- Make/Cancel an Appointment
- Submit a Draft Online
- Faculty Resources
The Writing Center’s main office is located on the lower level of the Student and Academic Services Building North (SASB). For more information and for a map, visit the UNC Writing Center Location page.
During the Spring 2017 semester, the Writing Center is open 10-8 Monday, 10-9 Tuesday, 10-8 Wednesday-Thursday, 10-4 Friday, and 4-8 Sunday. Hours vary, so use “Make an Appointment” to see when openings for coaching are available at both of our locations in SASBN and Greenlaw. Summer hours vary; call 962-7710 for information.
Yes. Both of our spaces are accessible by elevator.
Both graduate students and undergraduates serve as writing coaches at the Writing Center. Coaches come from departments across campus and receive extensive training from the Writing Center directors.
Nothing. Writing Center services are free.
The Writing Center offers different services to different groups of writers on campus. To learn more about what is available to you, see “Who can make an appointment?” below. Generally, instructors are pleased when students come to the Writing Center. We abide by the Honor Code of the University; since the sessions focus on giving you feedback on your writing, rather than editing or writing for you, coming to the Writing Center does not raise any Honor Code issues. You must ask your instructor for permission before coming to the Writing Center to work on a take-home essay.
Sort of. If your paper is in a language other than English, we cannot help you with questions about words or sentences, and we cannot read through your paper. Check with your instructor to find out whether there are resources to help you with these kinds of questions. What we can do is talk with you about how you have chosen to organize your paper.
While everyone is welcome to use the Writing Center’s online handouts and demos, our coaching services are available only to current students, faculty, and staff of UNC-Chapel Hill. Do not make an appointment to discuss someone else’s writing or submit someone else’s draft to the Online Writing Coach. If your friend or family member might be interested in working with a Chapel Hill-area writing tutor or editor, please refer him or her to our “Help for Hire” listing.
We welcome all kinds of questions about writing. If yours is a quick one focusing on a particular sentence, word, or punctuation mark, try calling the Grammar Hotline at 962-7710.
We are glad to hear about your interest in joining our team! At this time, the Writing Center does not have any full-time or part-time staff positions available. If you are an experienced teacher or editor with a graduate degree living in the Chapel Hill area, you may submit a request to be listed on our Help for Hire advertising page. Our graduate student writing coaches are teaching assistants; they are hired through a competitive process each spring to work for the following academic year. During periods when we are accepting applications, you’ll see a position announcement on our homepage. Undergraduate students can also serve as writing coaches; they must first enroll in English 402 and then apply to be hired. Undergraduate students who have work-study funding can apply to serve as office assistants. Office assistants answer our phone, greet clients, make photocopies, and help with a variety of other tasks. The Writing Center does not accept volunteers.
All degree-seeking undergraduates at UNC-Chapel Hill may make appointments for individual coaching; so may graduate students, faculty, and postdocs, as availability permits.
Yes. When you make an appointment you have the option of choosing a particular writing coach; you will see the names of coaches who are available. All coaches are trained to help you with any of your writing needs or concerns, regardless of the kind of paper you’re writing or the discipline you’re studying.
You need a valid UNC ONYEN to make an appointment. We cannot make an appointment for you. If you do not have an ONYEN or the system will not accept it, contact Onyen Services at onyen.unc.edu.
At some points in the semester, the Writing Center’s calendar can fill up as much as two weeks in advance. If you cannot find an appointment time that works for you, here are your options:
On the on-site appointment calendar login page, choose “Cancel an Appointment.” After canceling the appointment you no longer want, you can click “Make an Appointment” to look for a new appointment time. You may want to check to be sure another appointment is available before you cancel the one you currently have reserved, as our calendar is sometimes very full.
Although you (and only you) can cancel until right before your scheduled appointment, we prefer that you cancel at least 24 hours in advance so other students have the opportunity to make an appointment. If you absolutely cannot get to a computer to cancel, please call (919)962-7710 to let our staff know that you will not be at your appointment.
You will be entered into the database as a “no-show” for that appointment. If you fail to show up for several appointments, your future appointments may be cancelled, and you will be required to meet with the Writing Center Assistant Director before resuming use of Writing Center services.
At 10 minutes after the hour when your appointment was supposed to start, you will be entered as a no-show and your coach may be reassigned.
Appointments in the Writing Center are 45-minute conversations with a writing coach about your writing. The coach will read through your paper with you, answer your questions, and work with you to strengthen your paper and your skills as a writer. You and the coach may discuss any aspect of your writing project or process.
You can bring any sort of writing to either the online or on-site Writing Center. We give priority to academic work, but we also can provide assistance with application essays, grant proposals, or other writing. If you are working on an honors thesis, master’s thesis, or dissertation, you should plan to schedule multiple on-site visits and focus on parts of the longer project.
Writing Center coaches will discuss your writing assignments with you and share strategies for approaching a topic, organizing a paper, developing your style, or correcting recurring errors. Writing coaches may also direct you to other resources for further assistance. Writing coaches will not edit or proofread a paper or write any part of your paper for you.
That’s generally up to you. If you are an undergraduate who is working on an assignment for a course, as part of our services, the writing coach will ask your permission to send a conference summary email to your instructor. This report describes what you and your coach worked on during your session (e.g. “Maria and I talked about the focus of her paper on the breast cancer scare and how she might reorganize the first and sixth paragraphs to strengthen her argument. We also discussed the difference between passive and active voice.”). Conference summaries let your teachers know that you have taken the initiative to improve as a writer; they do not evaluate you, your assignment, or your instructor in any way. Most instructors are delighted to learn that you have visited the Writing Center. Your teachers see your work here as a sign that you are a productive, conscientious student who knows the value of good writing skills and who has the wisdom to make use of this resource. Note that we always send conference summaries when students bring in portions of their take-home exams (see the next question for more information).
For take-home exams, some instructors specify whether you may or may not bring your work to the Writing Center. If this issue is not explicitly addressed in the prompt, we depend on your sense of whether the instructor has recommended the Writing Center or would condone a visit for take-home exams. Since your instructor will know from the conference summary that you have been here (we always send them for exams), it is your responsibility to make this determination. If you have any questions about whether it is appropriate to get feedback from the Writing Center on take-home exams, ask your instructor before you bring in your draft or submit it online.
Current students, faculty, and staff can submit drafts to the Online Writing Coach. These drafts must be their own work; you cannot submit a paper on behalf of a friend, family member, or student at another school. Doing so would constitute an Honor Code violation. Submissions by undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences that are related to academic courses will receive priority, followed by those from Arts and Sciences graduate students; others may sometimes receive slower responses. During busy times, we may not be able to respond to all submissions before their due dates. You must be affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to use the Online Writing Coach. If you are a non-UNC educator or technology professional and would like to see the forms students fill out when they submit drafts, please contact us.
Yes, but be aware that online sessions do count toward the total number of sessions per day or week that you are eligible to schedule.
No. Writing coaches respond to submissions on a fixed schedule. If you want to work with a particular coach, please set up an on-site appointment.
Not long. Filling out the submission form and attaching your draft will probably take about 15 minutes–maybe fewer than that.
So that our writing coaches may serve as many people as possible, we limit individual services (appointments or Online Writing Coach sessions) for undergraduates to a maximum of one per day or two per week (whichever comes first). Graduate students, faculty, and staff are limited to one individual visit or Online Writing Coach session per week.
To provide time for the writing coach to read your paper and provide a thoughtful response, we limit page length to 10 pages. If you have a lengthy paper, particularly a thesis or dissertation, make an appointment at our on-site Writing Center. You are also welcome to submit troubling excerpts to the Online Writing Coach.
Log into the Online Writing Coach and click on “My Submissions.” You can change your answers in any of the text boxes. If you need to attach a different file, use the Browse function to find the file you want to attach. Select it and click “Open” in the dialog box. The filename should now appear in the “Browse” box on your online submission page, but it will look like your old file is still attached. Hit “Submit,” then go back to “My Submissions” and look at the submission again. You should see that the new file has replaced the old one and that any answers you changed have been updated. Changing your submission is not possible once a coach has claimed it and begun to work on it; if you need to speak with us about a submission at that point, call us at 962-7710.
That depends on how busy we are when you submit your draft. When you submit your paper to the Online Writing Coach, the weather symbol will tell you how full our queue is and give you a sense of when you should expect a response; in most cases, it is likely to take one to three business days. Please note that we are open for only a few hours on the weekend; weekend submissions are not likely to receive a response before Monday. When demand is particularly high, we may not be able to serve you in time for our comments to be useful; this is particularly true if your submission is not course-related.
You will receive notification by email that your paper is ready. Make sure you have entered your email address correctly on the submission form. If you have entered an incorrect email address, you will not be notified that a coach has responded to your submission.
Return to the Online Writing Coach page, click the “On-line Writing Coach” link and enter your Onyen and password, then choose “My Submissions” from the menu that appears. The most recently submitted paper will be at the top of the list.
Sure. Return to the homepage, click the “Online Writing Coach” link and enter your name and password, then choose “My Submissions” to view your personal archive.
Only you and the Writing Center staff. When you first enter the system and complete a profile, you create a corridor of restricted access to our system. That corridor allows you and the staff at the Writing Center to interact and maintains space for us to hold your work for you in the Writing Center. All work with the Writing Center takes place within the guidelines of the University Honor Code.
