You are here: American University Provost Academic Access Writing Center

The Writing Center at American University

The Writing Center is an intellectual home for all American University students. Our consultations are structured to maintain these philosophies as we strive to provide agency and access to all students. Following the National Council of Teachers of English, we believe that “language is powerful, empowering individuals to explore and change themselves and their "worlds." We “stand strongly for the use of fact-based reasoning, writing, and communication to build a better, more ethical, more engaged nation,” and AU. 

Anti-Racism Statement 

The Writing Center at American University acknowledges the racial history upon which the university systems, structures and rules in which we teach and learn were built. We reject discrimination, intolerance and racism in all of their manifestations. We reject bias based on visible and perceived identity and all forms of linguistic supremacy and discrimination. We strive instead to create and maintain a safer and more inclusive space for our community and those with whom we work. We acknowledge that language and identity are intertwined and honor the value and the power of all World Englishes. 

Our Mission 

The Writing Center supports American University’s commitment to promoting academic writing skills and student-centered learning for every student. Our cooperative approach offers skilled peer to peer coaching. We maintain distinguished academic standards for ourselves and as an extension, for all writers who visit us. As active scholars, we are dedicated to inclusive excellence, writing and the teaching of writing, and promoting the development of writers across disciplines, genre conventions, and styles. 

We are committed to: 

  • Helping writers at any point of the writing process, and to become their best academic selves

  • Exemplifying and staying true to our commitment of linguistic excellence and inclusion. We strive to see difference in student writing, instead of error. We believe that seeing difference is the gateway to transcultural understanding and communication. 

  • Actively exemplifying the University’s vision of inclusivity, diversity, equity, and belonging 

Code of Ethics 

  • We will always make tutoring sessions safe and inclusive for all learning and discourse communities. 

  • We will always maintain respect for others and expect the same in return. 

  • We will always respect linguistic differences. This is a space of linguistic celebration, inquiry, and collaboration. 

  • We will always respect cultural and religious differences. 

  • We will always maintain academic integrity, honor, and excellence. 

  • We will always keep tutoring sessions confidential. Records will not be shared without student consent. 

What Happens in a Writing Center Visit?

The Writing Center offers free writing assistance to all American University students. In 45-minute consultations, Writing consultants meet with students to discuss your writing and give feedback as well as give advice on ways to improve. The Writing Center also assists graduate students who may need more consecutive appointments for longer projects.

Writing Consultants will work with you to help:

  • Interpret a writing assignment

  • Create and sharpen a thesis statement

  • Organize ideas and research and develop logical arguments

  • Polish your prose and develop overall skill

  • Identify recurring errors and find strategies for revising

Undergraduate-Level Writing Support includes, but is not limited to:

  • Interpreting assignments & prompts;   
  • Gathering research & synthesizing information;   
  • Understanding & exploring research methods;   
  • Understanding and exploring ideas; and   
  • Analyzing & incorporating terminology.

Graduate-Level Writing Support includes, but is not limited to:

  • Synthesizing research results & data; 
  • Integrating outside sources into research; 
  • Literature reviews & methodology;
  • Abstracts and Citations; and
  • Breaking down capstones or dissertation projects.

Visit the Writing Center

The Writing Center is located on the first floor of the Bender Library. Due to precautions against COVID-19, all appointments are being conducted over the WCOnline platform for the duration of the semester. However, reception staff will be available in the Writing Center starting February 1st to answer any technical questions you may have.

Online Appointments

  1. Go to WCOnline and create an account using your student email. Select “Writing Center” or "Grad Writing Studio" from available schedules and log on.
  2. Select your desired date, time, and tutor in our calendar. Available appointment times appear in white. You can read tutor bios by selecting open appointment sessions next to their names. A new window titled “Create New Appointment” will open. 
  3. Complete the form with your information detailing your assignment and how the tutor can assist you. You can also attach relevant documents (drafts, assignment instructions, etc). Then, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Create Appointment" to schedule your appointment. You will receive email confirmation of your appointment.
  4. To start your online appointment, log back into WCOnline and click on your appointment slot, which will be yellow. Your Client Form will open as a new window titled “View Existing Appointment Form.” In this window, click the green link, “Start or Join Online Consultation.”

Writing Center Scheduling Policy:

  • Appointments must be made at least 1 hour before the start time.

  • Appointments may be cancelled or modified up to 3 hours before the start time. This can be done by opening your client form on WCOnline, scrolling to the bottom of the page, and selecting "Edit Appointment" or "Cancel Appointment."

  • If you are more than 10 minutes late and do not alert us via email, your appointment will be cancelled and you will be marked as a “No-show.” Three no-shows will result in account deactivation.

  • If you have any issues with your account or logging in, please notify us at tutoring@american.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please come to your session prepared with an assignment, the assignment guidelines issued by the instructor, and an idea of how we can help you. This doesn’t necessarily mean needing a draft! This can involve understanding an assignment, developing your thesis, outlining your paper, etc.

Yes! We are happy to work with you on any writing project you have. This includes argumentative essays, research essays, lab reports, application essays, creative writing, segments of capstones and dissertations, etc. However, please note that support for resumes and cover letters is best accessed via the AU Career Center.

Writing Coaches will not simply “check your paper” or correct your errors. Instead, they will teach you how to edit and improve your skills. They can help you recognize technical errors in your prose and can provide resource materials such as handouts regarding sources, grammar, organization, style, etc. to improve your writing.

Yes, your work in the Writing Center is confidential. The only exception is when an instructor sends you to the Writing Center with a referral form and requests a written follow-up on the session.

Note: We do require written permission from your instructor before working on examinations.

Please let us know if English is not your first language when scheduling your appointment. We can help you navigate the demands of U.S. academic expectations and writing style, and help with writing issues specific to English language learners.

To adhere to the Academic Integrity Code, consultants will only help with take-home exams if we have received written consent from your professor. This can be sent to us at tutoring@american.edu under the subject line “Consent to Review Exam.”

Yes, the Writing Center is accessible to all - both physically and virtually. The Writing Center is located on the left-hand side of the first floor of the Bender Library, which is a single level with an accessible entrance as well. Virtually, the Writing Center is accessible to all AU students no matter your location via WCOnline.

Spring 2022 Hours

Online Writing Center hours begin Tuesday, January 18, 2022. 

Monday: 10:00am-9:00pm EST
Tuesday: 10:00am-9:00pm EST
Wednesday: 10:00am-9:00pm EST
Thursday: 10:00am-9:00pm EST
Friday: 10:00am-3:00pm EST
Saturday: 9:00am-12:00pm EST
Sunday: 4:00-9:00pm EST

Graduate Student Writing Support

The Writing Center also assists Graduate Students who may need more consecutive appointments for longer projects. In free, 45-minute consultations, Writing Consultants can meet with you to discuss your writing, give feedback, brainstorm, and give advice on ways to improve your writing.

Please advise that the Writing Consultants are made up of both graduate and undergraduate students. If you would prefer to work with graduate Writing Consultants, refer to the tutor biographies available on WCOnline, and select your tutor accordingly.

Join the Staff!

The Writing Center is only as good as its staff of talented Writing Consultants. We train and support our staff and set up a schedule that is right for them. If you are an AU student with an interest in writing and in helping other people, we have the position for you.

For more information on the application process, click here.

Please note: The Writing Center is not hiring at present. While you are still welcome to submit an application, we may not reach out for interviews until the following semester.

WCOnline Tutorial

WCOnline tutorial for students.