FAQ

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General Information

How can the Writers Workshop help my writing?

We believe that writing is a process, and we aim to help you at every step of the way. The Writers Workshop is a teaching service, which means we use your writing as a tool to teach you how to write and help you understand and discover your own writing processes. In your consultation, you should expect to work closely with your consultant and to apply the advice they give to your writing in general (both the current text you’re working on as well as future writing). We can work with you at all levels of your text, whether it’s prewriting and outlining, assessing your organization, or adding clarity at the sentence-level. While we don’t necessarily proofread your writing line-by-line, we will work with you on grammar and syntax with the goal of helping you develop effective self-editing strategies.

Do I need to pay to use the Writers Workshop?

No. All of our services are free to undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctorates, faculty, and staff.

How many times can I use the Writers Workshop?

You may have up to 2 appointments per week, across all schedules. The week begins on Monday. Appointments can be reserved up to 10 days in advance. See our Policies page for more information.

Our workshops, writing groups, and other events do not count toward your appointment number.

You may have as many drop-ins as you’d like. If you’d like to have multiple drop-ins on any given day, you’ll need to sign in for each one separately. Drop-ins are not offered during the summer.

The Writers Workshop will sometimes bend our appointment-per-week policy. If you are working on something especially long, complex, or high stakes, talk with your consultant or call our main line (217-333-8796) to inquire about the possibility of an additional appointment. If we are not too busy (e.g., during midterms and finals), we will do our best to accommodate your request.

What are the Writers Workshop policies?

See our Policies page for our most up-to-date policies.

Can I choose the consultant I work with?

Yes. You can visit our Meet the Staff page and find out more information about our consultants. Then, find the consultant’s name on our scheduling system. You can also view our consultants’ bios on the scheduling system when you click on an available appointment.

Does the Writers Workshop work with groups?

Yes. If you want to make an appointment for a group project, please indicate that on the appointment form. We can also work with your group during drop-ins, just let the desk staff know you’re there for a group drop-in. We require that at least half of a group’s members are present for the consultation.

Can an alumnus of UIUC schedule a session at the Writers Workshop?

The Writers Workshop offers limited one-to-one writing consultations to recent alums of UIUC. To learn more and schedule an appointment, please contact the Writers Workshop directly by email wow@illinois.edu or by phone (217) 333-8796.

The Writers Workshop is typically booked from midterms through finals, so you may not be able to see a consultant during this time.

Does the Writers Workshop work with multimedia writing?

Yes. We’re happy to work with all types of writing, including PowerPoints and presentations, posters, scripts, websites, etc. Be aware that our computers only have basic programs so you may need to bring your own device depending on the software you’re using.

What should I do if there are no available appointments on the date and time I want?

If we’re booked on the time and day you’d like to make an appointment, you may join our waitlist by visiting our appointment system and clicking on the “waiting list” link at the bottom right of each day’s schedule and filling out the form. You may choose to receive a notice when an appointment opens by email or text. The system will send an automatic notification to every person on the list; the first person who books the appointment will get it.

We also have drop-in consultations that don’t require making an appointment. Drop-ins are 15-30 minutes and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. These sessions work best for short (1-3 page) documents, specific sections of a larger piece, or specific questions (e.g., “Does this thesis make sense?” “Am I using APA in-text citation appropriately?”).

What should I do if I can’t log in for my appointment?

The most common login problem stems from forgetting or mistyping the password you created in our appointment system. If you enter the incorrect password three times, the system will freeze your account for 15 minutes. If that happens, call (217-333-8796) or email (wow@illinois.edu) us, and we can help you reset your password and/or send you a link to your online appointment.

What should I do if I need accommodations?

We welcome all students to the Writers Workshop and will do what we can to support you! To request disability-related accommodations for our services, please contact Dr. Carolyn Wisniewski at wow@illinois.edu or call 217-333-8796.

Please see our Accessibility page for more information.

What should I do if I need an academic editor?

Academic editors are hired on an hourly or per project rate and specific timeline to provide thorough editing of high-stakes documents like manuscripts for publication, grant applications, theses, or dissertations. The Writers Workshop does not vet or provide academic editors, but we will work with you within our 50-minute appointments to explain grammatical errors, identify patterns of error, and address issues of word choice, style, and reader-friendly text.

If you would like to hire an editor, see the English Department’s list of Editors for Hire. You can also find information about the ESL Program’s tutor and editor list through the Department of Linguistics. You should consider contacting multiple editors to ask about their rates and timelines and find someone that best fits your needs.

How can I stay informed about Writers Workshop events? 

You can check out our Calendar for the most up-to-date information. If you’re a graduate writer, you can sign up for our weekly listserv for reminders about graduate events by emailing us at wow@illinois.edu. You can also follow us on social media:

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What should I do if I can’t find an answer to my question? 

If you have questions that you can’t find the answer to here or elsewhere on our website, feel free to email us at wow@illinois.edu or call 217-333-8796.

Using Our Scheduling System

How do I register to use the scheduling system?

To register for an account go to our scheduling system and click on “Register for an account.” Fill out the registration form. You are now registered and ready to login and schedule your appointment.

Arrow pointing to register for an account link
You may also access the login page from the Writers Workshop webpage and clicking onMake an appointment buttonbutton on the top right of any page.

How do I make an appointment?

To schedule an appointment go to our scheduling system. Log in with your email and password. Select your university status from the drop-down menu:Arrow pointing to select university status

We hire both undergraduate and graduate consultants, so selecting the focus will help you find the best consultant for you.

