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 walk-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.  

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

Our schedule is usually quite full, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t get in!  We take walk-in appointments wherever possible.  If you have some flexibility and don’t mind waiting, come in person to the Center.  Our front desk staff will take a look at the schedule and let you know when we can likely fit you in.  Also, you can check the online appointment system for last-minute cancellations; appointments frequently come open in the middle of the day.  Finally, you can also use our waiting-list feature.  From our online schedule, 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 this kind of “drop off” service at the Center.  We believe that students learn best through hands-on practice and conversation with a thoughtful reader. For this reason, 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 (audience, purpose, thesis) over lower-order issues.  When dealing with mechanical or stylistic issues, 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 the issue, 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 rather than providing you a “quick fix.”  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, you should contact your professor.

What should I bring to my session?

If you bring nothing else, bring your assignment. This will help us understand the work you need to do and how we can help you do it.  We can work with either hard 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.

Can I just show up at the Writing Center, or do I need to make an appointment?

We accommodate both walk-in clients and those with appointments.   While scheduled appointments can last up to 50 minutes, walk-in sessions are limited to 30 minutes.  You can make an appointment via our scheduling website.   The UAWC observes a policy of one session per day, per client, and no more than two sessions per week.

I’m an Engineer (or nurse, social work student, etc.), not an English major. Will the Writing Center be able to help me with my writing assignment?

We work with students in all disciplines– English, history, humanities, art, nursing, social work, social sciences, engineering, science, business, human-environmental science, education, 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, choose the option at the top of the page 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 sections. If you are a distance-learning student, click here for more information.