The Writing Center
We are virtual for Spring 2021 - find us on Moodle!
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. We welcome writing in Spanish and French as well. In addition, we're happy to help you with non-academic writing, such as personal statements, application essays, and grant proposals.
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
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.
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 topmost dropdown menu on WCOnline to switch out of the Writing Center schedule and see when SPAs are available.
asynchronous writing appointment
In an asynchronous writing appointment, you can submit your writing for the WA to review and send back to you without having to schedule a face-to-face conference. There is no conversation between you and the WA, although you can still let them know your main concerns about the paper through the appointment form. Once submitted, the WA will read, comment and return your paper within 24 hours to your email account. Keep in mind this is not a proofreading service; the WA will provide suggestions as a reader, but they will not make "edits" or "corrections" to your work. This could be a good option for you if your camera and microphone don't work well, or if you're working from a different time zone.
You can schedule an appointment with the Writing Center online, by phone, or simply drop in.
The Writing center opens on February 21, 2021 for the spring semester. check out our moodle page "writing center" for more info.