If you’ve been at MTSU for any length of time, you’ve probably heard about the University Writing Center. Maybe you’ve even visited once or twice as part of a class requirement, or for some last-minute help on a paper. However, many students don’t realize the full extent of the services offered by the Writing Center. Whether you need to test-run a PowerPoint, get feedback on a poem, practice your English conversation skills, or study for the GRE, the Writing Center has resources to help! Read below for the top 9 reasons to visit the Writing Center, and schedule your appointment soon!
Get help at any point in the writing process
Whether you’re stuck in the middle of an essay, need help tidying up your final draft, or aren’t even sure where to get started, the Writing Center can help. “I think it’s important for students to know that we can work with them at any point in the writing process,” says Dr. James Hamby, associate director of the Writing Center. “If they have a finished product, we can look it over and give them revision advice. If all they have is an assignment sheet, they can come to us to set up a plan for how to get started. Then we can sit down and do a brainstorming session.” Elizabeth, a Writing Center consultant and graduate student of English, notes: “I would tell students coming into the writing center for the first time, don’t be nervous! If you’re not sure about what to do with an assignment, come see us anyway, because we can help you figure it out!”
Study hard with test prep groups
“We have prep groups here for tests like the GRE, the GMAT, the LSAT, and the Praxis exam,” says Dr. Bené Cox, director of the Writing Center. “Students can also come in individually to get help preparing for these exams. We even have books of example tests that they can study!” With many test prep courses running in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars, free tutoring from the Writing Center is a definite must for any student taking a standardized exam. Start studying early to maximize your scores, and pair up with a study partner who’s taking the same test as you so that you can hold each other accountable for attending the prep groups.
Check out a creative writing group
If you’re an aspiring author looking for feedback, encouragement, and a space to brainstorm ideas, join a creative writing group! “Each meeting features writing prompts for the group to work with,” says Dr. Cox, “and writers can bring in their work to have it read and receive feedback.” The ability to exchange ideas and suggestions about writing is invaluable to any budding writer. The Writing Center also publishes an online arts magazine called Off Center, which features poetry, fiction, photography, and art from current students as well as alumni. If you’re yearning to see your name in print, click here to check out the Off Center submission guidelines.
Make new friends with Culture & Conversation groups
If you’re an international student looking to improve your grasp of American catchphrases and customs, look no further than the Culture & Conversation groups. “These groups are made up primarily of international students who come to practice conversing in English and learning new phrases,” Dr. Cox explains. They could also be a useful resource for International Relations or Global Studies majors who want to meet students from different cultural backgrounds.
Try a virtual consultation
Do you need help on a paper, but can’t bring yourself to leave your bed? Never fear: just schedule a virtual appointment with a Writing Center consultant. “Sometimes people prefer to work at home in their own quiet space, so we offer online consultations for when students would prefer not to come to campus for help,” says Dr. Cox. “Students send in their work, and our consultants can answer their questions and help develop their papers through online chat.” If you need help but aren’t able to get to campus, take advantage of the online appointments to get assistance from a distance.
Try out a Writing Partnership
Some students want consistent, recurrent help throughout the semester so that their writing skills can develop more fully. If this sounds like you, consider trying a Writing Partnership. “A Writing Partnership is when a student has a standing appointment at the same time every week with the same tutor, and they can come work on a long-term project, or just whatever assignment they have that week,” explains Dr. Hamby. “This routine lessens the stress for the student and helps them develop more, and it allows the tutor to become very familiar with the individual student’s needs,” says Dr. Cox. “It’s a way we can provide some specialized instruction.” Writing Partnerships are also beneficial to students working on large projects, like term papers or research projects, or students who want consistent help on a thesis.
Tackle projects from any major or class
“All consultants are trained to help students from any department, so you can bring in anything from a biology lab report to a history research paper and get help from any tutor,” says Dr. Hamby. Elizabeth agrees: “The project you need help with doesn’t have to be for an English class. As long as it’s something that involves writing, we can help!” In fact, more than half of the appointments that the UWC handled last year involved projects for non-liberal-arts classes, so don’t be shy about bringing in any kind of written project or assignment.
Build your ePortfolio
The ePortfolio is a fairly new resource developed by the Writing Center and was introduced to the campus just last year. “The goal of the ePortfolio is to help students incorporate multimedia into their writing, and to compile a showcase of their work for when they graduate,” explains Dr. Cox. “They can add music, video, or pictures to their writing through the online ePortfolio, which will be completed by the end of their last year at MTSU. They can show this ePortfolio to employers and graduate schools to exemplify their skills in writing and multimedia use. It’s a great way for students to learn how to use multiple kinds of resources in their work”.
Get help making a PowerPoint
“I would advise anybody who’s preparing a multimedia presentation, such as a PowerPoint, to bring it to the Writing Center so that we can run through it with them and help improve it,” says Elizabeth. Dr. Cox agrees: “We love to help students incorporate multimedia into their writing!” Whether you’re taking a communications-based class, working on a group presentation, or even preparing a speech for an event, it’s extremely helpful to get a second opinion on your presentation before bringing it in front of an audience.