The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison
Individual Writing Instruction
What we can't do

Restrictions and Caveats

As an enrolled UW-Madison student, you are our client. We wish we could work with you on every paper you’ll ever be assigned or choose to undertake, but unfortunately there are some limits on how the Writing Center can serve you. Specifically, we cannot work with you on papers for a handful of University writing courses, which are listed below, or on non-assigned writing tasks that fall outside certain parameters.

The reasons for this limitation are several. First, Writing Center instructors are trained to teach expository writing; in contrast, creative writing course instructors are specifically trained to teach the different types of writing assignments found in that discipline. Second, budgetary constraints do limit the amount of teaching the Writing Center can do each semester. Most university course instructors assign writing but — unlike instructors in Comm-A, ESL, and creative writing courses — cannot dedicate all their class time to improving students’ writing skills. While we wish we could help every student, we have had to make it our first priority to serve students whose classrooms are not primarily focused on the teaching of writing.

We happily work with currently enrolled UW-Madison students on many writing tasks not assigned through their university classes, but in general, we restrict this sort of assistance to brief “career-related” writing, such as resumes, cover letters, application essays, grant and financial aid application letters, etc. If you aren’t sure whether the Writing Center can help you with a particular piece of writing, please call us at 263-1992 and talk to us about it!

Papers assigned in these courses are not eligible for Writing Center tutoring:

  • Communication Arts 100
  • Life Sciences Communication 100
  • Engineering Professional Development 155
  • English 100  (Introduction to Composition)
  • English 110-122  (English as a Second Language)
  • English 201  (Intermediate Composition)
  • English 203-204  (Creative Writing)
  • English 300-307  (Creative Writing)
  • English 315  (Advanced Expository Writing)
  • English 326-328  (English as a Second Language)

If you have a paper assignment in one of these courses, we urge you to seek assistance from your instructor, who is specifically trained to help you. If you were hoping to work with the Writing Center on a paper for one of these courses, please accept our apologies — we wish we could do it all! We really hope you’ll come work with us on papers assigned in your other classes.