Writing Center


  • UNLV Site Search :
Frequently Asked Questions: For Students

What does our Writing Center do? We are a free service to UNLV students to help you with any writing project, from papers to creative writing to resumes, and we can work with you at any stage of the writing process. We can help you brainstorm, make an outline, work on your drafts, or just be a soundboard for your ideas. We can assist you in person, or you can send us your paper using the form on our Online Writing Lab (OWL) page.

We also have a computer lab with 13 computers running Windows XP for student use. Our lab is open every day except Saturday during the fall and spring semesters, and Monday through Friday during summer sessions II and III. It is equipped with the latest versions of major word processor and internet software. Come in to work on your drafts, do research, or work with a consultant!

Who works at the UNLV Writing Center? Most of our consultants are graduate students pursuing an M.A., M.F.A, or Ph.D. in English or Creative Writing. All of the graduate students in English instruct or have instructed courses in English Composition and/or English as a Second Language. We often have graduate students from other disciplines as well, such as Psychology, Sociology, and even Theater Arts. We also typically have one or more peer tutors, undergraduates who are excellent writers, who receive intensive training to work in the Writing Center.

How do I get help? Call us, come to the Writing Center in CDC-301 to schedule an appointment, or use our Online Writing Lab form. If you call and no one answers the phone, please leave a message and we will return calls as soon as we are able. You may also walk in at anytime and see if there is an opening free, but we cannot guarantee a session with a consultant unless you schedule an appointment in advance.

Can I come as often as I want? When we are busy, we may limit you to two scheduled appointments per week so that we can provide service to as many students as possible. You also cannot have back-to-back appointments.

What if I can't show up? If you are more than ten minutes late for a scheduled appointment, we consider you a "no show" and we will give your time to anyone who is waiting for a walk-in consultation. We cannot hold appointments since consultants and students might be inconvenienced. If you "no show" two times during the semester for scheduled appointments without telling us at least an hour ahead, you lose the privilege of scheduling appointments for the semester. We will continue to see you on a walk-in basis only.

What happens in a consultation? During a consultation, you have 45 minutes of undivided attention from one of our consultants. While you read your writing, we listen or look for gaps in ideas, problems in organization, grammatical errors, and elements of style. This helps us address the questions and needs you have during your consultation. There's more to writing well than just grammar, so we look at the whole paper. We may not get to everything in your paper during one 45 minute session, but your writing skills will be better because of your time spent here.

Will you tell my instructor I came to visit?: Most instructors are pleased to see students taking the initiative to improve their writing, but we will only notify them if you tell us to do so on your form. If so we will send a summary of what we discussed during our session to your instructor.

Can I just drop off my paper and pick it up later? No. We are not a proofreading service. The philosophy behind our writing center is one-on-one interaction and learning. Picking up a proofread paper will not help you learn anything or help make you a better writer.

My paper is for my Physics class or for a job application; can I still come in? Certainly. We will work with any member of the UNLV community on any writing. Our consultants have helped a wide variety of people in a wide variety of disciplines with papers at all levels of collegiate and post-collegiate writing. In addition to academic writing, we also help with application essays, personal statements, resumes, and even creative writing. The Career Services Department is another resource for help with your resume.

I have to write an essay test. Can I come here? If your instructor permits it, we will be happy to brainstorm answers to possible questions with you and teach you strategies for taking essay tests. However, we do not give practice timed writing tests.

I don't have anything written yet. I just want to talk to someone and see if I'm on the right track. Can you help me? Yes. Bring your assignment, any notes you may have, and anything you may have written. Talking about your ideas with someone is an important part of the writing process for many people. Bounce your ideas off of us; we'll give you feedback. We can talk to you about ways to develop your ideas, strategies for getting unstuck, and places to go for research if that's necessary.

English is not my first language. Can I come to the center? Absolutely. We will work with you to help you express your ideas clearly. The one-on-one instruction you get from us helps you learn English grammar and style better and faster. We always have one or two ESL specialists on staff who are better equipped to help students from non-English speaking backgrounds.

Can I just come in and write? Yes, feel free to come in and write. If you would like to work on one of our thirteen student computers, or you simply want a quiet place to write by hand, feel welcome to come into CDC-301.

How much does this cost? This is a free service, already paid for by your UNLV tuition.

Will my paper get an A? Perhaps. It depends on many things, including your skill level, the state of your draft, and what issues your consultant was able to discuss during your session. Forty-five minutes is not a lot of time. We may spend the whole session working with you on organization and development issues and never even get to grammar. We cannot promise any particular grade because we are not the ones grading your work!

If you want to maximize your chances of getting an A, come as early in the drafting process as possible and be prepared to write several drafts of your paper and see a consultant after each draft. [ top ]

4505 S. Maryland Parkway | Box 455043
Las Vegas, NV 89154-5043
Main (702) 895-3908 | Fax (702) 895-4480

Friday, 24-May-2013 10:01:08 PDT