Like on-site summaries, online summaries are sent to your instructor following a conference. Like on-site summaries, they do not evaluate you, your instructor, or the assignment in any way. They describe your concerns and the writing coach’s suggestions to you regarding the paper. Most instructors are delighted to learn that you have worked with the Writing Center. Your teachers are likely to see your work here as a sign that you are a productive, conscientious student who knows the value of good writing skills and who has the wisdom to make use of this resource. Online summaries are sent to the instructor when the writing coach finishes responding to your paper; they are archived on this site. You can see the conference summary for each submission on the page where you retrieve the coach’s comments.
Give your writing coach as much information as possible. He or she will be relying on your submission form for context. It is particularly important that you let the coach know what your top concerns are; this will help the coach focus his/her attention and comments. Remember, the coach is not your TA. He/she cannot judge what aspect of your paper needs the most work; it is up to you to ask for the kind of feedback you think will be most valuable at this stage in your writing process.
We help individuals improve as writers. To this end, we focus on helping writers to develop skills no matter what their writing context. We help writers to make their own choices about a text rather than “fixing” papers for them. We don’t write on students’ papers; we counsel students about the choices they have as writers.
Students who work with a writing coach often see improvement in their writing and feel better prepared for courses that require written work. Students may visit the Writing Center occasionally with questions about specific assignments or meet regularly with a coach to improve their writing habits. They often visit with concerns about developing arguments, organization, evidence, and sentence-level issues.
A full-time director, an assistant director, three ESL specialists, an administrative manager, and a group of graduate and undergraduate students with special training in teaching writing staff the Writing Center. The writing coaches come from departments across campus and have been selected because they are good teachers. Coaches are trained to respond to writing assignments from across the curriculum. You are welcome to stop in at any time to get acquainted with our staff and services.
The Writing Center offers free, one-on-one help with all aspects of writing at any stage in the writing process. To make an appointment, browse the Writing Center’s online resources, or submit a draft online, please visit writingcenter.unc.edu. The main Writing Center office on the lower level of the Student and Academic Services Building is open for appointments Monday through Thursday from 9:00 AM until 8:00 PM, Friday from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM, and Sunday from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM. There is also a satellite office in 221 Greenlaw Hall. To make the best use of your time, please bring a copy of your assignment with you. The Writing Center will not proofread papers or talk with you about grades. Many students find visits to the Writing Center well worth their time.
When a student visits the Writing Center, his or her coach asks permission to write a brief summary of the conference and emails it to you. These summaries do not evaluate the student; they let you know the issues your student and his or her coach discussed. Most professors are pleased to see that their students have taken the initiative to improve their writing skills.
Yes. The Writing Center directors are happy to meet with you; you are welcome to request a consultation via the “Request Our Services” link under “Faculty Resources.”
No. While we support your efforts to encourage students to examine and improve their writing skills, we cannot support required visits to the Center. This policy derives from both practical and pedagogical reasons outlined below. If you’d like to discuss this policy, contact the directors.
No. While awarding extra points may give students extra incentive to visit, our past experience indicates that most make appointments simply to get the points without intent to improve as writers. Students who make these perfunctory appointments crowd out other students who have actively and independently chosen to get help.
No. Writing Center visits cannot replace course-related activities or requirements. Writing Center work supplements and complements course instruction. We know you are busy, but so are we!
No. Even though you may have the best of intentions, requiring a student to use the Writing Center often backfires. If students are not ready to seek help, they will not be likely to receive it when they get here. Singling a student out may come across as punitive and discourage other students in the class from seeking help from the Writing Center. Promoting the service to the entire class will make it easier to personally encourage individual students when needed. You can strongly recommend that students make an appointment, but we caution against compelling them to visit or involving the Writing Center in a grading issue. If you’d like to discuss ways to encourage a particular student, feel free to contact the directors for options.
No. If you’d like to discuss ways to encourage student visits, feel free to contact the directors for options.
Yes. The following options may provide new avenues for you to direct your students to Writing Center services and help them improve as writers. If you’d like to discuss your particular students, assignments, or your students’ writing issues, feel free to contact the directors.
No. Writing Center staff members will not discuss scores or grades or make evaluative comments about assignments or papers during appointments.
Undergraduate students can have two appointments per week (although they may not schedule two appointments on the same day). Students sometimes elect to come regularly over the course of a semester.
Yes. Graduate students may schedule one appointment per week. Graduate students in the professional schools must schedule their sessions on a same-day basis.
They can schedule regular appointments, and we’d love to work with them on their writing skills and process. Ideally, students working on overall writing improvement or a large writing project should work with a coach once a week.
