(View our FAQ for Instructors here.)
- Q: Who can use the OWRC, and for what?
A: The Odegaard Writing & Research Center is open to the entire UW community: faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students from any course. The only exception to our “open-door policy” is that, unfortunately, we cannot help students who are writing papers in languages other than English. Most of our visitors bring in papers they are writing for courses, but we also help with personal writing such as application essays, cover letters, oral speeches, group papers, personal statements, resumes, and articles for publication. If a piece of writing is important to you, it’s important to us!Return to questions
- Q: Help! You're booked on the date/time that I need! What can I do?
A: Don't panic! There are still some options! You can try for a drop-in appointment, or visit one of the other writing centers on campus. Let us know here the days/time you need. If we get enough requests for more tutors on a specific day/time, we will try to add one or more tutors to the schedule permanently as their schedules and our budget allow.Return to questions
- Q: I'm a graduate student. What services are available for me?
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- Q: Why should I go the OWRC?
A: Because all writers deserve good readers. The OWRC is a safe place to ask questions about writing and to try out your work on a friendly, responsive reader who will make suggestions and help you find answers to your questions. The extra time you spend on your writing at the OWRC will give you an edge and will boost your confidence and your performance as a writer. (See our policies for more information about what goes on in a conference.) Besides, it’s free!Return to questions
- Q: What if I don’t have a research paper — can I still come to the OWRC?
A: Of course! While the OWRC is an ideal center to visit if you need to locate and/or make use of sources in your paper (after all, we’re located in the Odegaard Undergraduate Library and work closely with the research librarians on staff) we»re more than willing to help you with all of your writing needs!Return to questions
- Q: Where is the OWRC, and when is it open?
A: The OWRC is located on the first floor of the Odegaard Undergraduate Library (campus map) in room 121. We are open during the following hours (except for select campus holidays):
Sunday: 3:30 to 8:00 pm
Friday 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.Return to questions
- Q: Do I need an appointment?
A: Signing up for an appointment is highly recommended. If you do so, you’re guaranteed to see a tutor of your choosing at a specific day/time. There is no hassle, no wait time, and no worries. What more can you ask for?
We also take drop-in appointments, but sometimes writers have to wait until a tutor becomes available. We also give away a reserved spot if the writer doesn't show up within the first 10 minutes of the appointment. For more information about our drop-in policies, please visit this page. For other writing resources on campus, Academic Support Programs has a resource guide.Return to questions
- Q: How long does a conference take, and how often can I come in?
A: Conferences are 45 minutes. You may come in as often as you like. We limit students to three appointments a week, but you can try for additional drop-in spots anytime. For more information, please see our policies.Return to questions
- Q: Who is on the staff?
A: See our staff profiles for information about individual tutors. We're proud to have a diverse range of talented writing and research tutors and librarians on our team.Return to questions
- Q: Can I request a particular staff member?
A: Sure, as long as that person is on the schedule and not already booked with another writer at the time you want to come in.Return to questions
- Q: What should I bring?
A: Bring as much information as you can about your assignment; bring your work-in-progress at any stage; bring your questions; and bring an open mind!
Q: Can I drop off a paper and pick it up later? Or send it to you by email?
A: Sorry, we don’t “fix” or work on your paper in your absence. The OWRC is all about conversation. Both you and your consultant will be asking and answering questions -- reading your paper together and engaging in a dialogue about what is working and what isn’t, looking — for solutions to problems, and exploring different options together. (See our policies for more information about what goes on in a writing center conference.)
If what you have in mind is just getting your paper proofread, you should know that we don’t provide that service. We’re happy to do some “supervised proofreading” — that is, to help you recognize and learn how to correct persistent errors — but you have to be here! If all you require is a professional proofreading service or editor (e.g., to help with the final polish on a dissertation or article for publication), please email us with a request for our list of editors-for-hire.Return to questions
- Q: Can one member of a group bring in a paper that the group has worked on together?
A: If different group members have written different parts of the paper, they all need to be here to ask and answer questions about their parts. (And yes, that includes late-stage revisions and technical corrections; if there are errors to be found, the person who made them has to be here to correct them!)Return to questions
- Q: Can you show me how to cite the sources I use in a paper?
A: Yes. If you have kept track of all the necessary publication information, and if you know which system of documentation you want to use (MLA, APA, CBE, and CSE to name a few), we will help you look up answers to your questions about citation of print and electronic sources. You can also find a lot of information about citing sources (including sample papers formatted in APA, MLA, CBE, and CSE format!) in the Writing Resources section of this web site.
Return to questions
- Q: Can you help me with grammar?
A: Yes. We always ask you what special concerns you have about a paper when you bring it in, and if “grammar” is one of those concerns, then we will help you find answers to your questions. And as readers, correct grammar and usage are among the many things we look for in reading drafts of papers with students. However, please keep in mind the following:
The OWRC is not an editing and proofreading service, and we don’t promise instant results. Our job is to provide support and reader feedback (in the context of the writing you have done) so that you gradually come to recognize and correct your own errors; our job is not to fix them for you. That would never help you with future work.
Every writing center session involves setting priorities and making choices about what to emphasize. Sometimes grammatical concerns will be the major focus of a conference, but often we will spend our time together on more “global” questions (Does this make sense? Can you follow the structure of my argument? Do I need to explain this more?) and save the fine tuning and polishing for another day and another draft.
You may want to look at our Writing Resources page for online grammar and punctuation handouts and tutorials.Return to questions
- Q: Will my instructor know that I have come to the OWRC?
A: Yes, if either you or the instructor requests a record of your OWRC visits, we can send an email confirmation. With your permission, we will also send a brief summary of your conference to your instructor — not to evaluate you or your writing, but just to mention what you and your consultant discussed (e.g. “Jim and I talked about ways to make his introduction a clear roadmap for the rest of his paper. We also checked the APA manual to find out how to cite some of his sources.”) We send these notes only upon request. Many instructors are pleased and impressed to learn that a student was conscientious enough to spend extra time on their writing at the OWRC.Return to questions
- Q: Will you look at papers on the computer?
A: Our tutors are generally happy to read documents on a computer. You are welcome to bring your own laptop or to make use of one of the OWRC’s laptop or desktop computers by emailing the document to yourself in advance of the session so that you can open it with the consultant once you begin the session.Return to questions
- Q: How can I become a writing consultant?
A: We are always on the lookout for good tutors. We hire every spring for the following academic year. We welcome applicants from all disciplines.Return to questions
- Q: To whom should I go if I have a complaint or a suggestion about the OWRC?
A: The director of the OWRC, would love to hear from you. Please send her an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.Return to questions