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MU's writing center offers a variety of resources to help students with term papers

Dec. 01, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Monday, Dec. 2 marks the beginning of "Dead Week" -- the last week before finals - at Marshall University.

During this time there are no tests so that students have time to prepare for finals. Many students do find themselves working on term papers. The Writing Center, located on the second floor of the Drinko Library, features a variety of resources to help students with their term papers, essays and written exams. It is staffed by a mix of English graduate students and undergrad students that can help with all stages of writing from brainstorming, to research, to editing, to citations and editing. The writing center is open for walk-ins from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Online tutoring is available from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

"I teach English composition classes and I think a lot of students struggle because they have trouble understanding the expectations that their professors have for a particular assignment," said Anna Rollins, director of the Writing Center. "Each assignment is different and there's not a single formula for a good paper. A lot of it is dependent on the genre that the teacher is expecting to write in. I think being brave enough to ask the professor to go to the writing center tutors to clarify the assignment's guidelines can be more difficult than one might think.

Students also need to remember that they don't need to get things right the first time. They can have several drafts of the paper and work on different layers of those drafts."

Rollins said students who are preparing for an essay exam would be wise to meet with someone at the Writing Center.

"Familiarizing yourself with the professor's expectations is important," she said. "I would say that you should start early and don't wait until the last minute. Whether or not you try to set a writing center appointment it's always wise to give yourself time to revise your work. If you want to make a writing center appointment our sessions do fill up more at the end of the semester because so many papers are due.

Students can show up with nothing, but shouldn't expect to leave with a completed paper, according to Rollins.

"Our tutors will help with the brainstorming process and make an outline, but you'll either have to schedule another session or go off on your own with the material," Rollins said. "A lot of what we can do depends on how far along with the paper you are. Our students will not hold your hand. They will guide you and give you feedback but you will ultimately be the one writing the paper. We also don't edit the papers for the students. We help students with grammar and try to teach them how to catch their own mistakes."

Students looking to set up a tutoring session with the Writing Center can visit https://marshall.mywconline.com/ or visit the center in person at the Drinko Library. For more information, go online at www.marshall.edu/writingcenter/ or call 304-696-6254.

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