writing center

Valpo’s Writing Center, located on the first floor of the Christopher Center Library, is a helpful resource for any student looking to improve a piece of writing. 

In the Writing Center, consultants offer help at any stage of the writing process. According to the center’s page on valpo.edu, they want you to “leave the Writing Center with a good understanding of what you can do in your next draft.”

“The Writing Center is really great. It is for all students for whatever kind of writing project that you have,” said Ella Speckhard, a writing center student consultant.

Speckhard notes that there is little restriction on the types of writing students can bring in for appointments. Writing can also be brought in at any stage for help, even the planning stage.

“There is no like limit, basically if you have your own creative writing that you just want somebody else to look at, absolutely bring it into the Writing Center,” Speckhard said. “If you have some writing assignment that you just don't know where to start, bring in a prompt, and we'll help you get started if you don't have any ideas. And if you have, you know, a polished final paper, but you just want to make sure that somebody else thinks it's polished, bring it in, and we'll just look over everything.”

Speckhard, a senior digital media and French double major, began working at the Writing Center after completing an internship there during her sophomore year at Valpo. Though there are more online appointments now, Speckhard notes that she is grateful to still be doing in-person appointments while social distancing. 

“I feel really lucky that I still have all of my hours in person in the Writing Center, just because that's how I prefer to do it,” Speckhard said. “It's a lot easier for me to help people if I can see them, see what they're nervous about or being able to just talk to them in person makes things a lot easier.”

According to Speckhard, it can be useful to bring any writing assignment into the Writing Center. There’s no assignment too big or small to bring in for an appointment.

“Honestly, I would recommend bringing in every writing assignment you have. I know that it is extremely unrealistic to say that because not everyone has that kind of time,” Speckhard said. “But I have found that no matter, even if I have a really good paper that I'm super confident about [that] having somebody else's eyes on that paper are going to help me realize, ‘oh, wait, like, that sentence doesn't work.’ Or that wording was really weird.”

Sessions at the Writing Center are typically around half an hour, but appointments can also be booked for one hour if the writing in question is longer or you expect to need more help on it. When booking an appointment online, you will be asked what the assignment is and what you want to work on. From there, the Writing Center process often involves reading out loud. 

“I will usually ask if you'd feel comfortable reading your paper out loud or if you'd like me to read it out loud,” Speckhard said. “The reason we do that is when we read our papers out loud, it really helps find a lot of the stuff that your eyes just gloss over when you're reading it in your head.”

After the consultant goes over the paper with you, they will normally try to give you the tools to do further work on your own.

“We do try and leave you with some advice for how you can keep going by yourself,” Speckhard said. “And then so at the end of the appointment, after you leave, your consultant will send you a client report form, which is basically saying what we worked on and then saying what your consultant thought was really good about your paper and what they enjoyed about it and then giving advice for how to keep moving forward so that you have a strong jumping off point for as you continue to edit your paper.”

Conferences can be scheduled online at https://valpo.mywconline.com/, or walk-in appointments may be available when a green light is posted on the availability sign outside the Writing Center.

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