The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison

A Few Things We Can't Do


As an enrolled UW-Madison student, our goal is to help you learn more about writing. We are very glad to work with you on your writing for most UW-Madison classes and professional documents for employment or future study.

We wish we could work with you on every paper you’ll ever be assigned, but unfortunately there are some limits on how the Writing Center can serve you.

Courses Not Eligible for Writing Center Tutoring

We cannot work with you on papers for a handful of university writing courses which are listed below. 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.

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

  • Communication Arts 100
  • Life Sciences Communication 100
  • English as a Second Language 110-118
  • English as a Second Language 343-350
  • English 100 (Introduction to Composition)
  • English 201 (Intermediate Composition)
  • English 207, 307, and 408 (Creative Writing)

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.

Some Writing Unrelated to Coursework

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!

Proofreading and Editing

Writing Center instructors are experienced writing teachers who want to help you learn more about writing. Because of our focus on student learning, we don’t proofread (correct all the grammar and formatting errors in a piece of writing), but we do help you learn about grammar, editing, revising, and proofreading on your own!

Here’s what we can do:

  • You can learn how to revise and proofread your paper.
  • You can ask any grammar and editing questions.
  • And you can learn to do this for yourself!
  • For additional strategies for addressing grammar and style concerns—and much more—take a look at our Writer’s Handbook.

    You may find it helpful to start with these links: