The Writing Center
Located in Trotter 120, the Writing Center is a place for Swarthmore students to talk about their writing. We welcome writing from any discipline and at any stage of the writing process; we're just as happy to look at your chemistry lab report as your religion essay, and as prepared to work with you on brainstorming an outline or final draft. In Spring 2024, we have WAs who can work with writing in Spanish, French, Chinese and German as well. In addition, we're happy to help you with non-academic writing, such as personal statements, application essays, and grant proposals. The Writing Center has conference appointments available for prewriting, read-ahead, read-aloud conferences or speaking presentations (SPA). Students from Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges are encouraged to use the Writing Center for writing assignments from their Swarthmore courses.
Direct link to our scheduling platform (WCOnline): bit.ly/swatwritingcenter
Use the following links to help you navigate our site:
- To find out who is working and when, see our Schedule
- Check out How to Schedule an Online Appointment (or see the video below)
- Read the Writing Center Policies
For Spring 2024, the Writing Center welcomes students to attend conferences in person or via Zoom. You can find more information on our Moodle page.
What Kinds of Conferences Does the Writing Center Offer?
Pre-writing conferences offer you the space to brainstorm, think aloud, map out a plan or an outline for your document, or just talk through your questions with a Writing Associate (WA). You do not need to upload anything, though if you would like to upload the assignment prompt or an outline you have already created, you can. By the end of a pre-writing conference you can have a plan of action, an outline, some preliminary text to work with, and/or specific questions to take to your professor.
If you would like the WA to read your draft before you meet with them, then this is the meeting type for you. When you schedule your appointment, you can upload a draft (early draft, revised draft, or at any stage). Your WA will then take half an hour to read your document and make some notes before having a conversation with you about it. WAs typically can read no more than 10 pages ahead of time. If your document is longer than 10 pages, let us know where you would like the WA to focus.
In a read-aloud conference, some or all of your text (depending on its length) is read aloud. Often the ear attends differently to a text than the eye does - helping you to hear how your text is (or isn't yet) flowing, drawing attention to repetition, places that trip the reader up, or other aspects of your sentence-level prose. Because of this, a read-aloud can be a good strategy for a revised draft, or when you are polishing a high-stakes writing project like a personal statement or application essay. If you choose to have a read-aloud, you can work on your paper right up to the time of your appointment; you do not need to upload anything - just bring your document with you. If you drop-in to the Writing Center and don't want to wait for your document to be read ahead, we can schedule a read-aloud conference with our next available Writing Associate. The last walk-in will be accepted 30 minutes prior to the end of the Writing Center shift. Writers should understand that WAs may need a few minutes to read your paper before starting your conference, even for a read-aloud conference.
Speaking Associates (SPAs) can help you prepare to give a presentation or lead a class discussion. SPA appointments are typically an hour long. You and your co-presenter(s) can upload any materials you've already prepared, or bring the materials with you. You can practice your presentation with the SPA, and hear their feedback and questions in real time. To schedule a SPA appointment use the "limit to" dropdown menu on WCOnline and choose SPA to see when SPAs are available.
Swarthmore students can schedule an appointment with the Writing Center online, by phone, or simply drop in.
The Writing center opens on February 4, 2024 for the spring 2024 semester. check out our moodle page "writing center" for more info.