General Questions   ·  Making an Appointment    ·   Preparing for Your Consultation   ·   Online Sessions    ·   For OSU Faculty, Instructors and Administrators    ·                   Jobs at the Writing Center


General Questions



What is the Writing Center at OSU?

The Writing Center provides many free services to the OSU community, including: one-on-one writing consultations, online support through Live Chat and Drop-Off sessions, weekly writing groups, as well as writing retreats and workshops offered throughout each semester. We have three physical locations across campus—Smith Lab, the Satellite Center in Thompson Library, and the Veterans' Writing Lounge. The Writing Center is housed within the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing (CSTW). Find more info on the CSTW here.

Who can use the OSU Writing Center?

We are a free service open to all writers in the OSU community, including but not limited to: students, staff, faculty, visiting scholars, and post-doctoral scholars at OSU. 

Who can use the Veterans' Consulting service?

Any former or current serving members of the United States Armed Forces. ROTC participants and other similar program members are also welcome to use the Veterans' consulting service.

How can the Writing Center help me?

The OSU Writing Center’s consultants are trained to listen to you and to work with you to identify your writing style, a particular assignment’s or project’s expectations, and to give you specific advice or writing tools. You can expect us to be compassionate, understanding, and eagerly committed to figuring out how to talk about your writing in a way that works for you.

See below for specific ways the Writing Center can work with undergraduate students, graduate students/ post docs, and faculty members/ administrators.

I'm an undergraduate student... what can the Writing Center do for me?

Writing can be tricky. The OSU Writing Center’s consultants are trained to listen to you and to work with you to identify your writing style, a particular assignment’s or project’s expectations, and to give you specific advice or writing tools. Our consultants are also University students who deal with the frustrations of the writing process every day. 

I'm a graduate student or a post doctoral scholar... what can the Writing Center do for me?

Writing can be emotionally draining and isolating. The OSU Writing Center’s consultants are trained to listen to you and to work with you to identify your writing style, set achievable goals, and to give you specific writing advice and tools. Our consultants are also University students who deal with the frustrations of the writing process every day. 

I'm an OSU faculty member or administrator... what can the Writing Center do for me?

The OSU Writing Center employs 45 highly trained staff members who are undergraduate and graduate students, specializing in a variety of disciplines in humanities, arts, social sciences, and STEM. In their roles as expert outsiders, our consultants can offer a critical perspective on genre, writing process, organizational structures, argument development and much more. 

See below for more information on getting the Writing Center involved in your classroom!

What are the Writing Center hours this semester?

All sites are open for Autumn Semester 2018 from August 27-December 7. Online consultations are available until December 9. *Note that our hours and opening/closing dates change each semester*

Smith Lab is open for consultations Mon-Fri 9:00 am-5:00 pm. Online consulting hours are Fri-Sun. Thompson Library walk-in hours are offered Mon-Fri 3:00 pm - 7:00 -pm. And Veterans' Writing Consultancy walk-in hours are offered Wednesdays, 6:00pm -8:00 pm in the Smith Labs Veterans' Lounge (1132 Smith Lab) and Thursdays 2:00 - 5:00 in the Writing Center, Smith Labs 4120. For more details, check out our Hours page.

How do I find the Writing Center in Smith Lab?

We recommend using the elevator on the side of Smith Lab that is directly across from the 18th Ave Library. Take the elevator to the 4th floor. When you exit the elevator, the Writing Center is immediately to your right! You can also refer to this handy floor plan!

How do I find the Satellite Writing Center in Thompson?

The Satellite Writing Center is located on the first floor of Thompson Library.

If you are entering Thompson from the Oval: walk straight past the circulation desk, and turn right. 

If you are entering Thompson from Neil Ave: walk up the stairs past the cafe to the fist floor. Turn left at the tables before you hit the circulation desk.

You'll know you have found us when you see the tables we have reserved and our signs!  See this handy map for further information.

How do I find the Satellite Veterans' Writing Center?

Veterans' Walk-in hours are located in the Veterans' Lounge on the first floor of Smith Lab, in room 1132. See this map for further details on finding the Veterans' Lounge. 

Veterans' Walk-in In Hours also occasionally operates out of our regular Writing Center location on the fourth floor of Smith Lab in room 4120. Refer to our hours to see where the Veterans' Satellite center at a particular time.

What kinds of  accommodations can the Writing Center make for students?

Our consultants are prepared to meet the needs of all writers–including writers with physical, developmental, and learning disabilities. Potential accommodations include, but are not limited to: Welcoming service animals; Working with American Sign Language interpreters; Using a variety of media to communicate with you about your writing, and Reduced Distraction Rooms. Visit our Accessibility page for more information on helping us make the appropriate accommodations for you!


