Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Writing Center?

The Writing Center is on the 2nd floor of Barnard Hall in rooms 223 and 224.  Please enter through the South doors of the building (the side closest to Sulzberger Hall, or the entrance to Hewitt Dining Hall).  When you arrive, please wait quietly in the waiting area (the green couch and chairs) and your Writing Fellow will show you to the conferencing room at the start of your appointment.

How do I sign up for an appointment?

All sign-ups take place through our online sign up system.

If it is your first time using our online scheduling system, you will have to register for an account before you can sign up for a conference. If you have any questions, please email Katy Lasell, Coordinator, at, or call her at 212-854-8941.

What are the sign-up policies?

The sign-up system schedules appointments up to one week in advance. Students may sign up for no more than 1 conference per week and 1 conference per day.  For more information, please see our Sign-Up and Policies page.

How do I cancel my appointment?

All reservations and cancellations are made here. To cancel an appointment, please follow the instructions given in the confirmation email you received after making the appointment. Please note that if you cancel your appointment with less than 24 hours notice (or don't show up), you will not be able to use the Writing Center for one week. If you cancel with less than 24 hours notice (or do not show up) twice in a semester, you will not be able to make appointments for the remainder of the semester. You may drop in to see if a fellow is available, but you will not be guaranteed an appointment.

How does the waiting list work?

If there are no times available when you would like to make an appointment, click on the picture of a clock in the top-left corner of that day's schedule.

I am on the waiting list. Now what?

If you're on the waiting list, you will be emailed or called if someone cancels her appointment. You will then be able to sign up for that slot.

What happens when I don't show up to an appointment?

If you are marked as a "no-show" twice during a semester, you will not be allowed to sign up for conferences in the Writing Center for the remainder of the semester.  Please see our Sign-Up and Policies page for more information.

Why do I need to meet with a Writing Fellow?

Conferences offer you and your Writing Fellow the chance for an extended conversation about your paper. Often the most fruitful dialogues about writing occur with peers, and the Writing Fellows you will be working with are just that. They are not tutors or TAs; they are educated readers. It is not their role to comment on the accuracy of the content of your papers, nor to grade your work. Rather, Writing Fellows serve as naive readers to facilitate discussion and the development of your ideas.

What will I get out of my writing conference?

When writers come in for a conference, the Writing Fellow will read the draft, write down comments in the margins and then will discuss your paper and your ideas with you. In the process of the conference, the Writing Fellow may question your claims--do not feel that she is judging them; rather, this is an opportunity to defend your argument and to review the relevant evidence used in constructing that argument. You may find that talking about something as "dry" as a thesis statement will help you recognize any "holes" in your argument and will assist you with your revision. Furthermore, if you have a particular focus for the writing conference, such as grammar or use of evidence, feel free to tell the Writing Fellow. The Writing Fellows are here for you to talk to about all issues of writing. No issue is too small and no issue is too big.

Who is eligible to apply to become a Writing Fellow?

All current Barnard first-years and sophomores are encouraged to apply to the Writing Fellows Program. Applications become available in April of each year.

What are the responsibilities of a Writing Fellow?

Those accepted to the Writing Fellows Program are required to take a one-semester course called "The Writer's Process." Those in the program are required to work as a Writing Fellow for three semesters (the first of which must immediately follow the semester in which they took "The Writer's Process"). As a Writing Fellow, you will be required to work in the Writing Center for one hour per week and you will work with one "attached" class per semester. You must also attend monthly writing fellow meetings.

How are Writing Fellows trained?

Before becoming full-fledged Writing Fellows, students must take "The Writer's Process." This class is a 3-point course offered in the Fall semester for Writing Fellows in Training (WFITs). Only those accepted to the Writing Fellows Program may enroll. A formal description of the course is as follows:

    3101x. The Writer's Process: A Seminar in the Teaching of Writing

    An exploration of theory and practice in the teaching of writing, designed for students who plan to become Writing Fellows at Barnard. Students will read current theory and consider current research in the writing process, and engage in practical applications in the classroom or in tutoring (Instructor: Pam Cobrin).

Continuing training takes place in monthly Writing Fellows meetings.

What are the benefits of being a Writing Fellow?

Writing Fellows are entitled to a $910 stipend per semester. There are also other opportunities to earn extra money by being attached to a student, by working extra hours in the Writing Center, or by participating in various programs featuring Writing Fellows. Most Writing Fellows, however, cite the non-material benefits as being the most rewarding parts of working with the program. Many Writing Fellows say that through their fellowing work, they have learned to become better writers, better communicators, and better students.

Can Columbia students use the Writing Center?

Columbia students enrolled in Barnard courses may use the Writing Center for papers written for their Barnard classes.

I am a Barnard student. Can I use the Writing Center for papers I write for a Columbia course?

Barnard students enrolled in Columbia courses may use the Writing Center for papers written for their Columbia courses with the permission of their instructor or TA.  Please complete this form and bring it to your Writing Center appointment.