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How to Make the Most of Your Writing and Learning Centre Visit

Written by Alexander College in Student Services, WLC on April 30, 2020

The Writing and Learning Centre is here to support you in your academic journey. We can help you organize your ideas, structure your essay, write thesis statements, integrate sources and cite your research properly. You can also come to us to practise your presentations, improve your reading comprehension, and more.

Things to keep in mind

1. Checking for plagiarism

We don’t “check for plagiarism”.
We help you avoid plagiarism by checking if you have appropriately paraphrased and cited all of your sources.

2. Checking grammar

Although accurate grammar is a vital part of writing, it is not the most important part of your assignment. It is more crucial that you follow assignment guidelines, answer the question, and synthesize your research. Grammar issues are mostly addressed if they impede the clarity of your ideas.

How should you prepare for your WLC appointment?

1. Bring your essay/assignment

Always bring your assignment or whatever you want to work on.

Print out your essay ahead of time so we can save time looking for it. That way, we can also write suggestions on your essay and you can take notes as we work together.

If you have your essay on your laptop – that’s fine as well. Don’t just show it to us on your phone—it’s just really hard to read and you can’t take notes.

2. Bring your assignment instructions

Bring your assignment instructions, guidelines, rubric and any comments your instructor has made. This way, we know exactly what you are expected to do and can see whether you are on the right track!

student reading a book
student using a computer inside the library

 

3. Check that your sources are cited properly

One way you can avoid plagiarism is by citing your sources properly. Make sure that you cite every single idea that does not belong to you and follow the guidelines provided in the Citation Style Guides.

4. Come early!

We encourage you to come and see us at least 24 hours before your assignment deadline so that you have ample time to utilize the feedback we give you. Remember, last minute work is more likely to lead to poor results, so plan ahead!

Tips from our Writing and Humanities Specialists:

  • Read the assignment instructions carefully and understand your instructor’s expectation before you start working on the assignment. We recommend reading the question out loud to yourself and underline keywords.
  • If you have never done citations before, make sure you study the citations workshops on Canvas before coming to see us, so we can help you more efficiently with your specific questions.
  • Always integrate information from your sources and don’t just leave a direct quote unsupported in your essay. Explain why the quote was chosen, what it is supposed to show the readers, and how it relates to your thesis statement.

Tips from our Econ/COMM Specialists:

  • Bring your assignment sheet, questions you’d like to work on and relevant notes from class.
  • You should do more practice questions to strengthen your understanding of the concepts.
  • COMM projects require a lot of group work and planning. You should start working on the project as soon as they are assigned.
  • Make sure you see a COMM specialist to check your content, structure and formatting before you see a Humanities specialist for grammar help.
student solving a math problem
students and teacher in chemistry class

 

Tips from our Math and Science Specialists:

  • Math and Science courses can be challenging even for the brightest students, so come talk to us if you’re stuck!
  • Book an appointment well before the assignment deadline or test and give yourself enough time to digest the information.
  • Bring specific questions so we can walk you through the problem using applications relevant to your course.

Tips from our CPSC Specialists:

  • Start working on your programming assignments early! It’s often difficult to estimate the time it may take to debug potential errors.
  • Practise running codes taught in lectures and labs. If a task seems complicated and you’re unsure how to tackle it, use the version control (e.g. git) to try out possible solutions without losing your previous attempts.
  • Practise and improve your programming skills by working on side projects outside of coursework. A webapp or something that interests you would be good practice—and also something you could show your future employers.

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