The Writing Center

Writing Center ConferenceEvery writer needs a reader, and the Writing Center has a reader for every writer! Trained to respond to assignments in any discipline, Writing Center Fellows offer free, one-on-one conferences about writing at any stage in the process.

Located in New South, the Writing Center welcomes graduate students, working on:

  • seminar papers
  • research or grant proposals
  • articles
  • dissertations
  • fellowship or job applications
  • oral presentations.

The goal of each conference—whether brainstorming ideas, to developing a thesis, structuring an argument, or revising a draft is to develop strategies that will encourage students to become astute readers and critics of their own work. Although the Writing Center is not an editing or proofreading service, Fellows can help students learn techniques for improving sentences and checking mechanics.

Writing Fellows are there to listen, strategize, suggest, diagnose, and offer advice. Writing Center Fellows serve as sounding boards, careful readers, and helpful critics, and are able to help draw out ideas and possibilities that are implicit in a student's own thinking and writing. Writing Center conferences complement, but do not replace, the relationships students have with their teachers and advisors. All Writing Center appointments are confidential.

Visiting the Writing Center

To meet with a Writing Center Fellow, you can make an appointment in advance or stop by during drop-in hours. Come with whatever you've got—an assignment, ideas, rough notes, or a partial or full draft.

Drop-in hours
Sunday-Thursday evenings, 7-11 p.m. First come, first served when classes are in session. 

Appointments
When classes are in session, appointments are recommended and available during both daytime and evening hours. Conferences are available only by appointment when classes are not in session.

Log on to Make an Appointment

50-Minute Appointments
Open to all undergraduate and graduate students, post-docs, faculty, and staff working on writing of any kind and at any stage in the process. Bring a prompt to brainstorm, a full draft, the beginnings of a cover letter, grant proposal, personal statement, creative piece, or oral presentation!

80-Minute Appointments
Reserved for graduate students, post-docs, and faculty working on research-based writing (typically 20+ pages). Bring ideas for a seminar paper or conference presentation, a full draft of an article, or selections of a dissertation! We can provide long-term help with planning for extended writing projects as well as one-off feedback sessions. (Select the 80-Minute schedule from the drop-down menu at the top of the schedule)

Walk-and-Talk Appointments with Professor Wendy Belcher
Reserved for graduate students, post-docs, and faculty. Comparative Literature Professor, Wendy Laura Belcher, author of Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Writing Success offers walking conferences, based on the Stanford study finding that an individual’s creativity increased by 60 percent when walking. These 45-minute morning walks through the tree streets of Princeton allow you to talk with Prof. Belcher about anything to do with writing in the social sciences or humanities, including dissertations, books, articles, or seminar papers. Bring a friend if you’d like to make it a group walk/talk. The early time of this conference (8:15 am) is intended to set you up for a day of productive writing. (Select the Walk-and-Talk schedule from the drop-down menu at the top of the schedule)

How do I get to the Writing Center?

Conferences take place at the Writing Center in New South.  Enter New South and go up to the second floor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the Writing Center Fellow read my paper before the appointment?

The Writing Center does not accept papers in advance of appointments. We believe that you will become a better reader and reviser of your own work through the experience of articulating your writing concerns at the beginning of the conference. Your Writing Center Fellow can combine an understanding of those concerns with the perspective of a reader coming fresh to your paper, and then use both to help you think about possibilities for revision. Furthermore, the Writing Center is a popular resource for writers of all levels of experience at Princeton. If Fellows read papers in advance, we wouldn't be able to serve as many people.

How should I prepare for a Writing Center conference?

Please bring your assignment prompt and two hard copies of the notes, outline, or draft you would like to work on. It is also extremely helpful to bring any feedback you’ve received on this project from your instructor or advisor, and any key sources that you’re working with. These materials can help a Writing Center Fellow contextualize your project, and may serve as useful references during the conference.

The best beginning to a conference is when you, the writer, have reflected on what kind of help you would like. Be sure to read your draft closely before you arrive, and perhaps jot down some notes indicating what you would like to focus on.

What should I expect when I come in for a writing conference?

The Writing Center Fellow will ask what you would like to work on during the session. He or she will also ask to see the assignment and to hear about or read any comments you have received on your writing from your professor or preceptor. You and the Fellow will then spend 5-15 minutes together reading the parts of the draft that you have both agreed to focus on.

The Writing Center Fellow will discuss your writing with you, which will frequently involve asking you more questions about your ideas and getting you to talk through problems arising in the draft. If you haven't yet written anything, the Fellow will help you brainstorm and organize ideas. You can expect to take copious notes. You will spend the last part of the session developing a plan for further writing and revision.

If you plan to consult a Writing Center Fellow about a take-home exam, you must bring written permission from your instructor to the conference.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about our Scheduling System

How do I create or update my profile?

Graphic illustrating the location of the Update Profile & Email Options menu

Update Profile & Email Options.

Graphic illustrating the location of the Update Profile & Email Options menu in the text-only and mobile interface

Your profile (text-only and mobile).

You'll be prompted to set up your profile the first time you log on to the system. This information helps us to better serve you and contact you if we have any questions prior to your appointment. You will be prompted periodically to verify that the information in your profile is up to date.

