More about the Writing Center

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 drop in for an online session or to make an appointment.

What to Expect

The Oberlin College Writing Center offers both drop-in meetings and appointments. If you are looking for assistance in a particular field or 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.

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 share some or all of your work by reading out loud (depending on length or what you have written). It can help both you and the WA to hear your work 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 aloud, 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, nonetheless, 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 things that 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!

—Eli ’20