The Writing Desk
College students must be able to express themselves clearly on paper. The Writing Desk can help students in any stage of the writing process. If you need help getting started, are confused about citations, have questions about your thesis, or have specific questions regarding conventions (comma splices, run-ons, sentence fragments, etc.), we can help. The Writing Desk is a free service to students.
What to expect
Our goal is to help students navigate the writing process as smoothly as possible. We are not an editing or proofreading service. While we may notice grammatical or punctuation errors as we read through your paper, we cannot correct your paper for you. We can help you find and notice patterns of error for yourself while focusing on how to form a clear and thoughtful piece of writing.
A writing assistant will read your paper with your specific concerns in mind. The assistant may insert comments into the text of your paper and/or write comments at the beginning of your paper. If we notice repetitive errors (grammar, punctuation, etc.), we will let you know what rule you want to go over and refer you to the proper resources to find that information. We will identify such errors the first few times we see them, but then we ask that you go through the rest of the paper to find and correct them yourself.
Tips for a productive session
- Ask specific questions about your paper.
- Proofread and spell-check your document before sending it in.
- Make sure you have saved a copy of the paper on your computer or on a disk. This way, you can read our comments and apply what you learn to the original document. The document you get back from us will be changed because it will have our comments inserted.
- Send your paper in early. Even if it is not a finished draft, we can usually determine what you should focus on in revision. If you send a paper to us a day or two before it is due, we may not get it back to you in time for you to apply our comments before turning it in.
We receive papers Monday through Thursday and should be able to respond to you 24-48 hours after receiving your paper (if you submit a paper on Thursday, however, you may not hear from us until the following week). If you send a paper in during the weekend, on a holiday, or during a college break, we will not receive it until the next business day. You might experience a longer delay at mid-term and the final two weeks of the term. We are also closed the first week of the term.
We look forward to working with you.