Main Location Schedule
Telephone hours: 9:30 a.m. - end of business on that day.
Tuesday, Jan. 22 - Friday, Feb. 8: Monday - Thursday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; Friday: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 11 - Friday, May 10: Monday - Thursday: 10:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.; Friday: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Monday, May 13 - Wednesday, May 15 (Finals Week): 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
The main location of the Writing Center is in room 6171 Helen C. White Hall, 600 North Park Street. Here is where much of our individual instruction takes place as well as almost all of our short, non-credit writing workshops. We see students by appointment at this location, and we're often booked up several days in advance, so please plan ahead! We do receive cancellations, though, so please feel free to call to see what's available.
We are directly across the street from the Memorial Union and from Science Hall, on Lake Mendota. Take the stairs or elevators located to the left of the entrance to College Library. Upon reaching the sixth floor, turn left (from the stairs) or right (from the elevator), and then right down the corridor. The Writing Center is the first door on the left.
You can schedule an appointment with a Writing Center instructor by coming to the Writing Center, or by calling us at 263-1992 during our telephone hours. We regret that we cannot make appointments for individual instruction through email or our web site.
PLEASE NOTE: As a UW-Madison student, you may use an hour of Writing Center instruction per week. This hour includes time at our main and satellite locations and time using our email and chat services.
Each Writing Center conference is different, but there are some things you should expect during your conference. Unless it is scheduled for a longer time, your appointment will last approximately half an hour. Your Writing Center instructor will first want to read the specific assignment youve received (be sure to bring it with you). The instructor will then ask you to explain what you most want help with. Guided by what youve asked for help with, your Writing Center instructor will then respond, as a critical reader and as a writing instructor, to what youve written pointing out sections that work well, identifying possible problems, teaching you important principles about writing, and helping you find ways to improve your paper as you revise.
Writing Center instructors are likely to concentrate on large-scale issues first. For example, theyll try to help you make sure that youre responding to the assignment and that youre writing a focused, well-organized, and effectively developed paper before they help you with such concerns as style, grammar, word choice, and punctuation. They follow this order for a good reason: small changes in individual sentences will not improve a paper as much as changes in thesis, focus, and organization will.
Its important for you to know that Writing Center instructors will not edit or proofread your papers for you. Nor will they do your reading or thinking or writing for you. Instead, their goal is to teach you to do these things for yourself so that you can become a better, more confident writer.
I was leery of coming in as I thought I would only get help with structure and not in relation to the argument I was trying to make. But I was totally wrong my instructor . . . was extremely helpful.
From a Masters student in English
Once youve made an appointment for individual writing instruction, you should do some preliminary work on your paper. Read the assignment carefully, ask your course instructor any questions you might have about the assignment, and read (or at least begin reading) any required texts. You might also do some initial research, discuss the assignment with classmates, brainstorm some ideas, or begin an outline.
When you come to your appointment, bring the assignment sheet so that you and your Writing Center instructor have all relevant information at hand. Also, bring along whatever you have prepared or written so far. If you have a partial or a full draft, bring it along (a handwritten draft is fine). Sometimes youll have an outline or some preliminary notes. If you bring along a list of questions that you have about the writing youve done, you and your instructor will be able to focus on precisely the aspects of the paper that you feel are most important.
Even if you are having difficulty putting pen to paper, come to the Writing Center anyway! You can use your appointment to discuss how to get started. The staff can assist you at any point in your writing process the earlier the better. Above all, you should come prepared to think and talk about your writing. Be ready to engage in discussion about your writing, to receive advice about it, and to seek ways to improve it.
I was anxious to come to this appointment because I didnt have much done, but leaving here Im much more comfortable with my topic because [my Writing Center instructor] helped me brainstorm and tie things together.
From a first-year student in English 168
We dont do proofreading or editing. We offer instruction on the writing process, not last-minute grammar checking. Well gladly teach you how to edit your own work, but our emphasis in conferences is usually on helping you respond to an assignment, develop and organize your ideas, and write clearly. Take a look at our instructional materials for help with finding and eliminating common mechanical errors in your writing.
I came to the Writing Center to have my paper proofread. Needless to say, I didnt get that. I did get a lot more educated on how to write more clearly. Im glad [my Writing Center instructor] didnt proofread my paper. I learned a lot more the way he showed me how to correct my paper.
From a junior enrolled in a Therapeutic Science class
While the Writing Center can help you with work for almost any UW-Madison class, as well as with short, expository pieces of writing oriented toward your career (such as your resume, a cover letter, or a graduate school application essay), there are a few writing-oriented classes whose papers cannot be brought to the Writing Center.