The IUS Writing Center can help bring your writing to the next level

If you need writing help, the IUS Writing Center is the place to be


Kristen Fallon

While the IUS writing center sits empty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the facility has made the adjustment towards online tutoring.

Kristen Fallon, Staff Reporter

College requires a lot of writing, and for many students writing big papers can be a daunting task. The IU Southeast Writing Center is a free, on-campus resource for students to use who want help improving their writing skills.

Located in Knobview Hall’s room 237, the Writing Center is available to students on-campus and off-campus in various ways including writing manuals and other resources on its website, in-person and online appointment options, and a walk-in Zoom room.

“The Writing Center offers personal writing consultations for all students, faculty, and staff, on any type of writing, and at any stage of the writing process,” Taryn Hall, the full-time academic specialist for the Writing Center, said. “All of our services are free, and while there is a limit of two appointments per day, there are no other limits on how many times a student can come to us to work on their writing.”

The Writing Process

The consultants in the Writing Center are qualified to work with all types of writing in any discipline. Examples of work students have brought to the Writing Center include research papers, personal essays, article analyses, creative poems, speech outlines, PowerPoint presentations, resumes, and internship applications among other resources.

“Every student should use the Center for all assignments that involve any type of writing,” Leigh Ann Meyer, the director of the Writing Center, said. “We give guidance and assistance from the moment an assignment is made through to the submission deadline.”

Writing consultants are able to help students through every stage of the writing process from brainstorming to writing an outline to writing the paper to final edits before submitting the assignment. 

While students can get help at any point in the writing process, it is better for students to bring their papers to the Writing Center well before the deadline.

“Smart students utilize the on-campus resources to assist themselves, while procrastinators may struggle with last-minute issues and concerns, where not enough time is available to do any revising or proofreading,” Meyer said. “Many times, we can help students understand the assignment better to even get them started, which can be a major cause of procrastination.”

Students are always free to reach out to the professors for writing-related questions, but the Writing Center offers a unique environment where students don’t feel the pressure that talking with professors often causes for students.

“Students should come to The Writing Center because it’s a judgment-free space to talk about your writing,” Hall said. “No piece of writing is perfect, and when you’re in the thick of writing, issues can get overlooked. We’re here to help be a second set of eyes.”

Student Consultants

Since all of the writing consultants are fellow students, who have received special training in a course called ENG-W 397: Writing Center Theory & Practice, this helps students feel more comfortable and relaxed in the appointment by talking with a peer, someone who is also a student and understands the pressures of college writing firsthand.

Alex Warner, a senior English major, has been a student consultant in the Writing Center for over a year. She understands the pressures that writing can put on students from personal experience.

“I know how stressful it can be to write an essay at times and it’s my hope to ease that stress a bit,” Warner said. “Remember that we’re students too. We’ve been right where you are once before.”

Warner said she likes being able to help students with their writing, and the Writing Center is a great place to do that.

“I got involved in the fall of 2019 when I enrolled in the Writing Center course; I began consulting in spring 2020,” Warner said. “I stuck around because I enjoy the opportunity to assist students with their essays. The Writing Center is also full of great consultants that make it so much fun to be a part of the team.”

The Writing Center is dedicated to making better writers out of every student that asks for help, and every part of the team works to meet that goal, which Warner said is her favorite thing about the Writing Center.

Quarantine Consultants

While the Writing Center team has been working remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the consultants hope to be back on campus for the Fall 2021 semester.

“As of right now, the hope is to be back on campus full-time, but we do not know if that will be possible, for sure,” Meyer said. “As that time gets closer, a better decision about what that will look like can be made.”

For the 2020-2021 school year, the writing consultants were not allowed to be in the Writing Center because of COVID-19 guidelines, so no in-person appointments could be offered. This fall, face-to-face appointments might be allowed to be held in the Writing Center on campus again.

“We really miss seeing our staff and clients in person, and the plan is to reopen face-to-face [appointments] in August for the Fall 2021 Semester,” Meyer said. “Since we value our place on campus as a ‘safe place’ to study and hang out as well as get writing help, we look forward to seeing all of our friends.”

Before the Fall 2020 semester, the Writing Center did not have a walk-in Zoom room available for students during their operating hours. The Zoom room was a new addition to the list of resources that the Writing Center offers to help students get writing help during the pandemic.

If a student would like to get writing help through Zoom, they can enter the Zoom room using the code 812 941 2498. The Writing Center plans to keep the Zoom room operating for the 2021-2022 school year as one of the ways to get writing help online.