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Making an Appointment


How do I make an appointment?

First, register for an account with WCOnlineThen, log into WCOnline, select the appropriate Writing Center Schedule (Smith Lab or Online) and appointment type (in-person, online live chat, online drop-off).

Veterans' and Thompson walk-in schedules are managed by consultants--just show up and sign in with them!

How many appointments can I have a week?

Each week, you may have any combination of the following sessions:

  • ONE face-to-face tutorial at Smith Lab*
  • THREE walk-in tutorials at our satellite center on the first floor of Thompson Library.
  • ONE Live-Chat appointment
  • ONE Drop-Off appointment

*Clients registered with the Office of Disability Services may have two appointments per week (either back-to-back or at different times in the week) at Smith Lab and additional sessions at Thompson.

Do you accept walk-in appointments?

Yes! Swing by for a walk-in appointment at our Satellite Center in Thompson Library. We also offer walk-in Veterans' Writing Consultancy appointments in the Veterans' Lounge. See above for hours. Consultants also take walk-in appointments at Smith Lab in the case of an open session or no show, or when clients are on the waitlist.

How much time should I allot for a consultation?

It depends on the session….!

In-Person sessions at Smith Lab are 45 minutes; Walk-In sessions at Thompson Library are 25 minutes; Online Live Chat Sessions are 45 minutes; Online Drop-Off Sessions are 45 minutes, and you will receive feedback within 24 hours.

Which type of appointment is most appropriate for my needs?

Although we can cover any sort of writing in all of our sessions, some types of appointments may be better suited for you, depending on your needs and the lengh of the writing,  

We recommend scheduling a 45-minute appointment (at Smith Lab or Online) for over 3 pages of writing, or more complex papers and assignments. A 45-minute session also allows us to give you in-depth feedback on a shorter piece of writing, or work on several smaller pieces. 45-minute sessions are also great for brainstorming generating ideas, or if you need more support around constructing an argument or narrative!

As walk-in sessions at Thompson are shorter (only 25 minutes), they are ideal if you'd like to go over shorter pieces of writing, or when you are in the end-stages of revision on a piece of writing. If you bring longer pieces of writing to Thompson, we recommend picking out a few pages you'd like to focus on, as your consultant likely won't have time to cover the whole paper. Walk-in sessions at Thompson are also great for brainstorming and generating ideas!

Can I make an appointment for group projects and papers?

Yes! We offer Team Project sessions for 2-3 people. One person in your team should schedule the appointment via WCOnline. When you schedule, make sure to tell us it is a team project: include the course title, and the name of your project's team members. All team members need to be present for the appointment, as we will not discuss writing if the original author is not present.

Can I make appointments for take-home exams?

That depends on your instructor or department’s policies. Before making an appointment to go over a take-home exam, ask your instructor or department if they will allow you to get outside support or feedback from the Writing Center on your written response and/ or the brainstorming/planning process for the exam. Your Writing Center consultant might ask for proof of your instructor’s permission, such as a syllabus, or an email, etc. Your consultant might also contact your instructor after the session to let him or her know that you came in to talk about a take-home exam, so under no circumstances should you attempt to go behind your instructor’s back! If your instructor doesn’t allow you to get outside feedback on the exam, then we won’t be able to talk about anything relating to the exam in the session (i.e., no brainstorming, or looking or talking about written responses in any way, etc).

How do I cancel my appointment?

You can delete your appointment yourself via WCOnline up to 24 hours in advance. Simply open your appointment on WCOnline, and click "CANCEL THIS APPOINTMENT" at the bottom of the appointment form. Find more detailed instructions on canceling appointments here.

Clients are no longer allowed to cancel an appointment by themselves on the day-of that appointment. To cancel your appointment within 24 hours of the scheduled appointment, call (614-688-5865) or email the Writing Center ASAP. Note that any cancellation with less than 24 hours notice will be marked as a no-show.  

What if I'm late to my appointment?

As a general rule, your consultant will wait 15 minutes for you to show up. After 15 minutes, the session will be marked as a no-show, and may be given to a waiting client.

If you know ahead of time that you will be late for a legitimate reason (for instance, if you are coming from a class across campus), please let us know on the appointment form. If you’re running late on the day of your appointment, you can also call us (614-688-5865) to let your consultant know.

What is the Writing Center’s No Show policy?