The Writers Workshop has multiple locations. Our main location (251 Undergraduate Library) opens as the default schedule. For additional locations and appointments, please select another schedule from the drop-down menu.

Our appointment availability is displayed with colored boxes:

  • White = available for reservation
  • Blue = already reserved
  • Yellow = you’ve already reserved this appointment
  • Black = time that’s unavailable (the consultant does not work those hours)

Image that shows the color key for the Workshop's appointment system.

After clicking on a white box, complete the appointment form:

Appointment FormOnce you click on “create appointment” your appointment will show up in yellow on our scheduling system and you’ll receive an email confirming your appointment.

Do you offer appointments in locations other than the UGL? 

Yes. In addition to our main location, we also offer appointments at 3 satellite locations – MCB Learning Center, Grainger Library, and Ikenberry Library (IKE). To check out the schedule for any of the satellite locations log in and click on the drop down menu at the top next to the date. Choose a location and the schedule for that location will now be shown.

We also offer online consultations and written feedback appointments.

Before My Appointment 

What should I do before my appointment?

It’s helpful to come to your session with 2-3 priorities in mind, given where you are in your writing process and what you hope to accomplish. These sessions are meant to be interactive conversations about your writing, so you can expect to work collaboratively and closely with your consultant throughout each session.

What should I bring to my appointment?

What you bring will depend on what you’re working on and what will help you have the most productive session. For example, if you’re working on a class assignment, it would be helpful for you to bring the prompt with you. We will work with your writing either in print or digitally, so feel free to bring your own laptop or to let you consultant know that you’d like to use one of our computers.

While we have desktop computers in our main location (Main Library room 100b), they’re equipped with only basic software, so if you’re using specialized software, you may want to bring your own device.

Laptops can also be checked out from the University Library.

During My Appointment 

What can I expect during my appointment?

Please see our Services page for more information on what you can expect during your appointment. Our consultations are interactive, so appointments will begin with the consultant asking you about your writing and your goals for the session. You and your consultant will work together to meet those goals and determine what works best for you. Our consultants can work with you in a variety of formats and with many different tools.

How long will my appointment last?

Our appointments can be up to 50 minutes long. However, they can be shorter depending on what you’re working on; you’re not required to stay for the full 50 minutes.

How much of my writing will we be able to review?

It depends! We work with texts as short as one paragraph and as long as 50-page dissertation chapters. The amount of text you and your consultant will review depends on your goals and the complexity of the text.

If you’re working with a lengthy document, you might consider:

  • Are you most interested in structure? If so, we’ll focus on aspects of the text like your claim and topic sentences and will use strategies like reverse outlining.
  • Are you most interested in a particular section? If so, let’s start there!
  • Are you most interested in general feedback about clarity? If so, we can start at the beginning and move paragraph-by-paragraph through the text. Lengthy documents would need more than one appointment for this kind of feedback.

What should I do if I can’t log in for my appointment?

The most common login problem comes from forgetting or mistyping the password you created in our appointment system. If you enter the incorrect password three times, the system will freeze your account for 15 minutes. If that happens, call (217-333-8796) or email (wow@illinois.edu) us, and we can help you reset your password and/or send you a link to your online appointment.

Online Appointments

Can I meet with a consultant online?

Yes. To better support writers on and off campus, the Writers Workshop offers online sessions.

Our live online appointments are synchronous, which means that they happen in real-time using video and audio components. You don’t need any special software (though a webcam and mic will help — otherwise, you’ll have to rely on a chat function). See our Online Consultations page for more information.

We also offer written feedback appointments, for which the consultant will read and respond to your work, and will return written feedback at the end of your appointment time. There is no live conversation with your consultant. See our Written Feedback Appointments page for more information.

Do I need special equipment for an online consultation?

Online sessions use a videoconferencing platform to facilitate conversation and collaboration. The online system includes a shared whiteboard and text space and screen-sharing capabilities. It also has a chat option.

We recommend the use of laptops or desktops over tablets and having headphones to facilitate our conversations. We recommend holding live online consultations in an area that will be relatively quiet and free of background noise.

How do I remove the highlighting from my text on the whiteboard?

If your appointment takes place on WC Online, you may end up using the built-in whiteboard to share your writing with your tutor during the session. The whiteboard automatically defaults to highlighting your and the consultant’s contributions to the whiteboard in different colors. To turn off this setting, click on the icon of the crossed-out eye (see image below): this will remove all highlighting format from your text.

Drop-In Consultations

How long do drop-in sessions last?

Drop-ins tend to be shorter in length than our in-person and online consultations, lasting about 15-30 minutes. Drop-ins are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

How many drop-in sessions can I have?

You may have as many drop-in sessions as you want. We may ask you to limit your number of drop-in sessions during especially busy times, such as midterms and finals.

When can I have a drop-in session?

We offer drop-in sessions Sunday – Thursday from 4:00 – 9:00 Central Time during the Fall and Spring semesters. We do not host drop-in sessions over the summer.

How do I join a drop-in session?

Drop-in sessions are held both in-person at Main Library Room 100b and via Zoom. See our Drop-In Consultations page for more information and to join.

What can a drop-in session help with?

Because drop-in consultations are shorter than appointments, they are best for short texts (about 1 page) and quick questions about elements of writing such as grammar rules or citations. Drop-in sessions can also be great to check progress on pieces you have already worked on with a consultant.