Bobcats offered chance to better writing skills through free tutoring
By Mary Kincy
For those who feel writing is less than a strong suit, the Texas State University Writing Center offers a valuable resource: confidential, one-on-one help with any writing tasks — including those not assigned by a class.
Keri Fitzgerald, coordinator, detailed the services offered at the Writing Center, located on the ground floor of Flowers Hall.
“It depends on where they’re at,” she says of the help certified tutors can provide student writers. “We’ll help anybody at any point in the assignment.”
Students who use the Writing Center’s online interface to schedule 25- or 55-minute appointments can meet with a specialized tutor who will offer help with any writing project, from essays and dissertations to résumés and cover letters. Assistance with bibliographies, works cited pages and other documentation tasks is available as well. Most meetings are conducted in Flowers Hall, but a satellite center at the Round Rock Higher Education Center also offers services, and online appointments — in which students schedule a date and time to “meet” with a tutor via a Web-based interface — will return soon.
The help offered runs the gamut from advice about strategies for brainstorming to ways to achieve better clarity. Of course, Writing Center tutors also offer instruction in eliminating mechanical errors and other issues with respect to basics such as grammar and spelling.
What the Writing Center doesn’t offer, Fitzgerald says, is a guaranteed grade, nor does it provide an editing service. Tutors will not proofread a piece of writing for errors, fixing each problem. Instead, they work with students to improve the writer’s skills and to help him or her better learn to apply a critical eye to work independent of others.
“We want to give the students tools to help them become better editors of their own papers,” Fitzgerald explains.
Appointments at the Writing Center, which exists under the direction of Dr. Nancy Wilson and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2009, are free, and are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. Fitzgerald recommends scheduling an appointment a week or so before a writing task must be finished to ensure a convenient time is available.
The idea behind the program is one intrinsic to the college experience, Fitzgerald says — that of learning.
“If students use this resource over and over again, the idea is they really would learn all the tools they need to succeed as writers,” she says.
In addition to its tutoring services, the Writing Center also hosts workshops and weekly review sessions for students majoring in Mass Communication or Health Administration who are required to pass the Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation, or GSP, Exam. Additionally, a revived outreach known as the Writers’ Meetup Group kicked off the year with its first session Sept. 19. Sessions will continue each Monday, 5-7 p.m. in Flowers G09, when graduate student Amanda Meyer will meet with other students looking for networking and collaboration.
To learn more about the Writing Center, or to apply to be a tutor there, visit http://www.writingcenter.txstate.edu.