Whether you're a student taking your first English course or a senior working on a report for an engineering class, writing matters. At the NMSU 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'll learn about approaches to writing that fit your needs and strengths, and we can assist you with brainstorming and simply understanding a prompt, organizing and structuring your essay, and revising and editing your work.
Before a consultation… Doing a little preparation for your consultation can ensure your time is spent efficiently.
- register for your appointment by visiting our appointment schedule
- schedule your consultation far enough in advance so you can spend time making revisions based on your discussion with the consultant
- include a little information about the assignment you're working on and the issues you'd like to address in your consultation
During a 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 what to prepare for and think about during your consultation:
- bring a print or electronic copy of your paper (an outline, a pre-writer, or a full draft is fine, but even a few ideas about the assignment can also help).
- 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'll 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'd like to address.
After a consultation… Allow yourself plenty of time to make revisions based on the discussion you have with the consultant. Because you're receiving another perspective on your writing, you'll likely find that the feedback you receive will be things you haven't considered. You'll 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.
We've found that successful consultations end with a plan for revision. If you and your consultant didn't 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. You may also want to schedule a visit with your instructor after your consultation to make sure the suggestions you receive agree with your instructor's expectations.