What to tell your students
Let them know we are a resource available to them to help them improve their critical thinking and writing skills. Tell them they can set up an appointment with one of our consultants to work with them on a writing assignment. Inform them of our grammar, style and skill workshops that focus on specific aspects of academic writing, from writing a strong introduction to documenting sources.
Student perceptions of the Writing Center. Some of your students may see the Writing Center as a place for only remedial writing assistance. They may also be reluctant to ask for help; they may feel there's a stigma attached to using the Writing Center; or they may be simply intimidated by not knowing what to expect. For these students, the first trip to the Writing Center will seem like going to the dentist - something perceived as potentially painful.
Those who clear that hurdle, however, discover that it's a friendly place with much to offer. Writers both strong and not so strong find much they can use by discussing their papers with our consultants. The typical Writing Center visitor comes back again and again.
Classroom visit. A good way to encourage your students to use the Writing Center is to request a classroom visit by one of our consultants. In ten minutes, they will describe what students can gain from the Writing Center, and by their presence and friendly manner can dispel some of the fears your students may have about us.
How to send students to the Writing Center. We recommend that you strongly suggest to individual students that their writing can benefit from visits to the Writing Center. However, let them make their own decision.
This allows them to take advantage of our status outside of the teacher-student relationship.The writing process necessarily involves missteps, errors, drafts that are destined only for the circular file. Because we do not evaluate students' writing, they have a place to make those mistakes without being graded down for them.
Requiring students to use the Writing Center. We strongly discourage sending students to the Writing Center by making it a requirement or offering incentives. Writers learn best when self-motivated. As we are trying to foster skills, not simply impart information, the active and willing involvement of both parties is necessary for consultations to be successful.
Students who are not self-motivated react in a number of ways that make a consultation counterproductive. Whether it is seen as a punishment or an opportunity to acquire points, such students will passively “do their time” and gain little or nothing from the time spent.
We also have limited capacity. When students who are not interested in being at the Writing Center take up consultation time, other students—motivated students, who really want and need help—often are forced to wait or are unable to see a consultant.