If you accumulate three no-shows, you will not be allowed to schedule another appointment for the remainder of the semester and any remaining appointments will be canceled. The following count as a no-show:

  • Missing an appointment at Smith Lab or an Online Live Chat session without canceling that appointment via WCOnline atleast 24 hours in advance
  • Arriving more than 15 minutes late (to an in-person or live-chat session)
  • Not uploading a document to your Drop-Off session by the start time of the appointment

Why am I unable to schedule appointments via WCOnline?

If you are unable to schedule appointments via WCOnline, the most likely reason is that you have accumulated three no-shows this semester. When this happens, your account is automatically locked. Occasionally, the cause will be a technical glitch with WCOnline.

Please contact us (ohiostatewritingcenter@gmail.com) to discuss options for unlocking your account.

How far in advance should I schedule my appointment?

We recommend making an appointment at least a week in advance, as we tend to get very busy, especially around midterms and finals weeks.

All of the appointments are full …. what can I do?

If the schedule on WCOnline is full, you still have a couple options.

Option 1: Swing by for a walk-in appointment at our Satellite Center in Thompson Library. If you are a veteran, we also offer walk-in Veterans' Writing Consultancy appointments in the Veterans' Lounge.

Option 2: Sign up for the Wait List. You will receive a notification if someone cancels an appointment at the day or time you requested.

Can you let my instructor know that I visited the Writing Center?

There are a couple ways you can notify your instructor of your Writing Center visit. After your appointment you will receive a follow-up email from WCOnline with a link to a survey. You can forward this email to your instructor for proof of your visit. Additionally, you can ask your consultant to send you session notes at the end of your session to forward on to your instructor. 

Will I be paired with a Writing Center consultant in my discipline?

Not necessarily. All of the Writing Center consultants undergo the same rigorous training, and are all equally capable of working with any writer at any level.

Can I request to work with a particular Writing Center consultant?

Yes! When you sign up for an appointment via WCOnline, you will be able to select which consultant you’d like to work with. We always encourage you to work with several different consultants to get a variety of feedback.


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Preparing for Your Consultation



How can I prepare for my consultation?

Gather all your relevant materials together ahead of time (see below for what, specifically, you should bring to your appointment). Additionally, think about what you'd like to get out of the session. Come prepared with a few specific questions, or a list of issues you'd like to focus on. If your focus is more general, think about your goals, or next steps. Doing this ahead of time will help your consultant make sure you get the most out of your session.

What should I bring to my consultation?

If you plan on discussing a specific piece of writing, you should bring it to the appointment. Also bring any assignment prompts or instructions that are pertinent to the writing you'd like to discuss. For instance, if you're writing a personal statement for a school application, bring the specific directions for the school you're applying to. Or if you're writing an essay for a class, it is helpful to bring the assignment prompt or rubric, so your consultant will know what your professor is looking for. If you're working on a master's thesis or dissertation, you might not have any supplementary materials. In this case, you can just bring the piece of writing you'd like to discuss. 

Can I have a session if I haven't written my paper yet?

Absolutely! In fact, some of our most rewarding sessions occur when clients haven't yet written their paper. In these sessions, we will work with you on things like generating ideas and  brainstorming.

Do I need to have a complete draft of my paper for my appointment?

Nope! We'll work with you at ANY stage of the writing process, whether you have a full draft, a partial draft, bullet points, an outline, or nothing but a blank sheet of paper!

Do I need to bring a printed copy of my paper to my appointment?

Your paper doesn't have to be printed out (although it can be). You can open your paper on one of our computers, or we can also look at it on your own laptop.

What kinds of writing can I bring to the Writing Center?

You can bring pretty much *any* kind of writing to the Writing Center. This includes school-related writing or assignments, such as essays, response papers, lap reports, dissertations, etc; career-oriented writing such as personal statements, cover letters, resumes, and application essays;  and personal writing, such as creative writing, poetry, stories, poems, rap lyrics, wedding toasts....! Basically, if you wrote it, feel free to bring it to the Writing Center.


If we finish working on my paper during the appointment, can we work on another paper?

Yes! You can use the full 45 minutes of your appointment. If you finish the first paper early, your consultant will ask you if you'd like to work on anything else in the remaining time. If you don't have another paper to work on, you can also use this time to ask questions, or to focus on a specific aspect of writing you need help with. 

Can you estimate my grade on an assignment?

No, we won’t grade or assess your assignment. But we will look at the assignment rubric with you, and work with you to make sure all parts of the assignment are addressed. We will also work with you to address your instructor’s comments

What is the Writing Center's policy on proofreading?

Our consultants won't edit, proofread, or format your writing. In other words, we won't simply correct an assignment or paper for you. That being said, we're happy to work with you on any of these issues. For instance, while we won't correct your grammar, we're happy to talk with you about how to use grammar. We also love working with writers on punctuation, style issues, and citations. We'll provide you with resources to help you develop the skills you need to proofread your own work. We even have a lot of handouts prepared that target these and other common issues writers struggle with! 


