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Howe Writing Center

Jul 1st 2014

“This essay is important and I want it to be really good.”

“I need to write my essay, but I don’t know where to begin.”

“The last few times I’ve written an essay the teacher sent it back with red marks all over it.”

If students have had thoughts like this when faced with writing essays, they are not alone. Many students may be good at writing but not good at organizing their material, or may be unimpressive writers and simply want to get better. Some have had the experience of getting their papers returned to them full of corrections, and feel frustrated at their writing attempts.

Howe Writing Center in Miami has found a way to help these students help themselves. Based in the King Library, these consultants don’t do any editing, something that students coming to the center often expect.

Instead of editing papers, consultants meet with students to discuss their papers and help them develop ideas, help with structure and organization, explain confusions and help clarify their assignments, all with the goal of helping writers feel more comfortable with the writing process.

The consultants are peers, working on the same level and the students seeking their help. They work at trying to help the students become better writers overall, instead of just helping them with one assignment. Not that students, or “writers,” as they are referred to at the center, don’t get immediate benefit dealing with the essay they are tackling at the moment, but they benefit when writing all future assignments as well.

Every consultation lasts for 45 minutes or less, and students leave with an understanding of how they might construct the essay or paper on which they are currently working. They may also get help creating or further defining a thesis, connect the points they want to make back the main idea in the paper, of how to make papers flow better. 

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