Elevate student writing to the college level

Katie Arnold

John Brown University gives its students so many opportunities to advance themselves in the field of academic study. Tools such as TWC or Student Support Services are not utilized as often as they should be. As an English major who works in the writing center as well as someone who works on growing in writing styles and strategies, it is a tool that the university gives students to develop their learning styles and work on writing and growing in academic study.

Students should utilize the writing center to develop their academic writing and impress professors with critical skills.

As a student, it can be intimidating to come to the writing center. I undderstand this. We tutors may seem to know an intimidating amount of information and not always communicate grammar skills well. Often, a twenty-minute session doesn’t help a student they walk away with only a clarified thesis or topic sentences. This may feel frustrating or discouraging. Students want to know their voices are being heard and often a short time span takes away the learning advantage.

Writing is hard. Finding the right layout for an essay or a theme connected to a literary work is complex. Professors expect a high level of writing in the college atmosphere and the stress of making good grades creates anxiety and a feel of failure when expectations are not met. This is where the writing center comes in.

College level writing is expected at a University and when this expectation is not reached, confusion reigns among professors. Why are students not writing at a college level while at college?

The writing center isn’t just beneficial for students. It is also beneficial for the tutors that work there, such as myself. Each week in the writing center practicum, tutors learn more about helping others and developing their own grammar techniques to better understand the students who come into the writing center. We read articles that teach about how to be a better tutor and write summaries on the articles to show that they grasp the teaching techniques in each article.

In one on one sessions with students, tutors in the writing center work on thesis development, transitions and paragraph organization, grammar and topic sentences, conclusion fluidity and more. Though tutors are there to help edit, the job description is much harder. Tutors are in the writing center to teach students how to write better and to utilize what they learn in the writing center in everyday life. We are there to develop writing skills but also develop the people that come in on late nights.

Students can learn so many writing and editing strategies each time they come to the writing center. As a tutor in the writing center, I see many people who have not learned how to write correctly. The writing center exists to help better your writing, so when a senior comes in with the writing level of a freshman in High School, I become frustrated. This tool has been at JBU for a very long time and students do not make use of it.

The writing center is not just for English assignments as many students may assume. The writing center is created for the purpose of helping students develop writing techniques and styles that help them in all subjects at JBU. The tutors that work there have jobs to help students define their problems or the issues that they need help on, and refine those issues and problems to come up with answers, a solution to the primary struggle.

Students who need help on a paper in math, ESL students who want to learn more about English and grammar and want to write better, or seniors in college who need help proof-reading a resume can come into the writing center for guidance. If John Brown University utilized the writing center the way that it was meant to be utilized, students across campus would be writing better, analyzing works and adding valuable arguments to classroom conversations.