Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Writing Center just for “bad” writers?

Definitely not! The Writing Center is for all students at Athens State. We are not here because students can’t write; we are here to help all students with their writing.

The Writing Center helps writers answer questions such as:

  • What is the best way to get started on a writing project?
  • How do I narrow my topic to make it more manageable?
  • How do I determine my thesis?
  • How do I know when my draft is “complete” and ready for submission?
  • How might my perceived audience respond to my text (or essay, paper,etc.)?
  • How much revision is necessary for a given project?
  • How can I identify and correct stylistic errors in my writing?

The Center is designed to assist students with effective written communication through any type of project, whether that is through informative writing, argumentative writing, multimedia writing, or other kinds of research-based writing. Some examples include working with you on a resume for your professional development, listening as you practice a multimedia presentation you have created, or guiding you in drafting a research proposal.

Any project that involves “composing”—the manipulation of words and/or images to make meaning—is fair game. We focus on active, collaborative dialogue with writers about their work. As the writer, you know your goals and what you would like to achieve. As consultants, we provide a “sounding board” for your ideas and feedback on your writing to help you increase your own audience awareness.

Does the Writing Center help graduate students or only undergraduate students?

The Writing Center’s services are open to all Athens State students. While most of our clients are undergraduates, we are working towards getting more graduate students to utilize our services. We have recently begun offering times for a graduate writing specialist to be available for graduate-level tutoring only. Due to Athens State’s graduate programs being all online, we also offer email tutoring to graduate students only. Visit graduate tutoring for more information.

Who works in the Writing Center?

The Writing Center is staffed primarily by Athens State students who are employed to consult with their peers on writing. Think of them as writing “coaches” or “consultants.” Writing Center consultants receive hands-on training in the process of conducting writing sessions and assisting others in the learning process.

We also have dedicated graduate tutoring. Lauren Reynolds, a recent graduate of Athens State, and Dr. Breaux, the Writing Center Director, work together to provide graduate level tutoring.

When is the best time to come to the Writing Center

We recommend planning ahead and coming to the Writing Center early enough to plan and brainstorm before beginning to write; however, of course that is not always possible, so come in when your schedule allows you to. We can help with any step of the writing process from beginning to end.

If you can plan ahead, we have some baseline suggestions. For a standard essay or research paper, try making one to three appointments for each stage of the process: Pre-writing, drafting, revising, and editing. Adjust as you learn about the writing process and learn how we can assist you.

If you are writing a senior project or capstone, aim more towards three or more sessions during each stage.

Will the Writing Center edit my research papers and essays?

The Writing Center will provide editing tips and guidelines while working with you to help you increase your own skills at editing. This is important because editing, especially when considering individual sentences, usually involves a few choices and considerations rather than simply fixing “errors.” Some errors are easy to fix (i.e. misspelled words). However, with sentence structure there are always multiple “correct” ways to write a sentence rather than one simple fix. Our goal is to help writers recognize errors and make informed decisions about revising.

Does the Writing Center provide proofreading services?

We do not provide proofread services, but we can still assist you at this stage of your process. We can help you discover recurring errors (like comma splices), organizational issues, formatting problems, and more. Refer to the above question regarding editing for more information.

What if I am comfortable with my content and thesis, but need help with grammar and editing?

This is a common question. The Writing Center’s goals are to help our students become better writers, and because of this, we do our best to help with a wide range of writing worries. Like we said in earlier questions about editing and proofreading, we want to assist you in all stages of your writing. A consultant will usually offer to help with other aspects of your assignment than just grammar and editing, and you can choose to work on those or not.

Is there a charge for visiting the Writing Center?

No. The Writing Center is a free service to all Athens State students.

Can I access the Writing Center online?

Yes. We offer online sessions via webcam, chat, or phone. To schedule an appointment, go to the Online Scheduler. For more information visit Schedule an Appointment and Join Your Appointment.

We also offer email tutoring for graduate students only. Visit the Graduate Tutoring page for instructions for email tutoring.

Will the Writing Center help me ensure that my paper will earn an “A”?

The Writing Center is not involved in determining final grades for courses, nor can consultants give an opinion on what grade they think you might receive.

While the Writing Center can help you improve your own writing—which should result in better grades—Writing Center staff members are not qualified to grade student work or provide the same feedback as your instructor (who they may not even know). Instead, they work actively and collaboratively in your learning process, while reviewing the assignment guidelines and rubric with you.

How do I schedule an appointment with the Writing Center?

Go to the Online Scheduler and either register or log in. Once you are logged into WCOnline, you will see a calendar. The white boxes are available time slots for sessions. Choose a date and time that works for you and complete the session form that pops up after clicking the white time slot. For more information visit Schedule an Appointment and Join Your Appointment.


Is there a limit to the number appointments I can have with the Writing Center?

There is a daily and weekly limit, but not a semester limit. Each student is allowed no more than two appointments per day (availability permitting) and four per week.

These limits exist because you need time in between sessions to work on the assignment and work through suggestions from the consultant. Remember, we are here to help you with your overall writing process, so many suggestions that we provide in one session for a certain assignment, could apply for your work on another assignment.

How long is an appointment with the Writing Center?

Length of appointments usually range anywhere from 10 minutes to 60 minutes, depending on your interests or concerns. Through our online schedule, you may choose a 60-minute or a 30-minute appointment slot. Face-to-face sessions can be scheduled for 30 to 60 minutes, while online sessions must be scheduled for 60 minutes.

For a 30-minute session, expect to go through one or two major issues or a few smaller issues. This amount of time will not allow for an entire paper to be read over and looked at with the consultant, but it does allow for a couple concerns to be discussed and worked through.

For a 60-minute face-to-face or online session, you will work with the consultant regarding your concerns. An hour-long session allows for more issues to be discussed than a 30-minute, but again, do not expect your entire paper to be read through and addressed.

Writing is a process, and the Writing Center encourages multiple appointments for longer assignments. The best thing to do is plan ahead and come see us throughout working on your assignment, not just towards the end.

The Writing Center can be contacted by phone: 256-216-6665 or email: for any questions or concerns. During unstaffed hours, please allow time until the Writing Center re-opens to receive a response to a voicemail or email.