Brown University Writing Center
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can I make an appointment? Do you accept walk-in appointments?
A: You can make an appointment by following the “Request an Appointment” link on our website. You’ll be asked to log-in with your Brown username and password. From there, you can identify your availability, provide information on the writing assignment for which you’d like support—the length of the paper, the subject and genre of writing—as well as what you’d like to focus on with the Writing Center associate. After you submit a request, you’ll receive an email letting you the status of your appointment. Unfortunately, we do not accept walk-in appointments.
Q: What kinds of writing can I bring to the Writing Center?
A: Our Writing Center associates can work with you on a number of different subjects and genres of writing: short response papers for courses in the humanities, STEM papers, senior theses, even application materials like cover letters, resumes, and CVs. If you are uncertain about whether or not a particular kind of writing is suitable for the Writing Center, please feel free to email us. However, the length of your paper is something to consider when making an appointment. For a paper over 15 pages, consider booking a two-hour appointment. Depending on availability, you may be scheduled for an hour-long appointment, even if it’s a longer paper. In that case, your associate will work with you to identify the most important sections of the paper to focus on during the appointment.
Q: Will I be paired with a Writing Center associate in my discipline? Can I request to work with a particular Writing Center associate?
A: We will always try to pair you with an associate in your discipline. However, pairings depend on availability; we can’t guarantee that you will always meet with an associate in your discipline. Rest assured that all of our associates are trained to work with students across the disciplines and will be able to help you with any kind of writing assignment. You can request to work with a particular associate—to do so, simply indicate whom you would like to work with in the comment box when you make your request and we will do what we can to pair you as soon as possible.
Q: How far in advance should I make my appointment?
A: We recommend that you make an appointment at least five days in advance. It’s best to look ahead, consider the deadline for your assignment, and determine how much time you’ll need accordingly. We will try to get your appointment scheduled as soon as possible. Please note that we are very busy during midterms and finals; during these times, make sure to request an appointment as early as possible, and at least two weeks in advance.
Q: Do I need to bring a printed copy of my paper to my appointment? Can we work on the paper on my computer?
A: We ask that all students bring a printed copy of the paper to their appointment. It’s easier for our associates to work on a physical copy and not on a computer; if needed, the associate may make a photocopy of the paper or print an extra copy.
Q: What if I’m late to my appointment?
A: It’s important to be on time for your appointment. Please plan to arrive at least five minutes prior to your scheduled time. If you’re more than ten minutes late, we’ll need to give your time slot to someone on the waitlist. Do let us know if you’re running late! You can contact us via email or by phone (401-863-3524).
Q: Do I need to have a complete draft of my paper before I make an appointment? What about if I just have an outline?
A: No problem! It’s okay to bring an outline to your appointment. At the Writing Center, we recognize that writing is a process and are prepared to work with your writing at any stage, whether it’s still in brainstorming and outlining stages, or it’s a complete, polished draft. Even if you’re just starting to develop your ideas and write out notes—and especially if you’re experiencing writer’s block—bring what you have and we’ll work from there.
Q: If we finish working on my paper during the appointment, can we work on another paper?
A: Our associates can only work on one writing assignment per appointment. If you’d like to work on another paper, we recommend that you book a second appointment. Remember that you can only book one one-hour appointment in a day, and a maximum of two one-hour appointments a week.
Q: I’ve been waitlisted for an appointment. How long until I receive an appointment?
A: Don’t worry! We will contact you via email or by phone as soon as an appointment becomes available. Make sure to regularly check your email for updates on the status of your appointment.
Q: I thought I could make my appointment, but it turns out I have a scheduling conflict. How do I cancel my appointment?
A: We understand that scheduling conflicts come up. It’s easy to cancel an appointment: just login to the Writing Center appointment app and cancel your appointment or email us. We ask that you notify us of a cancellation at least 24 hours prior to your scheduled appointment.