Writing Center

Writing Center

The Writing Center has a bright, new home on Durick Library’s main floor. All writers, including students, staff, and faculty, are welcome to use the space for inspiration and focus, or to work with one of our many helpful, trained student writing coaches who are on-site Sun-Thurs, 2-9 p.m.

Perhaps you find yourself struggling to come up with a focus for an essay or how to organize ideas and weave effective language into your writing. Maybe the colon, semi-colon and comma confuse your intentions. Coaches can help to guide you through the challenges.

The Writing Center will be open to walk-in writers by the second week of the semester.

Durick Library, Room #222
Sunday-Thursday, 2-9 p.m.

If you would like to arrange a designated writing coach who will work consistently with you, contact Writing Center Director Allison Cleary to find the right coach to match your needs. Reach Allison at acleary@smcvt.edu or stop by her office in Durick Library 207.

What to Expect

When you work with a coach at the Writing Center, you will start by discussing the assignment, your ideas, and where you are in the process. Then you will get some real writing or revision done right there in the session—it’s not all talk.

  • The coach will use a simple form to guide the process along.
  • If you haven’t started yet, your coach can help you interpret the assignment and generate ideas.
  • If you have a draft of your writing, you may read it together and set priorities for revision.
  • At the end of the session, your coach will give you a copy of the session form with notes about what to do next. You can share this copy with your instructor if you like.

What to bring:

  • Information about the assignment and your instructor’s expectations.
  • Notes, drafts, related readings, instructor’s feedback—anything you’ve done so far.
  • Some ideas about what you want to work on and accomplish during the session. The coach can help you generate ideas and decide on where to focus, but you should also come to the session with ideas.
  • A hard copy of your most recent draft (if you have one), and your laptop. You might use the huddle space monitor to work together with your coach on the electronic version.
  • An open mind and a willingness to participate.

This is your writing and your journey to becoming a superb writer—enjoy it!

Becoming a Coach

Becoming a Coach:

Our student writing coaches have been carefully selected and trained for their positions through a full-semester course in teaching writing. To become a coach in the Writing Center, you will need to take EN 396, “Teaching Writing” in the spring semester. To be selected for that course, follow these steps:

  • Ask an instructor who knows your writing to recommend you to Allison Cleary, Director of the Writing Center acleary@smcvt.edu.
  • Once recommended, you’ll receive a qualifying test and an application form in September or October by email. Complete and submit the test and form, along with a brief writing sample, by the specified date.
  • You’ll be notified of the results in time to register for EN 396 in spring.
  • During the EN 396 course, you will work two hours per week in the Writing Center, which will help you discover if you like coaching and wish to continue as a “core” coach in future semesters.
  • At the exit interview for EN 396, you and the director will discuss whether you should become a core coach. You may earn your work study through the Writing Center but funds are also available to pay students who don’t have work study.

If you have any further questions, or are interested in an MA-TESL coach position, contact Allison Cleary at acleary@smcvt.edu.

Writing Tips

Here are some solutions for the most common writing problems, as addressed by our writing coaches.

For more information, try these links:

Purdue Online Writing Center
A very comprehensive site featuring hundreds of free writing resources, from developing a thesis to MLA citations, and everything in between.

Decoding Proofreading Comments
Gives lists of common proofreading symbols and abbreviations.

Guide to Grammar and Writing
Allows you to search for grammar and writing questions at the sentence level, paragraph level, and entire essay level, as well as providing quizzes and other resources.

Advice on Academic Writing
Gives information about planning and organizing, reading and researching, using sources, specific types of writing, style and editing, grammar and punctuation, ESL and additional resources.

What to Expect

When you work with a coach at the Writing Center, you will start by discussing the assignment, your ideas, and where you are in the process. Then you will get some real writing or revision done right there in the session—it’s not all talk.

  • The coach will use a simple form to guide the process along.
  • If you haven’t started yet, your coach can help you interpret the assignment and generate ideas.
  • If you have a draft of your writing, you may read it together and set priorities for revision.
  • At the end of the session, your coach will give you a copy of the session form with notes about what to do next. You can share this copy with your instructor if you like.

What to bring:

  • Information about the assignment and your instructor’s expectations.
  • Notes, drafts, related readings, instructor’s feedback—anything you’ve done so far.
  • Some ideas about what you want to work on and accomplish during the session. The coach can help you generate ideas and decide on where to focus, but you should also come to the session with ideas.
  • A hard copy of your most recent draft (if you have one), and your laptop. You might use the huddle space monitor to work together with your coach on the electronic version.
  • An open mind and a willingness to participate.

This is your writing and your journey to becoming a superb writer—enjoy it!

Becoming a Coach

Becoming a Coach:

Our student writing coaches have been carefully selected and trained for their positions through a full-semester course in teaching writing. To become a coach in the Writing Center, you will need to take EN 396, “Teaching Writing” in the spring semester. To be selected for that course, follow these steps:

  • Ask an instructor who knows your writing to recommend you to Allison Cleary, Director of the Writing Center acleary@smcvt.edu.
  • Once recommended, you’ll receive a qualifying test and an application form in September or October by email. Complete and submit the test and form, along with a brief writing sample, by the specified date.
  • You’ll be notified of the results in time to register for EN 396 in spring.
  • During the EN 396 course, you will work two hours per week in the Writing Center, which will help you discover if you like coaching and wish to continue as a “core” coach in future semesters.
  • At the exit interview for EN 396, you and the director will discuss whether you should become a core coach. You may earn your work study through the Writing Center but funds are also available to pay students who don’t have work study.

If you have any further questions, or are interested in an MA-TESL coach position, contact Allison Cleary at acleary@smcvt.edu.

Writing Tips

Here are some solutions for the most common writing problems, as addressed by our writing coaches.

For more information, try these links:

Purdue Online Writing Center
A very comprehensive site featuring hundreds of free writing resources, from developing a thesis to MLA citations, and everything in between.

Decoding Proofreading Comments
Gives lists of common proofreading symbols and abbreviations.

Guide to Grammar and Writing
Allows you to search for grammar and writing questions at the sentence level, paragraph level, and entire essay level, as well as providing quizzes and other resources.

Advice on Academic Writing
Gives information about planning and organizing, reading and researching, using sources, specific types of writing, style and editing, grammar and punctuation, ESL and additional resources.