Yes. Many students do. If we become overwhelmingly busy, we may restrict students to a maximum of two appointments per semester for personal statements.
Yes. Students may make a group appointment if they are working on a group assignment.
Yes. We rely on students to ask their instructors whether or not they may bring take-home exams to the Writing Center. If you do NOT wish your students to receive feedback from a Writing Center coach on a take-home exam, please make that explicit when you distribute the exam.
No. We do not provide editing or proofreading services, and students may not drop off a paper and pick it up later with corrections. We can, however, teach students to edit and proofread their own work more effectively. Don’t expect them to turn in a flawless paper after a visit here; our goal is to help them increase their skills and knowledge, so there’s a limit to the number of different concerns we can discuss in a single session.
Students do not need to have a completed draft before they make or attend an appointment. They do not even need to have started writing. Encourage students to make and keep appointments regardless of how far along they are in the assignment.
The Writing Center is a unit of the Center for Student Success and Academic Counseling. As such, the following populations have priority for ESL services: full-time UNC undergraduate students, graduate students, and Study Abroad exchange students. In addition, if space is available and the service is appropriate, we are happy to welcome postdoctoral scholars, continuing studies (part-time) students, faculty, and academic staff. ESL workshops are also open to visiting scholars. We are not able to offer any services to non-academic staff (including custodial staff), spouses, students at other universities, and members of the general public. The Writing Center’s individual coaching policy can be read here.
*ESL = English as a Second Language; this term covers all non-native speakers of English, both international students and US citizens/residents for whom English is not the (only) first language.
Sorry, no. The Writing Center does not have the resources to serve spouses of UNC students, scholars, faculty, and staff. However, please see the list of other opportunities below.
Sorry, no. The Writing Center serves current students, scholars, and faculty only.
For more information about applying to UNC as an international student/scholar, please contact Undergraduate Admissions, the Graduate School, the Business School’s MBA program, the Study Abroad Office (exchange programs), or the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. For information about visas, contact International Student and Scholar Services.
You can find intensive ESL programs to prepare for graduate study in the U.S. on these websites: The American Association of Intensive English Programs, or University and College Intensive English Programs. There is no full-time, year-round intensive ESL program in the Triangle area of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh). However, there are short-term programs at Durham Technical Community College and North Carolina State University.
The Writing Center offers non-credit ESL mini-courses. There are no undergraduate ESL classes at UNC. There are two ESL classes for graduate students through the English Department. The Graduate School runs the Preparing International Teaching Assistants Program (PITAP), which helps ITAs prepare for their role as classroom or lab instructors by improving their English pronunciation, cross-cultural communication, and teaching skills. (You do not have to be a teaching assistant to enroll. Postdocs and visiting scholars may be able to audit a course.) Please contact your school or department to check whether they have writing classes or courses for international students.
All full-time, degree-seeking students can use on-campus Writing Center coaching. Postdoctoral scholars may be eligible to schedule coaching appointments. Visiting scholars cannot receive individual coaching. For more information, visit our ESL information page, then email the Writing Center if you still have questions. Students and postdocs who are non-native speakers are strongly encouraged to join a writing group for specific help with their language needs.
Nothing. Writing Center services are free.
Most ESL services take place in the Writing Center’s main office on the lower level (basement) of the Student & Academic Services Building (SASB) North).
View the Writing Center in a map.
However, we also offer some services at the Health Sciences Library (map), the FedEx Global Education Center, and in Greenlaw Hall, near Student Stores and Lenoir Cafeteria (map).
Greenlaw is the English Department’s building in the center of campus. Find the Davis (Main) Library, the Student Stores, or the Student Union. They border the area called “The Pit.” Stand in the Pit with your back to the Student Stores, facing Lenoir Cafeteria. Greenlaw is the building in front of you and to your left. (Or ask any student in the Pit for directions!) Room 221 is the Writing Center’s satellite space on the second floor, between the English department offices and classrooms.
If you do not have an ONYEN because you are a temporary scholar or employee, please email us with your name, UNC affiliation, and the workshops you’d like to attend. To get your ONYEN, please visit ONYEN services.
Please read the Writing Groups page for full details. There are sign-up periods at the beginning of every semester. If you are a new participant, you must sign up in person. If you have already been in one of our writing groups, you can just email us. You may contact us if you can’t attend any sign-up sessions to make alternative arrangements.
If you can form your own group of 4-6 students, please contact us at any time, and we will try to facilitate your group.
If you’re asking whether we will go through your draft and mark (and perhaps correct) all of the errors, no, we won’t. We will help you develop the skills you need to be successful at Carolina, including writing, grammar, and proofreading. The Writing Center has a Help for Hire board with people you can pay to edit/proofread your writing.
Yes, please! We want to hear what you need. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions.
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