Becoming a WA

Becoming a WA

Writing Associates are selected once a year. Students are nominated by professors, current WAs, or peers. Nominated students will receive notification and be asked to apply for the position. Applicants must submit a paper written for a class, do a mock WAing of a student paper, write a cover letter, and submit two letters of recommendation. Interviews are then conducted, and students are informed of final decisions before pre-enrollment for the Fall semester. Selected students will enroll in English 1C [PDF],  a required gateway course for all new WAs.

The WA selection process will begin in January 2015. For students intertested in learning more about applying, please click the links below for details. 

If you have any questions that aren't answered by our FAQ page, please contact the director of the program, Jill Gladstein.

Why Be a Writing Associate?

"I developed a whole set of skills during my time as a WA. First, I developed my interpersonal skills. Each conference tested my ability to make my WAee feel at ease, develop a good rapport, and become engaged. At times, I had to try to remain objective and respect theses that I may not have personally agreed with. Second, I developed my own writing skills. The WA experience is a collaborative one—so the WA, as well as the WAee, has the opportunity to grow as a writer. There are many fantastic writers at Swarthmore, who share many voices, styles, and backgrounds. The opportunity to collaborate with those writers certainly improved my own writing."
—Derrick Wu '04

"I realized through WAing how much I like learning about people different from me. Writing is an awesome way to get at someone's thought processes, and it was fascinating to get a sense of how other people think through reading their writing and then working through it verbally in conference. Discussing writing with someone means getting access to a window towards a pretty deep place in that person, and it's taught me a lot about cultural competency, general thoughtfulness, and how there is no 'right way' to write."
—Ben Oldfield '07

"Aside from the positive impact that WAing had on my own writing, it was nice to feel like I was providing a worthwhile service to the college community. I met a lot of new people over the course of my time as a WA and I felt more a part of the Swarthmore community, which was an important part of my experience as a college student."
—Caroline Grubbs '07

"As a freshman I was somewhat insecure about my writing, but I felt comfortable expressing my concerns to the WAs because they were compassionate individuals who could help ease my apprehensions and offer great advice on how to approach writing papers. I turned in my application to be a WA with the simple hope to become a better writer and help others do the same. I did not expect that the Writing Program would challenge me to think in unconventional ways, constantly ask questions, and gain insight into different topics of interest and importance. The gateway course to becoming a WA, English 1C, helped transform the way I think about my education and allowed me to feel a true sense of academic belonging here at Swarthmore."
—Eva Amessé '11

"Most of all, I've had a great experience working with other students. Sometimes a student will come to the Writing Center stressed about a paper, and after a good conference he or she leaves having a clearer idea of how to move forward with the paper—it's a great feeling to know that I've helped a fellow student gain a better perspective or feel more confident about his or her writing."
—Anne Tucci '10

"Being a WA has exposed me to a range of subjects, from mythology to psychology, far broader than I would be able to learn about in my own courses at Swarthmore. Not only is it refreshing to read about a topic I never knew existed, but understanding how students in other disciplines structure their arguments gives me insights into how to better structure mine."
—Anson Stewart '10