- By Jason Bacot
- Published 02/24/2011
Many colleges and universities have their own writing center or other similarly named resource on campus for students who want help with their writing. For the most part, these writing centers are not just designed for students who need remedial help in writing, or who struggle mightily with writing assignments. Writing centers and other school-based help resources are for any student who wants to improve his or her writing. Don’t ever feel like going to your school’s writing center is a sign that you’re “no good” at writing, or that you’re lacking in fundamental skills. In fact, many above average students take advantages of these resources because they want to improve their already-good grades. So it doesn’t matter where you fall in the spectrum of writing abilities, because writing help centers are usually designed to help anyone who asks. And there is nothing wrong with telling your instructor that you’re getting help there, if the topic should come up. Instructors usually love it when students take the initiative to improve their skills. Your school’s writing help center may be run by faculty, adjunct faculty, student tutors, or some mix of the three.
The best writing centers are rigorous about finding student tutors who are competent and eager to help other students, and finding students from varied academic backgrounds. If you’re an engineering major trying to bring your English Comp grade up from a B to an A, then you may find that you communicate better with
another engineering major rather than and English major. Sometimes the main thing an essay, term paper, or research paper needs to succeed is evaluation by an independent set of eyes. Once you’ve spent hours struggling through an assignment, you may find yourself so enmeshed in it that you have trouble seeing your composition’s good and bad points. Having a tutor go over your work with you can help you break through the block you’re experiencing. Help centers are also very valuable for helping students get organized. A surprising number of students have the necessary abilities, and they have the materials, but lack of organization skills can really hold them back. Writing center tutors can help these students organize their materials and make a structured plan for getting their assignment done on time. And many college and university writing centers are totally free for students, though you may have to schedule an appointment. Don’t ever feel like a failure if you have to get help with your writing skills. The very act of getting help shows quite a bit of initiative, and many times the skills and techniques you learn will result in measurable improvement in both your grades and your confidence.
Writing doesn’t just come naturally to a lot of people. Many extremely intelligent and competent individuals have trouble when they’re assigned a writing project. Often a student has good ideas and determination, but they need a helping hand to be able to organize and express those ideas effectively. If this is you, your school may have just the help you need right on campus, for free.