Getting the Most Out of the Writing Centre

I only started using the Writing Centre recently (now that I’m in my fourth year aah). I wish I’d used this resource earlier but I never thought I had the time for writing appointments. This year, especially now that everything's online, I’ve started to rely on the Writing Centre! 

First, what exactly does the Writing Centre offer? The Writing Centre is a U of T resource where students can book (online) appointments which offer one-on-one help for editing assignments. In my experience, it’s not just a way to get someone to edit your paper, but rather, the instructor will discuss the grammatical and structural issues of the work. These appointments offer great advice on academic writing in a low pressure environment, (and are extremely useful when your regular proofreaders aren’t sure about the correct wording either). 

Writing Centre schedule.
This is what booking an appointment looks like.

I’ve heard from a couple people that the Writing Centre was a waste of their time, but I think it really depends on what you’re looking to get out of it. While the main reason I use the Centre is to improve my assignments, I find that it’s really useful to speak with someone about the essay topic who doesn’t have an ‘in-class’ perspective. These days, it’s difficult to even speak with classmates because of the online aspect, so it really is effective to have a conversation with a writing instructor even if it’s just to feel like I’m working in the right direction. 

Some of my tips for a successful appointment: 

  1. Book early, like really early. 
  2. Choose the right writing instructor. I like to read the bios of each instructor before booking my appointment so I can choose who will be best suited for helping me. For instance, if I am submitting a short story to be looked over, then I’ll choose the instructor who’s bio says they write fiction. 
  3. Know what you want help with. Usually grammar and overall structure is what I struggle with, so I tell the instructor that this is what I want corrected. 
Desk with laptop and lamp.

Using the Writing Centre also means I get work done earlier and that I’m thinking more deeply about the assignment. There definitely isn’t enough time to book an appointment for every essay, but when it’s worth a big chunk of my grade I make the time to book an appointment. I’ve become aware of my most frequent grammatical mistakes as well, so I feel like I’m improving my writing skills in the long run.

Here is a link to all the U of T Writing Centres (they are sorted by college)!?

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