Writing Center at Merrimack

Experience high-impact reading and writing assistance when you visit the Writing Center.

Location: McQuade Library, rooms 346-348 
Hours: Mon-Thurs., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. & Sunday, 5-8 p.m.

Book an Appointment Now

Questions?
Call us at 978-837-5170 or email us.

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About Us

The Writing Center will guide your exploration of words and ideas through activities from brainstorming and drafting to revision and editing.

  • We will assist you as you discover more about audience, thesis, essay organization and paragraph development.
  • You will enhance your understanding about forms and genres of writing for professional, academic and personal audiences through explorations in style and structure.

Students have found the Writing Center to be a great resource:

“I have found the undergraduate tutors, graduate fellows and directors of the Writing Center to be engaging, knowledgeable and helpful. This is a wonderful resource for students and community members.”

“I always feel like I walk out of the center with not only clarification about a particular writing issue, but also armed with new skills or approaches that will help improve my skills as a writer.”

Appointments

Appointments are scheduled and online appointments take place in WCOnline, the writing center scheduling site. At the start time of your online appointment, log on and open your appointment window. Click the link that says “Start or join online consultation.” Your Writing Consultant will be in the online space waiting for you. 

  1. Watch how to register on WCOnline.
  2. Watch how to make an appointment on WCOnline.
  3. Watch what to expect during your online appointment.

If you have questions or concerns, please email writingcenter@merrimack.edu

Make an Appointment at WCOnline

The Merrimack Writing Center supports all student writers across the disciplines at all stages of the writing process. We believe that writing is a complex social activity that applies to a range of academic, personal, professional, and civic communicative purposes. In short, there isn’t one way to write. To promote such recognition, the Writing Center provides consultations that employ a collaborative dialogue between a writer and a writing consultant, focusing on the writer’s goals and concerns. This conversation aims to stimulate the writer’s critical thinking and reflection through the consultant’s questions and response as an engaged reader.

The Writing Center privileges writers’ long-term development by helping them become aware of their choices and the impacts of those choices. Consultants provide individualized feedback, model successful strategies, and identify resources so that writers continue to grow and learn, becoming more effective communicators able to navigate various writing situations. To learn to write is a lifelong endeavor, and the Writing Center aims to assist writers during their time at Merrimack.

We work with undergraduate and graduate writers at any stage of the writing process, from analyzing assignment guidelines to revision to preparing for final submission. We have a staff representing over a dozen majors, all trained to work with writers from any discipline. Many of our sessions are one-on-one between a writer and a consultant, but we do welcome collaboratively written projects; in such instances, it’s best if multiple group members are present.

In a session, the writer and the consultant work collaboratively to set the agenda for the session. The writer brings knowledge of the assignment, course, instructor expectations, disciplinary conventions, topic, and their own writing goals and concerns, while the consultant brings knowledge of writing processes and strategies. With their knowledge combined, the pair can decide on a direction for the session and the steps to get there. Consultants are trained to prioritize the writer’s concerns and global issues—issues that affect the whole text—over sentence-level revisions.

Once an agenda is established, the writer and consultant will have a conversation about the writing, which may be spurred by the particulars of the assignment instructions, the struggles the writer is experiencing, the trouble spots the consultant sees in the draft, all of these in some combination, or something else entirely. In this conversation, the writer and the consultant will ask and answer one another’s questions, offer feedback, listen attentively to each other’s perspective, and consider strategies for a more effective writing process. Ultimately, the writer assumes responsibility for their own work.

While the Writing Center cannot proofread anyone’s writing (in adherence to the Academic Integrity Code and our own commitment to focusing on the long-term development of writers), we help develop self-editing strategies so that writers can independently evaluate and revise their work.

The Writing Center staff is largely composed of undergraduate writers; as such, their assessments of a paper’s effectiveness can’t substitute for the instructor’s, nor can they meaningfully comment on what grade a piece may earn.

Sometimes the support students need lies outside the scope of what the Writing Center provides. In those instances, we refer students to the various resources available to the campus community.

Follow us on social media for the most up-to-date information on the Writing Center’s hours and closures. On days when there are no classes, including closures for inclement weather, the Center will also be closed. For planned breaks (fall, spring, Easter, etc.) that include a Monday, the Center will also be closed on the Sunday immediately preceding that Monday.

