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Frequently Asked Questions

What should I bring to an appointment?

Please bring at least one hard copy of your paper to your appointment. You may bring a laptop and an electronic version of your paper, but please note that you may be asked to print a copy in the library before beginning the consultation. Otherwise, bring anything and everything related to the writing: instructions from the professor, notes from class, your textbook, previous drafts, source materials, instructor comments, and so on. The more we know about the context of the writing, the better.

How long will my session last?  

Sessions can be booked for 30 or 60 minutes, although the first and last few minutes of each session will be needed for logging your session in and out. How that time is spent is entirely up to you. We're here to help you improve as a writer, which means helping you think critically and make reasoned decisions about your own writing rather than making any decisions for you. We might also suggest, though, that you schedule other appointments across a semester to continue a relationship with you about developing a particular writing goal or project. 

Who are the Writing Center consultants and will they know how to help me?

Writing Center consultants represent a number of disciplines and majors on campus, but we do not claim to be experts with every topic or course. In many cases, we are always evolving and learning new things. Still, we are experienced writers and readers and we can offer constructive feedback about your writing. Then, through discussion with you, we can identify ways to improve and revise your work. In other words, we won't tell you what to do; we'll work with you to figure out what to do. That way, you'll sharpen your own eyes and ears as a writer and editor, which will serve you well the next time you sit down to write and long after you leave Doane University.  

What kinds of writing can I bring to the Writing Center?

We love to talk about any writing: academic, creative, personal, professional... We're up for any challenge! If you're working on writing for your classes, we are eager to look at any kind of writing from any discipline at any stage. We will ask a lot of questions, review your writing and everything related to it, and chart a course of action with you, not for you.

When should I visit the Writing Center for help?

We encourage you to visit us any time.  You don't even need an assignment.  All you really need is the desire to improve as a writer.  After all, we're writers, too. At its core, the Writing Center is a community of student writers helping one another. So if you just want to chat generally about writing, why you like it, why it scares or frustrates you, what gives you trouble, and so on, we're happy to oblige. 

If you want help with a specific assignment or project, you should keep a couple things in mind. 

  • First, we are ready to assist you at any stage of the writing process, from planning written work to writing and revising it. We can help if you:
  • Struggle to interpret your professor's assignment instructions. 
  • Understand the assignment but can't come up with an idea or have an idea but can't find the words to capture it clearly and concisely. 
  • Have a clear and concise idea, but aren't sure how it might work as an argument or thesis statement. 
  • Have a clear argument or thesis, but can't figure out how to support or develop it. 
  • Have a lot of the development finalized for a paper, but can't find a way to organize it effectively. 
  • Have questions about citing sources. 
  • Want more feedback about with style, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Try to revise, but don't understand feedback you've received elsewhere. 
  • Second, you should visit well in advance of the project due date, if it has one. You will want adequate time to implement or utilize what we discuss during your session. You may also need more than one session.



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