment via our scheduling website.   In order to serve as many students as possible, we limit clients to one appointment per day, and no more than 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.  If you have some flexibility and don’t mind waiting, come in person to the Center.  Our front desk staff will try to fit you in for a drop-in appointment.  You can also check the online appointment system for last-minute cancellations; appointments frequently come open in the middle of the day.  Finally, you can use our waiting-list feature.  From the online appointment system, look for the clock icon next to the day when you would like an appointment.  If you click on the icon, you can join our waiting list and receive e-mails letting you know when appointments open up.

I just have a quick question. Can someone answer it over the phone?

We don’t offer phone consultations, because our front desk workers are usually busy assisting clients.  You can make an appointment to have your questions answered, or try our new “tweet at the Writing Center” service for quick questions about the Center, about style, grammar, or citations.  You can follow us at @UAWritingCenter, and use the hashtag #helpwritenow.

I don’t have a lot of time. Can I drop off my paper at the Writing Center and pick it up later? 

We don’t offer a drop off service at the Center.  Our sessions are designed to be active and collaborative.  Your participation is essential.

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 prioritize higher-order writing issues (content, organization, thesis, etc.) over surface-level issues.  When dealing with mechanical or stylistic problems, tutors are trained to 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 proofread independently for this issue.  With time and practice, you can improve your editing skills; our goal is to help you develop these skills.  For this reason, you should not expect to correct all mechanical/stylistic issues during one 50-minute session.

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.

What should I bring to my session?

If nothing else, bring your assignment. This will help us understand what you need to do and how we can help you.  We can work with either a print or electronic copy.  You might also bring your sources and/or textbook.

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.

Does the Writing Center provide online consulting?

Yes, the Writing Center provides online tutoring for those currently enrolled in distance-learning courses. If you are a distance-learning student, click here for more information.