You may update your profile at any time by going to the Welcome menu, then select Update Profile & Email Options. If you're using the text-only & mobile interface, use the your profile link in the text at the top of the page. You can also manage your email preferences and register for text message notifications from your profile.

How do I book an appointment?
  1. Graphic illustrating the location of the schedule selection.

    The schedule selection menu.

    Log on to our scheduling system.
     
  2. By default, the 50-minute Conference schedule is displayed. Browse the Schedule menu to select from other appointment types.
     
  3. Graphic illustrating the location of the date navigation buttons.

    The date navigation buttons.

    Browse to the day you're interested in booking an appointment on using the Previous Day or Next Day links, or go directly to a specific date using the Calendar icon.
     
  4. Available appointments are indicated by the white boxes on the schedule. Click on the box corresponding to your desired time to book your appointment.
     
  5. Graphic illustrating open appointment slots.

    Available appointment slots.

    Be sure to tell us about the assignment you're working on, then click Create Appointment to book your appointment.
     
  6. Your appointment will be confirmed by email shortly after booking. Be sure to make a note of your appointment in your personal calendar!
How do I book an appointment using the text-only and mobile interface?
  1. Log on to our scheduling system.
     
  2. By default, the 50-minute Conference schedule will be selected. Browse the Schedule menu to select from other appointment types.
     
  3. You may use the pop-up calendar to select a Day or type a properly formatted date in the Day text box, such as June 30, 2019. Tap the List Available Appointments button or hit enter to view available appointment times for the selected day.
     
  4. Browse the Available Appointments on Selected Day list to find an appointment time that fits your schedule and select it.
     
  5. Be sure to tell us about the assignment you're working on, then tap Create Appointment or hit enter to book your appointment.
     
  6. Your appointment will be confirmed by email shortly after booking. Be sure to make a note of your appointment in your personal calendar!
How do I cancel an appointment?

Graphic illustrating previously scheduled appointments.

Navigating to your scheduled appointments.

  1. Log on to our scheduling system.
     
  2. Go to the Welcome menu, select My Appointments, and  choose the appointment you would like to cancel.
     
  3. Click Cancel Appointment to cancel your appointment.
How do I cancel an appointment using the text-only & mobile interface?
  1. Log on to our scheduling system.
     
  2. Browse the Your Current Appointments menu to choose the appointment you would like to cancel.
     
  3. Tap the Cancel Appointment button.
How do I sign up for the waiting list?
  1. Graphic illustrating the waiting list.

    Accessing the waiting list.

    Log on to our scheduling system.
     
  2. By default, the 50-minute Conference schedule is displayed. Click on the schedule drop-down list to select from other appointment types.
     
  3. Browse to the day you're interested in booking an appointment on using the Previous Day or Next Day links, or go directly to a specific date using the Calendar icon.
     
  4. Click the Waiting List link at the bottom of the schedule grid.
     
  5. Click Join Waiting List to be notified of any openings for that day. You may also limit the notification based on your desired appointment time.

If an appointment becomes available, you'll be alerted by email or text message depending on your notification preferences. Appointments that open are available on a first come, first served basis, so be sure to act quickly to book your appointment.

How do I sign-up for the waiting list using the text-only & mobile interface?
  1. Log on to our scheduling system.
     
  2. By default, the 50-minute Conference schedule will be selected. Browse the Schedule menu to select from other appointment types.
     
  3. You may use the pop-up calendar to select a Day or type a properly formatted date in the Day text box, such as June 30, 2019. Tap the List Available Appointments button or hit enter.
     
  4. Tap the Access the waiting list link, then Join Waiting List to be notified of any openings for that day. You may also limit the notification based on your desired appointment time.

If an appointment becomes available, you'll be alerted by email or text message depending on your notification preferences. Appointments that open are available on a first come, first served basis, so be sure to act quickly to book your appointment.

How can I register for text message notifications?

Graphic illustrating the location of the Text Messaging Preferences.

Illustration of Text Messaging Preferences.

You may register to receive text message notifications for appointment confirmations, reminders, and wait list vacancies in your profile.
  1. Log on to our scheduling system.
     
  2. Go to the Welcome menu, then select Update Profile & Email Options.
    If you're using the text-only & mobile interface, use the your profile link.
     
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the profile screen, then enter your Mobile Number and select your Mobile Carrier.
     
  4. Save Changes before leaving your profile.

 

How can I unsubscribe from text message notifications?

Graphic illustrating the location of the Text Messaging Preferences.

Illustration of Text Messaging Preferences.

You may unsubscribe from text message notifications in your profile.
  1. Log on to our scheduling system.
     
  2. Go to the Welcome menu, then select Update Profile & Email Options.
    If you're using the text-only & mobile interface, use the your profile link.
     
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the profile screen, then delete your Mobile Number.
     
  4. Save Changes before leaving your profile.

Graphic illustrating the location of the Remove your mobile number screen.

Illustration of removing your mobile number.

If you are no longer a Princeton University affiliate, you may unsubscribe from text message notifications here.
  1. Go to Remove your mobile number.
     
  2. Enter your mobile number, select your carrier, then click Remove Mobile Number.

 

Still have questions? Contact the Writing Center at writingc@princeton.edu.