Writing Center FAQ

Can the WC proofread my paper?
The tutors at the WC are trained to approach a paper with larger concerns in mind. The tutor will read your paper and if s/he sees argument or organization problems, for example, those will be addressed first. In fact, revising your prose for these larger issues often eliminates grammar problems. In a typical session, the tutors "think big picture" when they approach your work. After fixing the big picture, they′ll get to the nitty gritty.

Who uses the WC? Is it just for English papers?
Every semester, students from all disciplines visit the Center. While the majority of visitors (about 50%) come from FYWS 151 classes, the other 50% is fairly equally divided among the following types of papers: art history, political science, history, English literature, religion. Believe it or not, the Center has even worked on chemistry, math, and business papers.

Will my professor know I visited the WC?
Not unless you tell them. 

Can I bring a graded paper if I don′t understand the grade?
Sure. The tutors can help you sort through the professor′s comments so you′ll know how to improve the next paper. Sometimes, students with graded papers and WC advice are allowed by their professors to rewrite the paper for a new grade.

What if I have writer′s block? Can the WC help me actually start a paper?
Absolutely. Bring whatever you have (assignment, book, etc.) and the tutors can start brainstorming ideas with you. Be sure to bring a pen and paper so you can jot down what you plan to do once you leave the Center.

Does the WC help with take-home essay questions?
That depends on the nature of the assignment. If it is a "take-home test," no; that would violate the Rhodes Honor Code. Regular "homework" assignments generally fall into the “okay” category. Check with your professor if you are in doubt.

How often can I visit the WC?
As a general rule of thumb, you should visit the Writing Center no more than 30 minutes for any particular assignment. The reason we limit visits in this way is because the paper you are working on should be your own. Occasionally, during busy times of the semester, we ask students to schedule only one appointment per week and use our drop in hours for additional assistance on other assignments.

Will the WC help me with non-academic writing like a grad school essay or cover letter?
Yes. Although the main purpose of the WC is to assist students with their academic work, the tutors are available to help with other types of writing. For more information about websites offering help with writing graduate school application essays, resumes, and cover letters see the Useful Links page. 

What if I have a long (10+ pages) paper?
Papers of this length usually need a double session. Sign up for two half-hour sessions back-to-back. The tutor may approach longer papers differently; for example, they may ask you to leave the paper with them or e-mail it to them prior to the appointment so they can pre-read it. Your best bet: give the Center a call first and talk to the tutor about a strategy.