The Writing Center does not edit, proofread, or revise papers, but we can supply helpful strategies and tips for revising and proofreading a paper. Students can use The Writing Center services at any stage of their writing from brainstorming ideas to reviewing a final draft. However, we are here to help students become better writers, not to write for them. We approach writing in a particular order as listed below.


Using their own drafts, we help students find a focus statement that is appropriate for the writing situation. This is one that is not so general that it cannot be properly explored during the time allotted for the assignment or within the page requirements.

Although seldom the case, we also help students expand a focus that is too narrow for the writing situation, one that would necessitate “padding” the paper through repetition to meet the required length.

We help students identify a split or diffused focus, papers that try to discuss two separate issues.  Further, some papers do not clearly identify a focus. In other words, our goal is a focus that is appropriate, clear, and easily identifiable.


We help students develop a structure for their writing. Since most first drafts are narratives of stream of consciousness, we help students create a logical order for their writing.

We teach strategies for identifying key points in drafts and arranging them in a way that relates to and supports the focus. We then help students learn how to move from one aspect of their writing to the next using transitions.


We help students recognize and identify aspects of their writing that need clarification and expansion. Complex or controversial points frequently need the support of detail, explanation, or definition for the reader to understand what the writer already knows.

On the other hand, we also help students learn to identify aspects of their writing that are overdeveloped or out of balance—writing in which perhaps minor points are explained in too much detail with major points not fully explained.

Style and Mechanics

We help students learn how to format their writing in a style that is appropriate to their field of study, such as APA or MLA, as well as appropriately incorporate outside sources in the text.

We work with students to help them identify their own pattern of usage errors so that they may learn to effectively proofread their drafts and at some point learn to “proof” as they compose. We offer online tutorials to help students become familiar with academic usage.