How to Find Help in a College Writing Lab


Writing assignments while at college or university can be a challenging and potentially frustrating process. Luckily, many universities have drop-in writing labs to help students with any query or difficulty they might be facing.

Qualified professionals, including lecturers and professors, staff the writing labs. Alongside the more established members of an institution are trained and experienced students who are writers themselves, also there to help out.

The staff of a college writing lab can help you improve many aspects of an academic paper, including problematic areas such as formatting, citations, and referencing. They can also assist with constructive advice on structure, clarity, idea development, and also methods of revising or editing a paper. For international students whose first language is not English, you can consider writing labs as a “port of call” when working on an assignment or dissertation.

How to Find Help in a College Writing Lab

A writing lab, however, should not be considered an editing or proofreading service. A writer must complete the writing of an academic paper themselves. Writing labs are places to seek advice, support, and useful ideas with regards to developing a stronger writing style. You can schedule appointments on a one-to-one or group basis. If you don’t know your writing lab’s location, check the website or ask the department secretary. Any keen students should also talk to their tutor about this.

In addition to acting as a drop-in center, college writing labs commonly offer courses to students, and sometimes offer academic points for attending them, as is the case with universities. Some highly valuable courses that students can take include foundational writing workshops. They focus on all aspects of academic writing, and also give advice on writing coherently. There are also group discussions, which offers students a chance to receive reviews from their peers. Consequently, this can boost self-confidence and trust in others’ opinions, since interacting with peers often results in sharing valuable ideas.

In summary, a writing lab at either the college or university level is a supportive environment that all students should look into, regardless of their perceived writing abilities.

Originally posted 10/15/2010 and happily updated 10/28/2017. Thanks for reading!

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