“Luckily, we already had all the infrastructure in place that we needed to go online-only,” Hall said. “Students have had the option to make virtual appointments for a few years now, and while most of our appointments were definitely in-person before COVID, all of our consultants were already trained to be able to work virtually. It made our transition really painless for everyone.”

Appointment Types

In addition to the walk-in Zoom room, the Writing Center offers three different types of appointments to students, including face-to-face, virtual, and e-tutoring.

Face-to-face appointments occur in person in the Writing Center, in Knobview Hall’s room 237. Although appointments are encouraged, a student can also walk in and talk with a consultant. This appointment type works well for students who are frequently on campus and those that do not have a webcam with Internet access at home.

Virtual appointments are asynchronous, web consultation where a student can directly talk with a consultant and discuss their writing from anywhere with Internet access. While this appointment type is similar to a Zoom meeting, it does have some different features like a whiteboard both consultant and student can write on at the same time. The appointment type works well for students who cannot be on campus all the time or those who live far away from campus and is a perfect option to use during a situation such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-tutoring appointments are a form of asynchronous writing help. The student will make an appointment and attach a Word document of their paper to the appointment form. A consultant will then look over the document, make comments on it, and re-upload the document within 24 hours of the appointment for the student to view. This appointment type works well for students who do not have time to sit down for a face-to-face or virtual appointment during the day. E-tutoring allows the student to review comments at any time of the day on their own schedule.

All three types of appointments use Writing Center Online, also known as mywconline, to schedule appointments as well as to conduct virtual and e-tutoring appointments. If a student would like to make an appointment, they can visit to make an account and schedule an appointment. 

Students also have the option to visit the Writing Center’s website at if they do not want to make an appointment to view writing manuals, grammar and punctuation tips, citation guides, sample papers, and other resources for citation styles including MLA, APA, CMS and more.

All of these resources are free, and there is no limit to the number of times a student can use them during their time at IUS.

Writing Tips for Students

When looking at website resources just isn’t enough guidance, students are encouraged to make an appointment at the Writing Center to get help. Many times students are not aware of the benefits of using campus resources or the benefits of asking for help with assignments.

“Always utilize your free resources on campus,” Meyer said. “Students do get nervous about their first visit to the Writing Center; however, once they come in and see the welcome they receive as well as the help, they tend to return over and over again.”

Once a student has overcome that initial wariness about making an appointment, they quickly realize the benefits of discussing their assignment with a consultant. Writing consultants are not there to harm a student’s confidence in their writing or judge their work. 

“We’re not here to mark up a paper with a red pen, to assign a grade to it, or to judge it in any way,” Hall said. “We’re just here to talk and to help students pick up some helpful skills they can use in the future.”

Hall said that all consultants recognize the vulnerability it takes a student to share their writing with someone else. All consultants take this into consideration and take the comfort level of the students they work with very seriously. 

While coming to the Writing Center for the first time can be a strange experience, the benefits of having a consultant view a paper outweigh any uncomfortable feelings a student may have initially.

“Get a second set of eyes,” Hall said. “I can’t tell you how many times I turned in assignments that I thought I had carefully revised as a student and only realized once it was submitted that it had typos or other issues. Your eyes just get tired of reading your own writing. It’s super helpful to find someone to give a document, even one you feel really confident in, a readthrough for issues.”

While the Writing Center does not proofread papers, having a consultant look over parts of a student’s paper and discuss it with them has many benefits. 

“Always get a second look and read your paper out loud,” Warner said. “These steps can help you catch mistakes that the eye may easily miss or skip over otherwise. And don’t be afraid to ask for help, no matter where you are in the writing process.”

Discussing assignments with a writing consultant can help a student better understand assignment expectations, fix content issues and find typos among other errors.

“The benefit of going to the Writing Center is that you get to talk with another person and gather feedback that you may not have received otherwise,” Warner said. “It’s a great way to grow as a writer, whether you already feel comfortable writing or struggle with it.”

There is always room for improvement with anything someone writes, so never be afraid to ask for help. If a student is confused about something, they should not hesitate to ask questions.

Meyer said a frequent problem she sees with student’s writing is that they do not understand the rubric and the expectations of the assignment. There have been numerous times where she has had to tell students to start their papers over because they were not following the rubric.

“Be sure that you understand any assignment and follow the directions,” Meyer said. “Your instructors want you to be successful, so do not hesitate to ask for clarification. Follow directions. That is the biggest hint I can give to anyone. If you need help, ask.”