|Learning in a Writing Centre: How We Work and How to Work With Us|
The fourteen or so writing centres at U of T provide individual consultations with trained writing instructors, along with group teaching in workshops and courses. There's no charge for any of this instruction—it's part of your academic program. The mandate of writing centres is to help you develop writing skills as you progress through your studies. All the undergraduate colleges have writing centres for their students, and so do most professional faculties and the School of Graduate Studies. Here are some general guidelines on how to take advantage of the specialized instruction available in your writing centre.
Group workshops are usually open to all students: watch for announcements online. For individual instruction, you are entitled to make use of the writing centre in the college where you are registered or the writing centre in your professional or graduate faculty. You may also take work in most college program courses (e.g., the ones prefixed INI, NEW, TRN, UNI, VIC, or WDW) to the writing centre of the college that offers the program. (Note: During the summer, only some of the college centres are open, but students in other colleges can book at any of the open centres.) Students at UTM and UTSC also have their own writing centres. If you're an Engineering student, check out the Engineering Communication Program. If you're in Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, Physical and Health Education, or Social Work, you're eligible to go to the Health Sciences Writing Centre and to ask questions through its website. And now all U of T graduate students have access to individual consultations through the Consulting Centre that is part of the Office of English Language and Writing Support at the School of Graduate Studies. Each writing centre has its own policy on how often you may work with instructors; usually the limit is once a week.
It's wise to book appointments for individual sessions well ahead of time, especially for a session in the last few weeks of term, but occasionally there are last-minute openings. The online booking system keeps a waiting list, then contacts everybody on it when an appointment becomes available. It's up to you to log in and secure the appointment for yourself. Please be sure to keep your appointments, or at least give ample notice if you must cancel one. Writing centres can't afford to let appointments go unused and will remove access for students who miss appointments. For locations and for instructions on how to book appointments, see the file How to make an appointment with a writing instructor.
What We Do
Writing centres are teaching facilities staffed by trained instructors. We give group instruction to help you work out strategies for common writing problems, and we work individually with you, using your course assignments in any subject at any level, to help you develop your capacity to plan, organize, write, and revise academic papers.
What You Can Do to Help Us Help You
A little forethought and lots of followup can help writing instructors and students work together efficiently. Here are some pointers.