The Writing Center is for writers at all levels of experience: ESL, freshmen, honors students, and graduate students alike. The Writing Center is not a "remedial center," but a place for all St. John's University students, regardless of experience or ability.
At the Writing Center, we aim to foster healthy writing habits applicable across a variety of disciplines. In order for you to get the most out of your session, we are unable to just “fix” your mistakes or simply “write” your paper. Such “band aid” approaches only encourage you to be dependent on others. Our ultimate goal is to help you become self-reliant in the writing process. Therefore, your Writing Center appointment will be an honest and straightforward conversation about you and how you can improve your writing.
How We Are Different from the Tutoring Center
Tutorial services are usually content-based. If you're having trouble understanding physics or economics, you'd make an appointment at a tutorial center to discuss physics or economics with that person. The emphasis is on getting to know the material better--getting a more solid grasp on the content.
The Writing Center does not emphasize content in the same way. If you have a paper due for your microeconomics course and you want help writing it, you'd come to the Writing Center. The consultant's job is to help you better understand how to write and revise that paper. If you don't know how to start the paper, a visit with a consultant will help you analyze the assignment, begin brainstorming, and come up with possible approaches. If you're halfway through a paper and not sure what to do next, a visit with a consultant might help you rethink the organization, your sense of audience, your claims, the way you've assembled evidence, your use of counter-arguments, how well you've defined your terms--stuff like that. They'll also help you identify recurring errors, and try to explain them with the help of a grammar handbook.
To Sum It Up
Tutorial services will help you understand the material, the content, the subject matter. A writing center helps you with your prose, your organization, your argumentation, your grammar, your mechanics--but to make it work, you really need to visit us long before a paper is due, and probably more than once.