Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the University Writing Center located?

The University Writing Center is now located in Founders Memorial Library 260.

How much does a session cost?

Our standard session services are free. Our dissertation/thesis boot camps are fee-based. Contact Gail Jacky at gjacky@niu.edu for further information.

Do I have to be an NIU student?

NIU students, faculty and staff members receive first priority in scheduling. Others in the NIU community can schedule appointments, if openings are available.

If you're an NIU student, faculty or staff, you can use our online scheduling system to make an appointment. You'll need to use your Z-ID to access the system.

Where can I park?

Founders Memorial Library  is next to the Visitor Lot, so if you do not have a parking pass, you can conveniently park near the building. If you have a yellow or blue pass, then the parking garage is probably your best option.

Remember parking in central campus can be challenging at certain times during the day. Please plan ahead.

How do I make an appointment?

Online sessions are 60 minutes and must be scheduled at least 30 minutes before the session. . Only one appointment may be scheduled each day.

Learn more about how to set up an appointment.

Can I request a specific coach?

All of our writing coaches are highly trained, friendly and ready to help. That said, if you want to work with a particular coach, we will try to accommodate your preference.

What kind of writing can I bring in?

We can help you with any type of writing, from academic to informal. This includes essays for class, blog posts, resumes, scholarship essays and more.

What's the late policy?

For an hour appointment, you have a 10-minute grace period. If you are not logged into the session during the grace period, your appointment will be cancelled.

What will happen during my session?

Just before the appointed time, you will log into your appointment in the schedule system and click on the start or join a session link. You will paste your document into the whiteboard. Then you and the writing coach will discuss your work. You are responsible for making any changes to the document.

Some instructors require proof of your visit. A confirmation of the session information will be emailed to you.

Do I have to fill out the session sheet?

Yes. We have to track every session, so we need all of the information filled out.

Because we have a new schedule system, we are still using the forms as a cross check. Hopefully in the future, we will no longer need the paper forms.

How many copies of my paper will I need?

In a perfect world, we would like two hard copies: one for you and one for us. However, we understand that printing is not always possible, so we can work with one hard copy and an electronic copy. If you only have one hard copy and no electronic copy, you'll have to take notes on the hard copy. If the coach writes on the hard copy, we have to keep it as our work product. You may not take our notes with you, you may not copy it after the session, and you may not take pictures of it. No exceptions will be made.

We encourage you to bring your own laptop if you want to work on an electronic version.

Can I make an appointment for a group project?

Yes. Only one member of the group needs to schedule the appointment, but when completing the session information, you must specify that your appointment is for a group project. We'll need to know how many members are in your group and the names of all members. Be sure to schedule an appointment that everybody can attend, as a session cannot occur unless all group members are present. We cannot make exceptions to this rule.

When the session starts, you will be able to copy the link to the appointment into an email and your group members will be able to join the session.

Can I meet with a coach over the weekend?

No. The UWC is not open on weekends.

Is the UWC open during spring break, the winter holidays or the summer?

The UWC director, Gail Jacky, is sometimes available during breaks. Email gjacky@niu.edu to determine her availability. The UWC is open during the summer semester, although there are limited hours and a small staff.

I don't really need a session, but my instructor requires me to come in. Can I just have a sheet stamped?

No. The purpose of the UWC is to help you develop your writing skills as a means of communication and self-expression, which is probably why your instructor recommended you come in the first place. We're interested in your development as a writer and as a student, so doing anything but coaching you through a session would be dishonest. Come prepared to work.

Can I just email you my paper?

The short answer is not really. Working with the UWC is a collaborative process, and you're a big part of that process. We do have online appointments. During these sessions, you and your coach will review the document together in real time. Please be aware that this system only allows us to work on content and grammar rather than formatting.

What if there are no available appointments and I need my paper looked at by a certain day?

If there are no available appointments, all of our coaches are booked to work with other students, faculty or community members. We recommend making your appointments early in the semester to avoid running out of time. The system is set up to allow scheduling throughout the entire semester. Plan ahead!

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