Friday, October 29, 2010

Stop 'write' there and improve your writing

By Meg Beerling
Cardinal Staff

It is halfway through the semester and writing papers is not getting any easier. Setting up an appointment in the Writing Center could help lighten the load.

Director of the Saint Mary's University Writing Center, Dr. Peggy Johnson, says that the Writing Center is the “best kept secret on campus.”

Students will benefit from the Writing Center in a number of ways, said Johnson. They will get feedback about their work, as well as see their work in a different way and from a different perspective.

The Writing Center helps students “become better writers, not just have better writing,” said Johnson. A lot of employers place great emphasis on writing skills and the Writing Center will help students become the best writers they can be, said Johnson.

Johnsons urges students to make an appointment two or three days ahead of time, as appointments tend to fill up fast. “I never have a problem getting an appointment in the Writing Center when I set up my appointment a couple of days in advance,” said SMU junior Kelsey Collins.

Collins has been going to the Writing Center since her first semester of her freshman year, when she was assigned to go for her English Composition class.

“I get better grades on my papers because of the help I receive at the Writing Center,” said Collins.

Collins’ advice to a student apprehensive to make an appointment is to remember that the people in the Writing Center are professionals or aspiring professionals and are there to help you improve your writing.

There are both professional and peer tutors, according to Johnson. This way, if a student is more comfortable getting help from someone closer to their age, they can set up an appointment with a peer tutor. If they want help from an SMU professional, that option is available as well, said Johnson.

The Writing Center has increased staff this year. There are now three SMU professionals and five to six peer workers, said Johnson.

Appointments are half hour sessions and students may sign up for up to an hour of help at a time, said Johnson. However, if students miss two appointments in the Writing Center, their privileges are revoked, said Johnson. This rule was put into effect because in the past, students have been turned away due to limited tutor availability, and it is not fair to those students if someone does not show up at the appointed time, said Johnson.

The Writing Center staff truly helps improve writing skills, said Johnson. “We try to build relationships with students, so they know we care,” she said.

The Writing Center is located in 78 Griffin, in the basement of Saint Mary’s Hall.

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