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detail of front of Lloyd Hall, where the Writing Center is located

Student FAQs

Where is the Writing Center? 

The Writing Center is in Lloyd 322. We also offer online support for distance learners. The Center is normally open when university classes are in session and closed when classes are not in session (i.e., holidays and final exam weeks).

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

We provide 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. We can help with tasks 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 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 will be your crimson address, but the password does not have to be the same.

Do I need an appointment, or can I drop in?

To meet with us in person, you can make an appointment or come to Lloyd Hall 322 to try for a drop-in session.  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 logging in normally– you may already be activated. Our appointment system will lock you out temporarily if you’ve typed an incorrect email and password several times.  If this happens, try exiting out completely and waiting 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 and help you verify that your account is up and running.

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 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.  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 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.

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 more.  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, Chicago Style, etc.).

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

E-mail us at  We can provide accommodations and work with 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). 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.

During the summer, we offer programming for thesis and dissertation writers.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to receive information about upcoming events.

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 tailored to you.  When you make your appointment, upload your assignment sheet and/or rubric. Fill out the appointment form completely, especially the question that says, “please identity 2-3 things that you want your tutor to look at.”   Upload a word processing 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 asynchronous session ended, but I didn’t receive the draft with my 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 a separate e-mail, sent automatically at the end of the session.  If you are working on a mobile device, you may need to download the document to view the tutor’s comments.  If you can’t access your tutor’s comments via e-mail, you can also log in to our system to view your previous appointments, client report forms, and attachments.  If you don’t receive the automated e-mail or have other issues accessing your feedback, e-mail us at

How do real-time video chats 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.