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Online Sessions



How do the live-chat sessions work?

Online live-chat sessions are conducted in real-time through WCOnline. You have the choice to use video chat, voice chat, or live chat (typing, without video or voice). The chat window has a shared screen. You can upload a document to the live chat, and you and your consultant will be able to view the document together on the shared screen. This way, you will be able to see any annotations your consultant makes, and vice versa. Live chat sessions are ideal if you cannot be physically present for an appointment (for instance, if you are out of town, or live far from campus).

How do I join a live-chat session?

Before your appointment time, open the appointment on WCOnline. Click the red button that says "Start or join online consultation" to log onto your scheduled session. Your consultant will be waiting for you in the online session. Find more detailed instructions on joining a live-chat session here.

How do drop-off sessions work?

Drop-off sessions are our only sessions that do not take place in real time. You willl upload your document to WCOnline before the appointment start time. See below for instructions on uploading a file. Your consultant will make comments in the document itself (usually line comments in the margins) and will upload the document with their comments to WCOnline within 24 hours (although it may take longer if it is a university holiday). You will receive an email from WCOnline that your comments are ready to be viewed. See below for instructions on viewing your consultant's comments.

How do I upload a file to my drop-off session?

You can either upload your document to the session when you make your appointment via WCOnline, or you can go back later into the online schedule, identify the yellow folder icon at the top left-hand-side, select your appointment, and attach your document. Refer here for more detailed instructions on uploading a file to your session.

How many pages can my document be for a drop-off session?

Submissions should be no longer than 10 pages double spaced, 11 - 12 point font, 1-inch margins. Your consultant will read as much as he or she can in the 45 minute session, but there is no guarantee they will make it through the entire document.

How do I download my consultant’s comments?

Click on your appointment slot in the WCOnline Scheduler. Near the bottom of the window, you will see the column of “Attached Files” where you uploaded your writing when making the drop-off appointment. Within 24 hours after your appointment start time, your consultant will upload his/her comments there. Refer here for more detailed instructions on downloading your consultant's comments.


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How can I get the Writing Center involved with my class?

We encourage instructors in any department to request a classroom visit by a Writing Center consultant. Our consultant will come directly to your class at a time you specify, and will tell your students about the services we offer. Classroom visits take about 15 minutes. Click here to schedule a classroom visit.

We also work with instructurs to arrange/ coordinate workshops, training sessions, or targeted writing sessions for their classes. We also offer brief WC services pitches for departmental meetings, club meetings, and other non-class events, by request. Contact us (ohiostatewritingcenter@gmail.com) if you're interested in arranging one of these additional services.


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Jobs at the Writing Center



 I am a graduate student who wants to work at the Writing Center, what should I do?

The Writing Center typically hires graduate students for year-long contracts beginning in Autumn and ending Spring/Summer. We hire from any discipline, and are actively seeking graduate students from STEM and social science disciplines. Typically, the Writing Center places a call for graduate consultants in February via the cstw.osu.edu website. No prior Writing Center experience is necessary, though it is appreciated, to work at the OSU WC. If selected to work in the Writing Center, there is a 10 hour pre-semester training required for all new graduate consultants, in addition to the 10 hour training the first week of the semester. For further questions contact Dr. Genie Giaimo at Giaimo.13@osu.edu

I am an undergraduate student who wants to work at the Writing Center, what should I do?

There is a required course, CSTW/ENG 3467: Issues and Methods in Tutoring Writing, which is required of all prospective undergraduate Writing Center consultants. Upon successful completion of the tutoring course, students will be invited to interview for a position. Our hiring rate is roughly 90%, though not all 3467 students apply, each term. The course runs in fall and spring semesters and is cross-listed in English and CSTW. It also satisfies a requirement for the Professional Writing Minor.  For further questions contact Dr. Genie Giaimo at Giaimo.13@osu.edu

 I want to do research in the OSU Writing Center—what should I do?

If you are a graduate student and want to conduct research in the Writing Center, you need to contact Dr. Genie Giaimo for permission. Typically, only employees of the CSTW are cleared to conduct research in the Writing Center. Prospective researchers need CITI training and to write an IRB application detailing their research study. Dr. Giaimo will need to be listed as a PI in any IRB study pertaining to the Writing Center. As with any research site, it is imperative that the researcher know the community they are studying. Thus, any prospective researchers are required to work as a consultant in the OSU Writing Center for at least a year before undertaking their research.  


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