Whether you are a freshman taking your first English course, a senior working on a report for an engineering class, or a graduate student working on your dissertation, the NMSU Writing Center can help you. At the Writing Center we work with you to improve a specific piece of writing, but we also strive to help you improve as a writer. You will learn about approaches to writing that fit your needs and strengths, and we can assist you with anything from brainstorming and simply understanding a prompt, to organizing and structuring your essay, to revising and editing your work. We also can provide you with a different perspective on your writing, and we look forward to working with you on your writing and helping you develop as a writer.
Before your consultation:
Doing a little preparation for your consultation can ensure your time is spent efficiently:
- Register for your appointment by visiting our appointment schedule
- Include a little information about the assignment you’re working on and the issues you would like to address in your consultation
- Schedule your consultation far enough in advance so you can spend time making revisions based on your discussion with the consultant
During your consultation:
Coming prepared to your consultation can make the difference between a session where only a little work is accomplished and a session where you make significant progress on your paper. Here are some important tips for making the most of your consultation:
- Bring a print or electronic copy of your work (an outline, a full draft, or even a few ideas written down)
- Bring a prompt for the assignment and anything you feel might be relevant or helpful to the consultant
- Take notes. Regardless of whether you’re working on brainstorming or proofreading, you’ll want to take notes during the discussion. It will help you revise your paper, but you can also refer to those notes when working on future assignments.
During a consultation, your consultant will likely ask you questions about the assignment. Your feedback is crucial and will help direct the conversation to issues you feel are important. Remember, this is your consultation. Your consultant will have ideas about your paper and how you might approach the assignment, but ultimately the paper is yours and so is the time spent discussing your writing. Feel free to let the consultant know what specifically you would like to address.
After your consultation:
We have found that successful consultations end with a plan for revision. If you and your consultant did not have time to think about and write such a plan spend some time writing a brief list of things you need to do before you submit your paper. It can make the assignment a little less daunting if you can identify the smaller steps along the way and plan your time. Then, allow yourself plenty of time to make revisions based on the discussion you have with the consultant. Because you are receiving another perspective on your writing, you will likely find that the feedback you receive will be things you have not considered. You will need time to think about how you may (or may not) use that feedback in your writing and then plenty of time to make your revisions.
Remember, the NMSU Writing Center is staffed by English graduate students, and we possess different writing, teaching, and scholarly backgrounds. While our consultants have diverse writing and academic backgrounds, the consultants you work with may not have familiarity in your specific discipline. Your instructor or adviser may be the most important person to speak to about writing conventions in your discipline. You may also want to schedule a visit with your instructor or adviser after your consultation to make sure the suggestions you receive agree with your his or her expectations.