About the Writing Center


What the Writing Center Can Do for You

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Professors, please contact the Center’s manager to set up a class visit or workshop.

Heather Guhl – hguhl@umw.edu

The Writing Center is located in the Hurley Convergence Center room 430 and offers assistance with all types of writing projects including reports, papers, cover letters and resumes, and research projects. The Writing Center can also help you prepare for in-class essay exams and for standardized tests that include essays such as the Praxis I writing exam.

The Writing Center can help you . . .

  • Brainstorm a paper topic
  • Fine-tune a paper topic
  • Review a paper in progress
  • Understand and learn to detect grammar problems
  • Eliminate punctuation errors
  • Prepare to revise
  • Learn to proofread
  • Learn how to cite sources

What To Expect From a Consultation:

Although a student may seek help with any writing task, such as an application essay or a take-home exam (with the instructor’s permission), they usually want advice on writing an assigned paper. When creating an appointment, the student is allowed to choose their modality – either in-person or virtual. 

For a virtual appointment, the student should be prepared to share their paper through an email to the consultant’s UMW email address. The consultant will also host a recommended Zoom meeting for the student during their appointment time. The student will either join the Zoom meeting or the paper document at the appointment time to set goals together and accept any feedback. If the student is not present in the document, they will be considered a no show and will be asked to reschedule the appointment at a time when they can be present.. 

For an in-person appointment, the student should come to HCC room 430 at their meeting time, with either a printed copy of their work, or an electronic device the consultant and student can look over together.

The student should bring, pull up, or be able to explain any extra information, such as assignment sheets, rubrics, and syllabi, that they feel will help the consultant understand their concerns. Every consultant approaches papers differently, but here are a few typical steps. 

  • The consultant begins by reviewing the assignment sheet and asking what concerns the student has about the paper. The consultant and the student use this information to set goals for the appointment.
  • The consultant sometimes skims a draft quickly to get a sense of overall organization.
  • The consultant may work on only one section or try to cover the entire draft.
  • The consultant asks questions rather than gives answers, leading the student to discover areas of concern and what to do to correct them.
  • For virtual appointments: the consultant gives comments and suggestions for consideration, never direct edits; that’s why students must be present in the document.
  • Sessions normally last from 30 to 60 minutes.

At the end of the session, the consultant writes a report giving a summary of what was discussed during the session. The report is not an evaluation of the paper or the student. The consultant will ask if the student would like a copy of the report sent to the instructor for whom the student is writing. Professors tend to view this positively. It indicates that the student went above and beyond what was required. If the student is required to visit the Writing Center, or will receive extra credit upon visiting, this emailed report is how professors will learn that the consultation took place. Students are also asked to complete an optional, online exit survey.