• Jonathan Zhou

The writing center reopens.

The writing center was designed to create the perfect environment for writing, and as it was gaining popularity in the early months of 2020, it was shut down. Now that it is reopening, will it regain its popularity or collect dust until English teachers force their students to go there?

The history of the writing center dates back to a few years before the pandemic. Back then, the writing center was a largely undiscovered resource. This changed after a few English teachers required that their freshmen students revise their essays at the writing center before turning them in.

The writing center began to gain popularity in late 2019 and early 2020 as students began to voluntarily go there, proving that the writing center is a useful resource for the students. Its initial lack of popularity was merely due to its obscurity.

A recent survey agrees with these results. The vast majority of students say that they find it difficult to begin writing, often get stuck, and would like an editor to look over their work. The writing center was created to help students overcome these difficulties while allowing them to grow as writers.

However, some students are reluctant to go to the writing center, even if they are in need of help. In a survey, a student stated that he would not go to the writing center under any circumstances, most likely because he would rather write without outside help. While such a trait would certainly help him grow as a writer, it can often be an ineffective way to learn; sharing ideas can often help the writer to gain a better understanding of them.

According to the same survey, the average student receives writing assignments approximately two or three times a week, feels unable to start writing for every other assignment, feels stuck on over half of the assignments, and would like an editor for nearly every writing assignment. Therefore, the average student could use the writing center between five or six times every month.

Four percent of the participants in the survey are averse to using the writing center, and the student body contains approximately 400 students. Based on these numbers, there will be around 2000 visits to the center every month, and there is an average of 20 school days every month, so 100 students will go to the writing center every day.

Of course, this estimate only uses data from the survey and fails to account for statistical biases; those who filled out the survey are likely more interested in the writing center than those who did not. Furthermore, the writing center is mostly intended for underclassmen, and the majority of the respondents to this survey were freshmen and sophomores. These statistical biases suggest that the actual number of visits every day will likely be significantly lower, most likely between 15 and 30.

The writing center provides a much-needed resource for many students and creates an environment conducive to writing. According to the survey, a healthy amount of students will benefit from it, and it will nurture a new batch of talented writers.


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