The Writing Center produces quality papers and confident writers

Corbin Caldwell, a senior Spanish major from Vernal, is guiding Alexandra Grange, a senior psychology major from Punta Arenas, Chile, through her essay. The writing center is a free resource that is available on campus to help students with their writing assignments. Photo by Misha Mosiichuk.

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Everyone knows that feeling of anxiety that bubbles up when you are sitting down to write a paper and you have no clue where to begin. You might try to write out a few paragraphs, only to delete them because they do not sound right. If this describes your past experiences with writing papers, maybe it’s time to switch up your writing habits.

The Writing Center, located on the fourth floor of the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons building, provides support for students who need an extra pair of eyes to read over their papers and writing assignments.

Noah Washington, a junior communication studies major from South Jordan, is the coordinator for the center. Washington said the Writing Center is designed to help students identify their own mistakes and learn how to correct them.

Currently, the Writing Center has eight tutors, some of whom specialize in certain formatting styles. Washington said the center has an English as a Second Language tutor, a Modern Language Association tutor, and the center is training and certifying an American Psychological Association tutor. Jennifer Farnsworth, a senior history and social sciences education major from Springtown, Texas, specializes in Chicago-Turabian style.

Farnsworth said, “Chicago style is the formatting style that is specifically used for history. So in a lot of my studies that is the kind of writing I have had to use over and over again.”

Along with specialized tutoring, Farnsworth said students have access to tutorials through the Writing Center that cover subjects including active and passive voice, how to construct thesis statements, sentence fragments and how to create a literature review.

Haylie Jacobson, a junior English education major from Riverton, is training to become an APA tutor. During her time at the center, she has found success through asking students questions aimed at helping them to better articulate what their writing struggles are. Jacobson said asking questions, rather than telling them what they should do, encourages students to develop the skills they need to improve their writing on their own.

Confidence is one of the biggest benefits students can take away from visiting the Writing Center, Washington said. The tutors are trained to provide honest yet helpful feedback to ensure students leave the center knowing more about their writing than when they enter.

Jacobson said she has noticed a similar confidence boost in students who continually utilize the Writing Center. Students will come in complaining about how bad their papers are, but as they continue visiting, Jacobson said she notices an improvement in both their papers and confidence levels.

For students who don’t know where to begin when tackling a paper, Farnsworth suggested taking notes while collecting research for your paper and creating an outline. Outlining keeps your paper organized and allows you to return to sections of the paper you are struggling with once other sections of the paper are complete, Farnsworth said.

“From my experience, just writing notes while you’re doing your research and outlining your paper, whatever kind of paper it is, creates this opportunity to make your paper flow a lot easier,” Farnsworth said.

Outside of resources provided by the Writing Center, Jacobson often directs students to utilize the library’s website. She said the website has citation guides to help students format their reference pages correctly. Farnsworth also points students toward the library’s article database to assist them in finding peer-reviewed articles to include in their papers.

If you are looking for extra writing support or specialized tutoring, the Writing Center takes both walk-ins and scheduled appointments. Washington encourages students to make an appointment so they have a set time to receive help. During finals and midterms, however, the center has an increase in appointments, so walk-ins are not always able to receive help.