Writing Center Policies

This page is designed to answer common questions about Writing Center policies. If you have any additional questions, please email us.

Scheduling Policies

  • We offer five different types of conferences in the writing center: prewriting, rough draft, revised draft, read-aloud, and SPA (Speaking Associates) conferences. If you would like the WA to read all or part of your paper aloud during your conference (and talk about it with you), you can indicate that on your intake form or let the receptionist know when you walk in.
  • You can have up to three conferences (total, regardless of type) in the writing center in a single week.
  • No more than two of your conferences can focus on the same paper in a single week, and these should not happen on the same day.
  • If you are scheduling more than one appointment, please note that you cannot schedule back-to-back conferences. We want you to have time to process the feedback from your first meeting before heading into your second.
  • In order to give you enough time to revise your paper post-conference, we cannot hold conferences within three hours of a paper's due date. (e.g., If your paper is due at midnight, the appointment must take place before 9 p.m. that day.)
  • If you have scheduled an appointment in advance, your paper should be uploaded by 1:30pm for afternoon appointments and by 6:30pm for evening appointments. (These are the deadlines regardless of the specific time of your appointment.) If we have not received your paper by this time, we will call or email you to learn if you would like to keep your appointment or change it to a pre-writing conference. If we do not hear back from you, we may cancel your appointment.
  • For read-ahead conferences, WAs have 30 minutes to read your paper before meeting with you. Typically, they will not be able to look over more than 10 pages of text (double spaced, 12 pt font) in that time. If your paper is longer than 10 pages, please specify which sections you would like the WA to focus on in your intake form. You can set up a second appointment for the next day (or later) if you would like to have someone read through additional pages.
  • Walk-ins are first-come first-served. If we have a WA available for a read-aloud meeting on-the-spot, we will let you know. If you prefer to have the WA read your document before meeting, we will let you know when our next available conferences are.

Appointment Policies

  • WA conferences are scheduled to last 30 minutes, providing time for conversation as well as review of the WAs' comments. SPA conferences are scheduled to last 1 hour to provide time for presenting and feedback.
  • A WA cannot work on an assignment for a class in which the WA is also enrolled. This helps to avoid any confusion or unintended influencing. 
  • If you are fifteen minutes late (or later) for your conference, you will forfeit your conference for the evening.
  • We will not share written feedback from a WA if you miss your conference or arrive fifteen minutes late (or later). 
  • We are happy to discuss grammar if you have questions about it; we will not, however, proofread your paper. (For instance, we won’t identify and correct all errors. Instead we will talk with you about identifying patterns of error and how to address those patterns.)
  • We can work with you on take-home exams, as long as you have permission from your professor to receive outside help. It is your responsibility to check your professor's policy on this.
  • We do not share our records with professors, so your visit is confidential. If a professor asks for proof that you have been to the writing center, you can show them your document with the WAs' comments, but that is up to you. Any information we take from you is only used in calculating our statistics.

Feedback Policies

  • The feedback form you fill out at the end of your conference is anonymous. Feedback forms are read weekly by the Assistant Director of the Writing Associates Program, and may be (again, anonymously) aggregated to help with training WAs. WAs do not receive their individual feedback forms until the end of the semester, at which time they review a semester’s worth of feedback. We appreciate your responses to the feedback forms, as it helps us to improve the work we do with writers. If ever you have questions or concerns, please reach out to Professor Alba Newmann Holmes, the Assistant Director of the WA program (aholmes@swarthmore.edu).