Welcome

Welcome to Penn State’s Graduate Writing Center!

The GWC offers one-to-one consultations that are most useful to writers seeking ongoing support or consultations on shorter documents. Our sessions focus on principles of composition and strategies for enabling writers to independently improve their writing rather than “correcting” papers. We also provide several writing workshops each term that are open to the entire graduate student community. The GWC welcomes any graduate student attending the Pennsylvania State University, regardless of geographic location, English fluency, and/or discipline.

 


FAQs

 

What kinds of writing can I work on during a GWC session?

We are prepared to assist you during any stage of the writing process, regardless of genre.  We frequently encounter the following kinds of writing:

  • Thesis/Dissertation Proposals
  • Thesis/Dissertation Chapters
  • Graduate Coursework (e.g. article summaries, journals, and seminar papers)
  • Conference Abstracts
  • Conference Talks
  • Personal Statements
  • Professional Bios for Websites and Conference Programs
  • Social Networking Profile Content
  • Letters of Application and Interest
  • C.V.s
  • Teaching Philosophies
  • Article Manuscripts

We can also help you with critical reading, public speaking, and integrating new media applications with writing objectives.


What happens in a GWC session?

Graduate students are invited to schedule appointments for one-to-one collaborative discussions about any professional or academic writing objective. Our consultants commonly assist writers with theses, dissertations, seminar papers, proposals, personal statements, fellowship applications, CVs, letters of application, among many other genres. Some writers come to the GWC to learn more about grammatical concepts such as connectives (e.g. transitions, prepositions, conjunctions) or to discuss the structural difference between exposition and narration.  Others visit the GWC for assistance with rhetorical principles including argumentation, syntax and paragraph arrangement, word choice, and audience analysis in whatever writing project they are currently undertaking. These collaborative discussions seek both to generate productive feedback about specific projects and to improve students’ writing and critical thinking abilities in general.


Is there any type of writing the GWC won’t do?

We do not specialize in consulting about grant funding applications or book manuscripts.  However, we may be able to help you with some elements of the draft such as unity, coherence, style, and mechanics.


How is tutoring different from editing?

We are not a proofreading or editing service. We do not “mark up” papers.  We will not go through your paper line by line to point out every mistake. However, we will happily explain a grammatical concept, evaluate the range of grammatical functions, and collaboratively discover how to strategically apply our discussion to your writing task. We are here to help you improve your abilities to write and to edit your writing.  We hope to empower you throughout your writing process. If your main concern is to have a grammatically correct paper by a given deadline, please consult our current list of editors/proofreaders for hire.


Who uses GWC services?

The Graduate Writing Center began offering its peer-to-peer services to Penn State graduate students in January 1999.  Decades later, we continue to provide consultations for graduate students representing more than 65 different disciplines. Many of these consultations are held with members of Penn State’s international student community, including Argentine, Chinese, French, German, Indian, Korean, Mexican, Nigerian, Russian, Thai, and Turkish students.


Who are the consultants?

Peer consultants are doctoral students in Penn State’s Department of English at University Park who have experience in the teaching and tutoring of writing. The GWC is coordinated each semester by a doctoral student in English and is supervised by a faculty member in English.


How did the GWC get started?

Founded in January 1999, Penn State’s Graduate Writing Center was one of the first writing centers dedicated to graduate-level communication. A collaboration between the Graduate School and the Department of English in the 1990s laid the groundwork for Dr. Jon Olson to develop the GWC. It is staffed by English PhD students who work in the Graduate School’s Kern Building.

The GWC has provided free one-on-one consultations to graduate students since 1999. As early as 2000, it increased the accessibility of these tutoring sessions by offering online consultations in addition to in-person ones.

Since 2004, GWC staff have assisted faculty in programs ranging from biomedical sciences to international affairs by presenting guest lectures to their students. Since 2005, the GWC has also presented free public workshops on common writing situations facing graduate students, such as publishing research findings and applying for grants and jobs.