The Writing Center does not edit, proofread, or revise papers, but we can supply helpful strategies and tips for revising and proofreading a paper.
Students can use The Writing Center services at any stage of their writing from brainstorming ideas to reviewing a final draft. However, we are here to help students become better writers, not to write for them.
We approach writing in a particular order as listed below.
Using their own drafts, we help students find a focus statement that is
appropriate for the writing situation. This is one that is not so general that
it cannot be properly explored during the time allotted for the assignment or
within the page requirements.
Although seldom the case, we also help students expand a focus that is too
narrow for the writing situation, one that would necessitate “padding” the paper
through repetition to meet the required length.
We help students identify a split or diffused focus, papers that try to
discuss two separate issues. Further, some papers do not clearly identify a
focus. In other words, our goal is a focus that is appropriate, clear, and
We help students develop a structure for their writing. Since most first
drafts are narratives of stream of consciousness, we help students create a
logical order for their writing.
We teach strategies for identifying key points in drafts and arranging them
in a way that relates to and supports the focus. We then help students learn how
to move from one aspect of their writing to the next using transitions.
We help students recognize and identify aspects of their writing that need
clarification and expansion. Complex or controversial points frequently need the
support of detail, explanation, or definition for the reader to understand what
the writer already knows.
On the other hand, we also help students learn to identify aspects of their
writing that are overdeveloped or out of balance—writing in which perhaps minor
points are explained in too much detail with major points not fully
Style and Mechanics
We help students learn how to format their writing in a style that is
appropriate to their field of study, such as APA or MLA, as well as
appropriately incorporate outside sources in the text.
We work with students to help them identify their own pattern of usage errors
so that they may learn to effectively proofread their drafts and at some point
learn to “proof” as they compose. We offer online tutorials to help students
become familiar with academic usage.