Information for Students
Writing Center services
The USC Writing Center is a student-centered, non-grading facility that exists to help students to become better writers. One of its main functions is to provide a place where writers and can sit and talk with an experienced writer about writing.
The Writing Center employs graduate students to work with writers on a one-on-one basis and in workshops, helping them at any stage of the writing process. Writing consultants are specially trained to work with students at all levels, both native and non-native speakers of English.
In a typical Writing Center consultation, consultants focus on thesis development and organization of a paper’s argument. Once a paper is well developed, the writer and the consultant may move on to matters of spelling, punctuation, or grammar.
To avoid disappointment, you should know that the Writing Center is not an editing or proofreading service. The consultant can identify recurrent problems and suggest solutions. Together, you may “correct” a paragraph or two, in a way that you understand the nature of the corrections. However, it’s up to you to use these as a model to do your own editing and proofreading.
The purpose of a consultation is to identify aspects of a paper that need further work. For this reason, your paper won’t be finished when you leave the Writing Center, but you will have ideas about how to improve it. Consultations are 30 minutes, and you may spend time with a consultant on a daily basis up to five times per week.
Because we believe in helping to create better writers, not perfect papers, we will not assist students with take-home exams without a professor's permission.
Grammar, style and skill workshops
The Writing Center conducts small-group workshops for students in a wide range of writing skills. Each week there are two or more different one-hour workshops offered at various times. A schedule of current workshops is downloadable here: Spring_2013_Grammar_Style_and_Skill_Workshops.doc.
The Writing Center has a large selection of printed materials that address topics such as comma problems, sentence fragments, paragraph development, MLA and APA documentation for library research papers, and so on. These are on display and free to students who wish to use them.