Doyle Online Writing Lab

Fit Your Needs

How to Make Your Writing Center Session
Fit Your Needs

(Adapted from the Purdue Writing Lab publication "How to Tailor Your Tutorial to Fit Your Needs", © 1995)

Remember that you are in control of your writing center session. After all, it's your paper. You are the reason we are here.

We have listed some suggestions below that may help you to get the most out of your time with us. We look forward to seeing you in the Writing Center at Reed College (ETC 112).


  1. Set your own goals for your writing center session. Think about the kind of help you really want and let your reader know what it is.
  2. Bring a copy of your instructor's writing assignment and any work that you have done so far.
  3. Bring an extra copy of your paper so that you and your reader can do a side-by-side reading.
  4. Do not be afraid to come in even though you may not have written anything yet; bring in your questions. We can work with you on invention strategies, prewriting, outlining, and so on - those things that happen before the so-called "real writing" begins.
  5. Carefully consider your writing assignment. Does what you are writing satisfy the assignment?
  6. Before you come to the Writing Center, you might want to write down some of the questions you have about your assignment or draft-in-progress. This will help you and your reader to focus on what to work on.
  7. Try outlining what you have written thus far; this is called "reverse outlining". It is a good way of seeing and thinking about the organization of your writing.
  8. Bring in previous drafts of your paper that may include peer or instructor feedback. This will provide your tutor with a sense of the process your work has already been through.
  9. Ask the staff of the Writing Center about the free handouts we provide on a wide variety of grammar and writing subjects. Start your own writing reference library!