The Writing Center offers the following services:

  • One-on-one sessions with trained writing partners are available to all members of the ESU and Emporia community without charge. Our writing partners provide suggestions for improving writing projects at all stages of the writing process, including documentation.

  • Zoom video conferencing sessions with trained writing partners are available to all distance members of the ESU community.

  • Tailored workshops/presentations for faculty. We develop workshops/presentations tailored specifically for course assignments to meet the needs of both faculty and students.

  • Graduate writing services designed to assist graduate students with critical reading, writing, and analytical skills. Graduate students, both on-campus and at distance, can get the support they need for successful writing in a variety of settings, both in and out of the classroom, in graduate school.

  • Writing handouts are available on a variety of writing-related topics. Some are quick reviews for punctuation and common grammar errors.

We do more than grammar!

Main Idea/Thesis. Your thesis is your main idea, your central claim, the one point you want to prove with your entire paper. We can help you narrow or expand the scope of your focus as necessary.

Content Development. This is your support, where a writer makes a claim then uses evidence to support that claim. We can help you evaluate the adequacy of your content development and help you determine if you are choosing fact and empirical data over opinion and qualitative evidence. Also, we can help you determine if your ideas are logical or emotional, relevant or tangential.

Organization. Certain strategies exist to help make papers as strong as possible through the evaluation and organization of information. For example, arguments are often strongest when built from the least important point to the greatest. Along with this, specific organization patterns exist for certain rhetorical essays, like compare and contrasts. We can help you evaluate your organizational patterns and choices so you can determine what works best for your purpose, audience, and personal style.

Introduction/Conclusion. The introduction and conclusion are more than bookends for a paper. The intro is where a reader is hooked on your idea, where you establish context and build trust and credibility with your reader. Some writers choose to write the intro after the rest of the paper is done, while other start right at the beginning and plow through. Regardless of your process, we can help you create an introduction that is engaging and appropriate.

The conclusion is more than a recap of what you have already said (if you said it once, you do not have to say it again). The final paragraph is a place to reiterate the important elements of your paper, add context, richness, and a sense of completion. This is where you end your immediate relationship with your reader (and as a writer, you are creating a relationship with your reader throughout the body of your text).

Use of Resources. Often you will be asked to draw upon outside sources to add support and legitimacy to your writing. We can offer you some assistance in the integration and ethical use of information in your paper, and we are able to help you evaluate sources and offer suggestions how to do more than just “insert a quote.” We can help you learn to make use of the sources you have found in a way that synthesizes the information, applies the information, or refutes the information. If you have greater needs regarding research, resources, and documentation than the Writing Center provides, we suggest you visit one of the awesome librarians who specializes in helping student with these specific skills.

Transitions. This element is where writing flows. Ideas should really connect easily to the next at both the sentence and the paragraph level. Sometimes this involves adding information, while other times it is removing information to tighten your ideas. Sometimes it is including guidepost words (like subsequently or conversely). We can help you review your transitions and suggest ways to make your ideas connect more naturally.

Grammar & Mechanics. These are the essential structural elements that make up language. Most native speakers have an inherent understand of these items, even if most native speakers have not mastered the comma (!). In reality, unless a paper has an obtrusive, consistent and glaring error, grammar is often not as pressing a matter as some of the other items above (critical thinking is usually more important that inappropriate use of the semicolon), though we can help you with these issues as well. 

Sentence Structure. Sentence structure includes using a variety of sentence styles and making more sophisticated sentence choices. Straight simple sentences convey one tone. If this suits your purpose, great. However, academic writing tends to demand greater sentence variety, integrating stronger word choices, and provide different types of phrasing and nuances to enhance your meaning.

Word Choice. Based on audience, style, and purpose, your word choice is all important. For an audience of everyday, average people, your words should reflect words that everyone understands. For a professional or specialized audience, however, you should add context specific language and choose words that are more fully appropriate to the rhetorical situation and context. For example (and in conjunction with word choice), we can help you reduce your reliance on vague words that lead to ambiguity in your language, words like “it” and phrases like “there are” and show you ways to make your argument more powerful through word choice.