Demand for service at Writing Centre

Photo by Shelby Blackley

Photo by Shelby Blackley

Over the last school year, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Writing Centre has seen a dramatic increase in the number of students using their services and the number of scheduled appointments.

According to an annual report written by Writing Centre manager Boba Samuels and writing consultant Jordana Garbati, there was a 16 per cent increase in students using the service and the percentage of appointments rose from 74 per cent to 84 per cent.

Samuels and Garbati explained that one of the main reasons students booked appointments was for grammar issues. Other reasons included thesis statement issues, confusion about assignment requirements, paragraph development, referencing, undergraduate theses and help with the general structure of academic papers.

Most of the appointments made are by first-year students anxious about assignments.

“Almost half of our students are first-year students and then after that it drops off,” Samuels explained.

“People get a little bit comfortable, they get a little familiar with it. Then it comes up again in fourth-year because of things like these high-stake assignments like an undergrad thesis.”

According to the annual report, there was a five per cent increase in the number of student consultations, and Garbati and Samuels concluded that there is “a need for increased resources, particularly for dedicated space and another full-time member.”

Reportedly, part of the reason why appointments rose over the last year was due to promotion surrounding the Writing Centre through speaking to classrooms.

“Because the professor has invited us in, that tells students that the professor supports our work and that’s really important for us,” Samuels said.

Word-of-mouth and social media have also helped promote the Writing Centre. Students following their Twitter page are able to see if appointments have opened up through their updates.

According to Samuels and Garbati, many Writing Centre events are happening this year to help enhance students’ writing abilities and promote awareness.

One event is the Go Go Grammar! workshop series, where students can learn in a small group about grammar and writing in five-week sessions.

The centre is offering two of these grammar sessions prior to fall reading week, which are already at capacity.

There are two more sessions running after reading week, for which waiting lists have been started. Funding from the Student Life Levy has given the centre more opportunities to do more sessions this winter.

The Long Night Against Procrastination event will be happening on Nov. 6 from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. in the 24-Hour Lounge.

Tutoring will be available all night for students who want a space to work on assignments and receive immediate feedback. Over 200 students attended last year’s event and the centre is expecting more this year.

According to Garbati, 15 universities across Canada are offering the same event, including Laurier’s Brantford campus.

The Writing Centre is also offering more workshops where tutors can help with advanced documents that students have no familiarity with.

“For graduate students we offer fall scholarship proposal writing workshops to help them with their applications, so we’re doing that the week of Oct. 6,” said Garbati.

This year, the Writing Centre is focusing on the need to develop programming for English language learners and are currently conducting research on how to address needs of students.

Samuels and Garbati reflected on how their tutors are very committed to both the centre and the events they’ve planned for students.

“They’re very excited about what they do and I think that’s what drives us to keep going,” said Garbati.

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