10 Myths About the Writing Center by Dr. Gina M. Sully

posted Sep 19, 2017, 2:23 PM by Writing Center
Howdy, Folks!

Well, we’re back in Dayton South Residence Hall on Mondays & Wednesdays from 4:00 until 8:00 PM this semester. You can also find us on Monday and Tuesday evenings, from 5:00 until 9:00 PM on the second floor of Lied Library in the back with the Academic Success Center. And, we’ve expanded our Sunday hours, too! We now open at 10:00 AM on Sundays, and we’re open until 6:00 PM.

Our workshop schedules are up, too. You can pre-register for any of our workshops by clicking on the Workshops tab above.

Now that the semester is underway, I’m hearing the same old misconceptions about what we do for writers at the Writing Center. So, this time around, I want to debunk some of the misconceptions and get the facts out to you all. Here you go . . .

MYTH #1: Only bad writers go to the Writing Center.

Actually, some of the best writers on campus come to the Writing Center. We consult with grad students, faculty, and staff. The Writing Center is a valuable resource, free to all members of the UNLV community.

MYTH #2: The Writing Center is staffed only with undergraduates.

Most of our staff are grad students and part-time instructors who teach composition and/or literature at UNLV. Additionally, our Professional Writing Consultant has an MEd in Curriculum & Instruction, and our Assistant Director has an MA in Linguistics. We do have a few talented and knowledgeable undergraduate consultants who undergo the same training in rhetorical theory and practice as the rest of the staff. In fact, any of our consultants can consult on just about anything you throw at them. Come on in and let our experienced, trained instructors and staff help you become a better writer.

MYTH #3: The Writing Center’s consultants work only with specific populations, like freshman taking composition and multilingual writers, or people taking English classes.  

The Writing Center’s trained staff will consult with any member of the UNLV community on any writing task whatsoever. The writing doesn’t even have to be for a class. In fact, the writing doesn’t even have to be for school!

MYTH #4: Writers must have something written to come to the Writing Center.

Nope. They don’t. You don’t have to have written a single word to come to the Writing Center for a consultation. We can help writers at any phase of the writing process. In fact, we can show you strategies to overcome “writer’s block,” or just some ways to get started. You might even leave the consultation with some writing done!

MYTH #5: If an instructor suggests you go to the Writing Center, they’re implying that you’re a bad writer.

If your instructor suggests you come to the Writing Center, you’re not being punished. By suggesting you come to the Writing Center, your instructor is implying that she or he thinks you’re the kind of student who will do what it takes to succeed. If she or he is correct, you’ll come, and you’ll get something out of the consultation that will help you gain more control over your writing. If she or he is incorrect, you’ll come and spend forty-five minutes with a nice person who wants to see you succeed. You’ll probably get something out of it anyway!

MYTH #6: The Writing Center is a “fix-it” shop where writers can find someone to proofread and edit for them.

Our goal at the UNLV Writing Center is to help people become better writers. We’ll show you some strategies for remembering the conventions—and for proofreading more effectively on your own. We won’t proofread or edit for you, but we will help you learn and discover strategies for making more effective authorial choices yourself!

MYTH #7: Writing consultants only work with academic papers.

False. Want to write a letter to an editor? An email to a prospective employer? A love letter that will wow the object of your affection? We can help. The only thing we cannot help you with are legal documents.

MYTH #8: Writers can completely “fix” a paper in one 45-minute consultation.

Usually it takes multiple sessions to read through an essay and discuss the effectiveness of the rhetorical strategies, the organization, and the cogency of the argument, all of which must be considered and revised before proofreading. That means we will go through as much of the paper with you as time allows and look for persistent patterns of error, suggest strategies that can help you find the kinds of errors you make and correct them, and provide personalized supplemental instruction about writing concepts and techniques that can help you more effectively manage your writing tasks.

MYTH #9: Writers can just drop in to the Writing Center and see a consultant.

Unfortunately, from the middle to the end of the semester, you’ll need to book an appointment in advance to work with a consultant at the main Writing Center in CDC-03. While drop-in consultations are sometimes available, you’re better off making an appointment. Writers may have up to three appointments per week.

Drop-in consultations are currently available at our satellite locations in Dayton South and Lied Library. But once we start to fill up, you may need to make an appointment even for the satellites.

MYTH #10: There is no way to get a writing question answered quickly unless you have an appointment.

We have a new service called Quick Questions. If you have a question about writing we can answer in ten or fewer minutes, just drop in and tell the receptionist you have a QQ. You’ll most likely see someone right away!

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