The Right Time to Visit Your College Writing Center


by Amanda Cross

Writing papers in college can be difficult, especially if you don’t have much practice. Luckily, there are a ton of resources out there to help you. Most campuses have writing centers where you can go (for free) to get help on your papers. They can be extraordinarily beneficial in helping you improve your papers and become a stronger writer.

Disclaimer: make sure to visit your campus writing center with enough time to implement the changes the tutor gives you. Don’t go to the writing center 30 minutes before your paper is due and expect to get it “fixed”! The tutors at your campus writing center work hard, but they can’t do magic (or write your paper for you).

Besides helping you structure your paper effectively and write it clearly, here are some reasons to visit your college writing center that you might not know about.

When You Need Help Understanding A Writing Prompt

Not sure where to start? You may want to visit a writing center if your professor’s paper directions are lacking specificity. Before you go, be sure to ask your professor for more insights on the prompt. If that doesn’t help, a fresh set of eyes might help you uncover the mysteries of your professor’s prompt.

When You’re Having Issues Coming Up With Ideas for a Research Paper

Being stuck on a topic is a massive barrier to writing a successful paper. Visit a writing center to talk about potential paper topics with a tutor. They can help you sort through your thoughts, brainstorm, and pick the ideal subject for your paper.

Before You Turn in Your Paper

A few days before your paper is due, make an appointment to visit the writing center. Your writing tutor can look over your paper and help you make any last-minute adjustments, including tightening up the writing, improving the flow of ideas, and writing for the right audience.You can also ask about things like how to do a works cited page or parenthetical citation, how to synthesize and quote content, and how to delve deeper into your paper’s topic.

At the end of your visit, you will likely have a lot of feedback, so make sure to give yourself enough time to incorporate it.

After You Receive Feedback on a Paper

Last but not least, a great time to visit a writing center is after you get your paper back from your professor. It’s tempting to skim feedback once you see your grade, but going through input with a fine tooth comb will help you write a better papers next time. Your writing center tutor can walk through all of the feedback with you and distill it into tips.


You might feel like you aren’t adequately prepared for the type of writing that’s expected of you in college. Thankfully, there are a lot of free or low-cost resources at your fingertips on campus and online. Visiting a writing center takes just a bit of effort, and each time you go, you’ll learn skills you can apply long after your assignment is complete. If you feel you could benefit from more one-on-one writing help, it might be time to consider getting help from a tutor.

To make paper-writing that much easier, try making your citations for free  using Citation Machine!

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