The Writing Center at American University
What happens in a Writing Center visit?
"Students prepare papers, we prepare students."
- You'll meet with another AU student to talk about writing.
- You'll share your draft and get feedback about your writing project.
- You can ask questions and get advice about ways to improve your writing.
In free, 45-minute consultations, we will work with you on issues such as:
- Interpreting a writing assignment
- Generating ideas
- Locating and sharpening a thesis statement
- Organizing ideas and research
- Developing logical arguments
- Polishing your prose
- Finding strategies for revising
- Identifying recurrent errors
Please bring a copy of your assignment and your draft or notes printed out (not on your laptop, please) We're happy to work with you on any writing project you have from argument essays and research to lab reports and application essays. We're right here in the library, so make us part of your research process, too!
We want to work with you, not with your paper (or your laptop!)-therefore, your writing coach won't be simply "checking your paper" or correcting errors. Instead, we'll teach you how to edit and improve your skills. We can help you recognize technical errors in your prose and can provide resource materials-including our own library of handouts-regarding using sources, citations, grammar, organizing, punctuation, and style.
Please let us know if English is not your first language. While we're not language teachers, we are AU students who can help you negotiate the demands of our U.S . academic expectations and who have experience in dealing with writing issues of concern to you.
Yes. The only exception is when an instructor sends you to the Center with a referral form and requests a written follow-up on the session.
Note: We do require written permission from your instructor before working on examinations, however.
Make an Appointment
Types of Appointments
Regular in-person appointments
Drop-in appointments available daily
Online appointments available Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday
Make an appointment by visiting: https://american.mywconline.net/
Appointments are now made only online, giving you complete control of making and canceling your appointments:
- First-time users must register for an account before logging in.
- When logging in, select Writing Center in the drop-down labeled "Choose a Schedule."
- A series of time slots should appear: White slots are available. Blue time slots have been filled. Grey time slots are unavailable.
REMINDER: Plan and schedule appointments in advance of your assignment's due date! We do not honor appointments if your assignment is due on the same day as your appointment.
Writing consultants can visit your class, either for a brief introduction to Center services or a 10-15 minute mini-workshop on basic concerns such as crafting a thesis statement or "writing and citing research."
Writing consultants see many students and their assignments every week, so we're a great source of feedback and advice on students' interpretations of writing assignments. Here's a powerpoint presentation about avoiding misunderstanding and creating effective assignments that we have given to faculty groups on campus: "What We Say, What They Hear: Assignments Lost in Translation"
We ask that you not "assign" a visit to the Center (we aren't designed to handle large numbers at once and students tend to see a required visit as a chore, not an opportunity), but we encourage you to add a note about the Writing Center on your syllabus and even offer a bit of extra credit, if you so choose-please see syllabus insert below.
- American University's Writing Lab
- American University's Academic Support & Access Center
American University Department of Literature
Writing Center Blog
George Mason University's Online Writing Center
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)
- Bowling Green State University Writing Center Handout
- Duke University Writing Studio Handouts
- George Washington University Handouts. Includes a good selection of guides to writing for different disciplines.
- Harvard College Writing Center Handout
- University of Hartford- Dept. of Rhetoric, Language, and Culture Handout
The Writing Center is only as good as its staff of talented Writing Consultants. We train and support our staff and set up a schedule that is right for them. So if you are an AU student with an interest in writing and in helping other people, we have an internship for you!
If you are a rising junior or senior or a grad student here at AU, and you have a solid GPA and good writing skills, the Writing Center offers you 2 hrs. undergraduate or graduate course credit and a chance to try out a teaching interest.
After an initial intensive training period, interns work regularly scheduled hours each week in the Writing Center, meeting one-to-one with AU undergraduates to advise them on their writing projects.
Interns also complete a semester-long research project concerning an academic writing topic of their choice and present the results to Writing Center staff at an end-of-semester gathering.
For more information and an application, stop by the Center in Bender Library, first floor.
Attention incoming master's degree students in CAS:
The Writing Center is accepting applications for their Graduate Writing Fellowship.
Graduate Student Fellows join the Writing Center's group of writing consultants but also are charged with creating outreach, workshops, handouts, and events aimed at the particular writing needs and challenges of students in AU graduate programs.
Inquire by email for more information.