The Oberlin College Writing and Speaking Associates Program offers a dynamic space for students to think critically, be creative, and collaborate with their peers.
The Writing Center is a place where students can consult with their peers about writing. We welcome writers to drop by at any stage in the writing process -- before they've written a word or when they are nearing the end. Writing Associates can assist with helping writers develop a thesis, organize their work, polish their prose and many other tasks. We’re committed to helping students adapt and respond consciously and effectively to any academic or professional situation.
Feel free to simply drop in for a session at the Writing Center in the Academic Commons of the Terrell Main Library in Mudd Center.
Library hours are Monday-Friday 2-5 pm and Sunday-Friday 7-11 pm.
We also hold hours in Afrikan Heritage House (Sundays 3-5 and 7-10 pm) and the Science Center, near A-155 (Tuesdays and Thursdays 7-10 pm).
Note: We uphold a 24-hour scheduling and or cancellation policy for all appointments. Missing three meetings without cancelling 24 hours in advance will render one unable to use the appointments system in the future.
What to Expect
The Oberlin College Writing Center operates on a drop-in basis. When you come into the Writing Center, you’ll be greeted by peer staff Writing Associates (WAs), and an available WA will begin a session with you. If you are looking for assistance in a particular field of discipline, feel free to check the schedule to find out if there's a WA with that expertise. In any case, all of our WAs can assist with any kind of assignment and will be able to point you to further resources, if you need them.
Note: If the Writing Center is experiencing a high volume of visitors, you may be asked to put your name on a waitlist, and you will be contacted when the next available WA is free to work with you. When you begin a session, your WA may offer you the option of moving to a quieter space to conduct the session, but if they don’t, feel free to ask for this.
Sessions typically begin with a WA asking you a bit about the assignment and what you are hoping to work on, and then, if you've written something, you may be asked to read some or all of your work out loud (depending on length or what you have written). It helps to hear your work read out loud because this often reveals places in the text where there is a lack of clarity or meaning. If you'd prefer not the read, the WA will be happy to do so.
After reading or discussing your work, you and the WA will work out a plan for the session which identifies priorities. Sessions typically last 30-40 minutes. We believe talking about your ideas and concerns is a vital way of thinking and making progress towards your final piece. When a session wraps up, you should have a clear idea of what you want to work on next. If you don’t, then you should directly address your WA and ask them to help you clarify this.
The most important thing to know is that your questions and priorities drive the session; WAs will work with you to develop an agenda based on your needs, the due date, and other considerations. If at any point a strategy or activity that a WA is using with you is not working, let them know—it’s not rude or disrespectful to do so, and we really encourage it!
It’s important to know that WAs are trained to focus more on such things as the clarity of your ideas, organization, overall coherence and logical flow, and strength of argument and analysis. We can also work through issues of style and other sentence-level concerns. But we are not proofreaders. We can, however, help you learn how to recognize and correct patterns of errors, so feel free to bring this up with the WA.
Writing Associates strive to find ways to support and respect students, and we ask that students give them the same courtesy. During a session, we ask that you please refrain from using your cell phones or engaging in activities that are not focused on the piece of writing you brought in to the Writing Center. Please note too that WAs cannot cover every issue in a session; research suggests that it is best to focus on a couple topics in a session.
What to Bring to a Session
It’s best to come to a session with the following:
- A copy of the assignment and the syllabus.
- Hard copy of any writing you’ve done so far.
- Questions or reflections on your writing, or the writing process in general.
Schedule for Spring 2020
Our Writing Associates
What people say about the Writing Center:
My experiences working with Writing Associates have helped me in making the transition to Oberlin. The close-knit peer mentoring model has greatly benefited me as a writer. I have particularly enjoyed the opportunity to build relationships with Writing Associates these first two semesters.
Whether it’s with crafting a thesis statement, improving my paper organization, or even figuring out when to use a semicolon, I have found the Writing Center to be a useful resource on campus. Although I first learned of the Writing Center from my first-year seminar professor, now I’m the one telling my peers about it!