Writing Center: FAQ
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What is the USF Writing Center?

The USF Writing Center exists to supplement and support regular classroom instruction by providing one-on-one interaction with individual writers. 
Our services adopt a process-oriented approach striving to develop better writers, not merely better writing. We aim to equip students with the skills necessary to become effective, independent writers.

More broadly, our goal is to contribute to a culture of writing on the campus of USF.  For this reason, we have sponsored a number of broader opportunities for USF students, including visiting writers, student writing awards, and the publication of student writing. Recently, we have also added the
Connections pages to our web site as another means of encouraging members of the USF community to share their reading and writing.

Who can use the USF Writing Center?

The USF Writing Center serves anyone affiliated with the University of Sioux Falls, be they students, staff, or faculty.  Primarily, we aim to serve students from any course at USF--from LAR to senior seminars to graduate courses.  Established writers who recognize the need for constructive feedback are just as welcome as developing writers seeking to address particular concerns.

Where is the USF Writing Center located?

The USF Writing Center is located in the lower level of Mears Library.  Upon entering the library, take the stairs to the lower level and then walk toward the southeast corner, near the vending machines.  In that corner, you'll find both the USF Writing Center and the USF Math Center.

When is the USF Writing Center open?

The USF Writing Center strives to maintain regular hours that include both afternoons and evenings, so as to make our services available to as many writers as possible.  Because the writing center is staffed by undergraduate peer consultants whose schedules vary from semester to semester, our hours of operation vary slightly by semester as well.  As the hours for a particular semester are determined, they will be publicized via this web site, campus email, and signs posted around campus.

Click here for our current
hours of operation.

Why should I visit the USF Writing Center?

All writers—whether developing or accomplished—benefit from the presence of feedback throughout the entirety of the writing process.  By adopting a process-oriented approach, the USF Writing Center recognizes that individual writers arrive with unique abilities and that individual texts present unique challenges.  Staff members attempt to ask questions and suggest strategies that will allow writers to more fully understand and negotiate their own writing processes.  We can help you think more effectively about any part of your writing process, including the following:
  • generating ideas
  • ascertaining the audience and purpose
  • weighing organizational strategies
  • including appropriate detail and development
  • addressing mechanical, grammatical, or stylistic issues
  • pursuing meaningful revision
  • suggesting strategies for more effective editing and proofreading
  • effectively observing conventions, including documentation of sources

What is a consultation like?

When a writer arrives at the USF Writing Center to meet with a member of the staff, the peer consultant will first want to learn about the writer, the assignment, and the writer’s goals for the session.  The rest of the session is then negotiated by consultant and writer as they discuss various aspects of the paper and strategies for development.


Typically, staff members ask the writer to read the paper aloud or they read through the paper along with the writer.  Consultants won't take the paper and mark errors, but they will ask questions, offer strategies, and provide feedback related to the writer’s concerns.  Through these one-to-one conversations, we hope to assist writers in developing the habits of mind that are most often characteristic of successful writers.

Do I need to make an appointment?

Writers utilizing the services of the USF Writing Center may either make an appointment or drop by on a "first-come, first-served" basis.  While we are usually able to accommodate drop-ins, if a writer wants to ensure that a consultant is available, we suggest her or she make an appointment.  This is particularly true during the certain periods of the semester, such as midterms, finals, and those dates around which LAR papers are due.

How do I make an appointment?

Writers may make appointments for the USF Writing Center online using our
online scheduling feature .  Upon their first use of the online scheduling feature, writers will need to register by providing some profile information, such as their email address, name, and student ID#.  Once registered, students may simply log in to view the USF Writing Center schedule and make an appointment.  This same feature may also be used to double check appointment times, or even to cancel appointment if necessary.

How can I get the most out of my visits?


In order that writers may make the most effective use of the USF Writing Center, we recommend that writers keep in mind the following suggestions.

  • Come in early, rather than waiting until the last minute.  We often work with writers who drop by the day a paper is due, but such an approach severely limits the type of conversation we can have.
  • Arrive at the Writing Center with a specific sense of your own goals for the session.  We can help identify questions and issues that may warrant further attention.  However, the more specific one can be about what he or she wants to address, the more quickly and specifically we can address those issues.

  • Bring the assignment sheet and any work already completed for the project at hand.  The assignment sheet allows us to more accurately understand the demands of the writing task and the audience being addressed.  With previously completed materials on hand, consultants are able to more fully understand where the writer may be in the writing process.