The USC Writing Center’s mission is to empower students, faculty, and staff by supporting their development of writing and critical thinking skills. The Writing Center pursues its mission through individual consultations, in-class workshops, and a large roster of handouts and instructional videos. Consultants work with writers at every skill level and every stage of the process, from interpreting an assignment to producing a final draft. All of the Writing Center’s services are free.
The Writing Center is a supportive community of writers that promotes open-mindedness, curiosity, and self-confidence. Above all, we want people to feel positive about their writing skills — to have agency over their writing and to approach each new task with a sense of purpose and possibility. We are committed to practicing inclusive and antiracist pedagogy by celebrating a variety of linguistic traditions; rather than telling writers whether their work is “correct” or “incorrect,” we pose questions about each writer’s audience and overall intent. Consultants will ask students what they want their writing to accomplish, what they want it to sound like, and what aspects of their craft they want to practice or change. Our consultants are graduate students from a variety of disciplines, as well as professors from the Writing Program. Currently, our staff ranges from doctoral students in communication and sociology to art history, microbiology, and beyond. What unites us is our enthusiasm, our compassion, and our experience as writers.
Dialogue is the essence of Writing Center pedagogy; therefore, much of what takes place in a consultation is conversation, with both consultant and writer asking questions and contributing to the discussion. Writers usually know what they want to say, and consultants will help them express it in a way that suits their subject, audience, and purpose. If the writer has not yet begun drafting, the consultant may introduce strategies to help generate ideas.
Because our primary goal is to help writers feel empowered, writing is approached as a manageable process, and consultations typically focus on fostering skills in areas such as thesis development and support, organization, audience awareness, and use of sources and evidence. Consultants can also help writers with sentence-level issues on a portion of their writing, such as a single paragraph or page. However, the consultation is not a proofreading service.
Consultants are mindful of the line between too much and too little assistance. They may, for instructional purposes, suggest specific changes in a text, but only to the extent that the writer’s contributions remain predominant. Generally, the writer sets the focus for a consultation, but one thing never discussed is the potential letter grade that a piece of writing may earn, or the appropriateness of a grade it has received. Moreover, consultants never engage in criticism of an assignment, a course, or a professor.
- We work with all current USC students, faculty, and staff.
- Writers may attend one 50-minute appointment or two 25-minute appointments per week. Writers must complete the first appointment before booking a second.
- We do not proofread, but we will teach writers how to edit their work and make preferred corrections/changes.
- Students should not book an appointment with a consultant who is currently serving as their T.A. or instructor.
- Writers should arrive to their sessions on time. If someone is more than fifteen minutes late, the consultant will end the session.
- Consultants will only help writers with their own work and will not engage with the writing of someone who is not present.
- Writers should expect to participate fully in a consultation.
- Consultants may not assist with take-home or other exams unless the instructor provides permission in advance by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 22 – August 8
M – Th, 10am – 9pm (PST)