University Writing Center Blog

Posted on November 21st, 2016 by Jennifer Mahoney

by Angela Herrman, Faculty Consultant, University Writing Center

Your paper is due in two days. You’re stuck. You’ve decided to make an appointment at the University Writing Center. But you’ve quickly discovered that all of the appointments are taken today … tomorrow … and for the next two weeks. This time of year, getting an appointment at the writing center is much more difficult than snagging tickets to the NCAA basketball finals.

Now what?

You add your name to the waiting list on the chance that someone might cancel their appointment. You get lucky—someone has cancelled and you were able to add your name to the open spot before your paper is due.

Knowing that getting an appointment in the writing center is not easy, you want to make sure you use your time wisely. Therefore, here are a few tips on making the most of your 45 minutes with the writing center consultant.

Preparation for your appointment is key!

  1. Have your assignment instructions available for the consultant to review, either in Canvas or in print. Consultants have witnessed too much valuable time ticking away as students search for their assignment guidelines. Consultants are more effective if they understand your instructor’s requirements.
  2. Know what you want to accomplish during your session. You and the consultant will set an agenda together. Do you want to formulate a thesis statement or write your introduction and conclusion? Maybe you simply want to brainstorm ideas? Or perhaps you have a final draft and just need someone to read through your work. Regardless of your task, consultants are here to work with you at any stage in your writing process.
  3. Ask questions. Even if we don’t know the answer, we know where to find the answer.
  4. Have a back-up project available. Sometimes your original inquiry can be resolved quickly. That said, rather than leave after 15 minutes, you can spend the rest of your appointment time discussing another project with the consultant.

For more information on what to expect at the writing center, visit