FAQ about the Simpson Writing Center (SWC)
About the SWC
- What is the SWC?
The Simpson Writing Center (SWC) is a place where writers can talk to peers about their writing. Anyone can meet with a writing consultant to discuss writing issues, and all writers benefit from sharing their writing with a peer.
- Where is the SWC located?
The SWC is located in the back of Dunn Library on the first floor.
- When is the SWC open?
SWC hours are scattered throughout the day on weekdays. For a list of consultants and hours, visit: http://simpson.edu/academics/wac/swc/. For a schedule of available appointments, visit the Check-in desk at the SWC.
- Who works in the SWC?
Writing Consultants are Simpson College students who have been identified as strong writers and who are enrolled in the Writing Consultant course. The consultants all have different personalities and approaches, but they all work well with peers.
- What happens at the SWC?
Writers may visit the SWC as a group with a class, or they may come for individual appointments. Group visits usually include a workshop where the entire class works on a single project. Individual sessions focus on the writing of a single writer.
- How can I get a job in the SWC?
Become a strong writer and apply in the spring. Look here: http://simpson.edu/academics/wac/swc/ for announcements.
- Why should I visit the Simpson Writing Center (SWC)?
Writers who meet with writing consultants have the advantage of an unbiased reader who can identify troublesome areas in the project. Even if you believe your writing is close to perfection, you should visit the writing center. Consultants are trained to help writers at all stages and at all skill levels.
- Should I make an appointment?
Yes, you should make a habit of scheduling your SWC appointments. While there are usually available appointments for walk-ins, this will not always be the case. During high-traffic times (mid-terms, finals, graduation, etc.), writers will need appointments in order to see a consultant.
- Do I have to make an appointment?
During the first 2-3 weeks of the semester, writers might be able to walk-in and find an available writing consultant. Later in the semester, as everyone becomes busier, students who choose not to make appointments may not receive the help they need in a timely manner.
- How do I make an appointment?
Visit the SWC Check-in desk. Look in the white SWC Appointment Book for a convenient appointment and writer you name in the box.
- What does Writing Across the Curriculum mean?
Simpson College subscribes to the belief that a single writing class or a single writing style does not best prepare students for their upper-level courses or for life after college. At Simpson, Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) means that students may take a class with a Written Communication- (WC) designation in any discipline. By learning to adapt their writing for different situations, students become aware that different writing contexts may require different types of writing.
- How is College writing different from High School or AP writing?
Like Biology or Mathematics, college writing builds on prior learning experiences. College writing requires more carefully developed and more complex content, and it takes more time. TIP: Professors expect you to revise your paper for content and edit your work for sentence-level issues. Visit the SWC to learn easy revision and editing techniques.
- Why is my professor requiring me to visit the SWC?
Professors know that student writing improves most during one-to-one conferences or consultations. A required visit to the SWC is really a free opportunity to improve your writing before submitting it for a grade. An appointment only lasts about 20 minutes and it is free help!
- Why doesn’t my professor want me to use the Thesaurus?
Some professors don’t allow students to use a Thesaurus because correctly using a Thesaurus is complicated, and many writers try to take shortcuts. Simply looking a word up in a Thesaurus and selecting another with a similar meaning gets writers in trouble. It is easy to select a word that is similar—but not similar enough. Visit the SWC to learn how to effectively use a Thesaurus.
- Why don’t I catch my own typing errors? I read that paper 10 times!
You can’t catch the errors BECAUSE you have read it 10 times! Don’t be so hard on yourself! By the time you have mapped out, drafted, and revised a writing project, your brain KNOWS what you are trying to say. Visit the SWC for tips on how to trick and slow down your brain so that you can more catch typing errors.
- Why is my professor requiring me to review a peer’s paper?
Peer reviews are great learning tools for 2 important reasons. First, in a structured peer review, students reinforce their own writing skills by helping their fellow writers. Second, research shows that peer readers are just as likely to offer suggestions that lead to positive changes as professors!
- Is there an easy way to learn comma usage?
Yes, there is a very easy way to learn comma usage, and it does NOT require memorizing 8 comma rules! Visit the SWC and ask about “FANBOYS.”
- Can you help me understand the prompt?
Your professor is the very best source for this sort of information, but consultants can help you think through the prompt.
- Can you help me generate ideas?
Yes, your consultant will ask you lots of questions to help you think of ideas about the topic.
- Can you help me lengthen my paper?
Missing details or analysis are the most common reasons that a paper fails to meet the length requirement. Visit the SWC, and your consultant will ask you questions that should help you identify the information that that your paper needs.
- Can you help me with wordiness?
Yes, we have a special proofreading technique for reducing wordiness. Make an appointment to discuss “Revising Prose.”
Resources for Writers
This website began as a weekly podcast. Grammar Girl now has an extensive archive of topics and several published books. Visit Grammar Girl for quick sentence-level writing issues like word choice and punctuation.
This is THE BEST online writing lab in the nation. In fact, this is THE BEST online writing resource. Use the OWL for questions about any stage of writing, formatting, or researching.
In the early 1970s, sugary cereal and toys were not the only interruptions to Saturday morning cartoons. Schoolhouse Rock presented short animated lessons in grammar, mathematics, science, and political science. These 8 throwback videos correspond to the 8 parts of speech and provide accurate information about correct usage, and they are fun.