What happens in a Writing Center Session?

Learn more about what happens when you meet with a Writing Associate! 


What to Expect

The Oberlin College Writing Center generally offers assistance in all disciplines. If you’d prefer to work with someone who has a background in your assignment type, you can access that information in their bio on our website or on WCOnline. 

Sessions begin with a WA asking you about the assignment and what you are hoping to work on. It can be helpful to provide one or two points of focus to start, given that sessions typically last 30-45 minutes. If you have something written, you may be asked to share some or all of your work. Our main method of sharing work is reading out loud. 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 to 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. We believe talking about your ideas and concerns is a vital way of 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 not proofreaders. What we can do is 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, please refrain from using your cell phones or engaging in activities that are not focused on the things that you brought into the Writing Center. 

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.

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