Frequently Asked Questions

Where are you? 

The Writing Center is located in room 110 English-Philosophy Building, down by the Iowa River. We also hold appointments in Phillips Hall, Blank Honors Center, Wild Bill's coffee shop and the Learning Commons. Take a look the schedule or your email to check the location of your appoinment.

Does it cost anything to use the Writing Center?

No! All are services are free! And that's a bargain.

Who can use the Writing Center?

Our services are available to all faculty, staff and students. Not connected to the University of Iowa? You can meet with one of our staff at the Iowa City Public Library any Tuesday between 4 and 6 pm during the spring and fall semesters.

Can I bring you a paper for any course?

Yes. However, there are other centers which provide discipline specific writing feedback. Business papers should be brought to the Frank Business Communication Center. The History Teaching and Writing Center provides help with undergraduate history papers and the College of Education's Writing Resource helps graduate students in education. See our resources page for a full list.

English is not my first language. Can I still use the Writing Center?

Yes! Many of our students are non-native speakers. However, our staff are not ESL trained, so you must have completed all ESL course requirements to be eligible for our services.

The paper I'm writing is not in English. Can you help?

We can help with Spanish writing. Look for the Spanish Writing Only appointments on our schedule. We hope to add more languages in the future.

Can you edit my paper and fix my grammar?

Nope, sorry. Our job is to help you become a better writer. Editing or fixing things for you won't get you there. We'll point out frequent errors and we're happy to explain the grammatical stuff when we can. We'll also connect you to good online resources you can use to learn how to avoid these kinds of mistakes. If you're looking for a professional editor for a manuscript, you'll find a list of people who do this for a fee here.

What should I bring to my appointment?

A hard copy of what you're working on, an assignment sheet or other directions, and your questions.

I haven't started writing yet. Can I still make an appointment?

Sure! We'll brainstorm ideas with you or help you figure out what the assignment is asking you to do. We can also help you look for sources. We also work with reading! Struggling with a tough article or book? Bring it to us and we'll teach you some strategies to use when navigating difficult texts.

I'm writing a creative piece. Can you help?

Absolutely. We love creative writing. Bring it along.

How do I make an appointment?

On our home page, click on the "Make an Appointment" button and then register for an account. Activate your account through the email sent to your uiowa address. Be sure to enter your uiowa address correctly (firstname-lastname@uiowa.edu NOT yourhawkid@uiowa.edu). 

My account is disabled. Why?

If it is a new account, you need to activate it through the email sent to your uiowa address. If you didn't get the email, you may have entered your address incorrectly. If you've used the Writing Center before, your account may be disabled because you missed three or more appointments. Three no-shows and your account will be disabled automatically.

My instructor has offered extra credit for using the Writing Center. Will you sign my paper?

No, sorry. We are too busy to accommodate students who only want appointments for extra credit. Our policy is not to sign papers to prove a student was here. Let your instructor know, or stop by to pick up an explanation of this policy from our front desk.