What does our Writing Center do?

The Writing Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas offers free assistance with any writing project to any currently enrolled UNLV student and any currently employed faculty or staff member. We assist writers with any writing task, with the exception of documents that will be used for legal purposes.

We can 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. Your writing task or project does not have to be school related, nor need it be for an English or Composition course.

Consultants work with writers individually (or in small groups as appropriate). Consultants are trained to help writers by asking open-ended questions that encourage them to think about their writing tasks in new ways grounded in considerations of context, audience, purpose, and genre. In short, consultants primarily act as second readers of texts. Consultants offer more direct guidance only as appropriate (such as helping non-native speakers of English with issues in grammar, usage, and vocabulary-building).

Writing Center workshops about a variety of topics including grammar, structure, and style, are held throughout the semester.

We also have a computer lab with 11 computers running Windows 2010 for student use. Our lab is during regular writing center hours. It is equipped with the latest versions of major word processor and internet software, as well as a B&W printer. Come in to work on your drafts, do research, ask a Quick Question, 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 or part-time instructors. All of the graduate students in English either 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. We also typically have one or more undergraduates who are excellent writers and receive intensive training to work in the Writing Center.

How do I get help?

Make an appointment by calling us at 702-895-3908 or coming to the Writing Center in CDC-301. You may also use our Online Writing Lab form. If you call and no one answers the phone, please leave a message with a local (702) number or your RebelMail address, and we will return calls as soon as we are able. You may also walk in at any time to see if there is an opening, but we cannot guarantee you’ll meet with a consultant unless you schedule an appointment in advance. It’s a good idea to call for an appointment a week before you need it because we fill up fast.

Can I come as often as I want?

Writers are limited to three (3) scheduled visits per week. After that, they may be seen on a walk-in basis. During busier times, such as midterms or finals, we may limit you to two (2) scheduled appointments per week so that we can provide service to as many students as possible. You may schedule more than one appointment in a day; however, there must be a two-hour gap between the end of the first appointment and the beginning of the second appointment so you have time to revise what gets covered in the first appointment.

What if I can't show up?

If you cannot make your appointment, you must cancel at least an hour in advance. If you are going to be late, please call and let us know; otherwise, if you are more than ten minutes late for a scheduled appointment, we consider you a No Show, and we will give your appointment slot to someone 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 rest of that academic year.

What happens in a consultation?

During a consultation, you have 45 minutes of undivided attention from one of our consultants. We listen or look for gaps in ideas, problems in organization, grammatical errors, formatting conventions, 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 improve if you consistently consult with us about your writing.

What if I just have a quick question?

If there is a consultant available, you can ask a Quick Question. The consultant will assess if the explanation will take 10 or fewer minutes to answer. If the consultant believes it will take more than ten minutes to respond, then the writer must make an appointment. Students are limited to two (2) quick questions a day, and the service is based on availability.

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 on your intake form. If you ask us to by circling Yes on the intake sheet, we will send your instructor a summary of what we discussed during your consultation. Please be sure to bring your instructor’s email address.

We will only inform your instructors if you actually participate in a consultation. Simply stopping by does not merit a notification.

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 a subject other than English, or for a job application, or for a scholarship; may I still have a consultation?

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.

If you are looking for additional help on a resume, cover letter, or application letter, you can also schedule an appointment with UNLV Career Services.

At this time, we can only help with documents written in English. If you need additional help with a foreign language class, please contact the Language Resource Center.

I have to write an essay test. Can I come here?

If your instructor permits it, we will be happy to go over your responses with you for structure, organization, grammar, and formatting. We will also teach you strategies for taking essay tests. However, we do not give practice timed writing tests, and we will not help you with content on take-home tests or exams.

I don't have anything written yet. Can you help me?

Yes. Bring your assignment instructions, 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 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 Writing 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. Our staff always includes one or two ESL specialists who are well equipped to help students from non-English speaking backgrounds. Indeed, all of our consultants receive ongoing training about working with those for whom English is a second, third, or fourth language.

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 eleven student computers, or if you simply want a quiet place to read, writer, or study, feel welcome to join us in 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. We cannot promise any particular grade because we are not the ones grading your work! Grades depend on many things, including your skill level, the state of your draft, and what issues you and your consultant were able to discuss during your consultation. 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.

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