The Writing Center offers both in-person and online consultations. Students can participate in one session per day and up to three sessions per week. Group sessions for shared projects and papers are available for students working on the same paper (the same physical document — not just the same prompt/assignment). Face-to-face sessions are conducted in the Writing Center (McQuade 346) while online sessions take place through WCOnline (merrimack.mywconline.com), our online scheduling site.

Students need to register for WCOnline before they can book appointments. Register at merrimack.mywconline.com/register.php. While the Writing Center does allow for walk-in visits, claiming an appointment guarantees that someone will be available to work with you. Student visitors should be aware that scheduled appointments take priority over walk-ins.

If you are late to an appointment, you will not receive the full allotment of time and you may lose the spot to someone else.

You can cancel, reschedule, or change the modality of your appointment through WCOnline. We ask that you make any changes to your existing appointment at least 24 hours in advance of the appointment’s scheduled start time.

Appointments begin on the hour and end at 45 minutes past. The final 15 minutes are set aside for the writing consultant to fill out the Client Report Form, which summarizes the session between a writer and consultant. This report will be sent:

  • to Writing Center administrators for record-keeping,
  • to the writer for later reference, and
  • to the writer’s instructor for making the Center’s work transparent to the campus community.

If you miss an appointment, you will not be able to schedule another for that day. You may still participate in a walk-in session on a first-come, first-served basis. Missing 3 appointments without notice results in your WCOnline account being deactivated and thus preventing you from making future appointments. If you wish to have your account reactivated, you must contact the Writing Center Director with an explanation.

Though you must be a Merrimack student to use the Writing Center’s services, the writing you bring does not need to be from a course. Resumes, cover letters, graduate school personal statements, and creative writing—as well as any other forms of writing—are all welcome.

Documentation Styles

How do I use various documentation styles? How do I integrate sources to avoid plagiarism?

Documentation Styles
Source Integration

ESL / Generation 1.5

What are some additional tools I can use to develop my English literacy skills?

ESL LibGuide (Merrimack College)


Global Issues

How do you use the global issues of writing to create the overall structure and content of a paper?

Academic Writing Overview
Audience & Purpose
Thesis
Organization
Development
Writing Strong introductions and Conclusions

Local Issues

The ideas are there, but how do I make it look good?

External Links
Punctuation
  • Commas (by Danielle Morin, Writing Fellow, Fall 2017)

Reading

How do I learn to read more effectively at the college level?

Strategies for Reading Comprehension (PDF)


Research

How do I write a Literature Review?

The Basics on Writing a Review of Literature (PDF)


Resumes/Cover Letters & Writing in the Disciplines

What’s happening with writing in my course?  What’s happening in my profession?

Workplace & Career Writing 
Girard School of Business
School of Education

Formulating a Capstone Project Idea (PDF)

School of Health Sciences
School of Liberal Arts

 Introduction to Spirituality: Research Writing

School of Science & Engineering Resources
  • Biology Lab Reports (PDF)
  • Technical Report Basics (PDF) (originally tied to an Industrial Hygiene course, but works for many of the Sciences and Engineering.
  • Technical Writing: 23 Word Rule (video)
  • Technical Writing: Hierarchies (video)
  • Technical Writing: Audience (video)
  • Technical Writing: Subject & Verb Proximity (video)
  • Technical Writing: Whitespace (video)
  • Technical Writing: Adjective & Adverb Use (video)
  • Technical Writing: Jargon (video)
  • Technical Writing: Development with Visuals (video)
  • Technical Writing: Dictionary Use (video)
  • Technical Writing: Organizing for Users (video)
  • Technical Writing: Lanham’s Paramedic Method (video)
  • Technical Writing: Parentheses (video)
  • Technical Writing: Designing Posters (video)
  • Technical Writing: Telling a Story in Pictures (video)
  • Technical Writing: Making a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich (video)
  • Technical Writing: Linear Wizards (video)

Writing Process

How do you get started, revise, and edit—by yourself, or with peers?

Getting Started
Strategies for Revising

How to Schedule an Appointment
How to Register for an Account
What to Expect from an Online Consultation
How to Share Google Docs for a Consultation

Your first step is to do well in ENG1050: Introduction to College Writing. Then you’ll need to have your professor complete this form: 

Recommend a Student for a Writing Consultant Position

Once that is done, you’ll be hearing from us about your next steps, which includes enrolling in ENG4920, a 4 credit, Writing Intensive, Experiential Learning course that will prepare you for work in the Writing Center.