Tag: personal statements

The Consultant Diaries

pic of Corrine V.As a graduating senior, I’m approaching the end of my time at The Writing Center.  I honestly can’t believe it’s already been a year, but time flies when you’re eating candy and playing with toys… I mean, working and consulting.  But let’s face it, I’ve been eating candy and playing with toys while consulting, it’s a pretty good deal.

What I didn’t realize when I first signed up for Writing Center Theory, WRA 395, two years ago was the amount of experience I would gain in just one year as a consultant.  And I don’t just mean another job to add to my resume.  Through working one-on-one with clients I have gained more listening and critical thinking skills.  I mean, I cannot zone out when someone is counting on me to help them with their personal statement that may or may not get them into graduate school.  I’ve also gained a broader understanding of the variety of cultures at MSU.  Before working at The Writing Center, I knew that MSU had students from all over the world, but by working with them, I have been able to meet some of them and hear their stories.  That’s, honestly, one of my favorite aspects of working here, just constantly meeting new students and hearing about their experiences.

What I also didn’t realize, even at my interview with Trixie and Dianna, was how many other professional development opportunities I would have.  After giving about five workshops this semester, I can now get up in a room full of students and give a workshop without having a mini panic attack.  I can also honestly say I’ve been to a conference, I don’t think it’s necessary to add that I only talked for about five minutes.  But I now know how a conference works and am better prepared for any future ones that I may attend in graduate school.

Overall, it has been a good year.  I’ve gained valuable experience while enjoying a relaxed, easy going environment.  And I’ve had the opportunity to spill my guts about it every couple of weeks while writing this blog.  So if you enjoy writing, candy, and toys and want to gain some awesome experience work at The Writing Center or even just come visit.

The Consultant Diaries

pic of Corrine V.As consultants, we all have our favorite and least favorite types of writing to work with.  But sometimes I think it doesn’t always matter on the type of writing so much as the client.  My bio on the website states “I enjoy working with digital rhetoric, alternative media, and web design projects, as well as brainstorming and literature reviews,” which is true, but the client’s attitude brings a lot to appointment.  The best consultations I have had were not necessarily with these types of writing, they included clients with positive attitude who really wanted to improve their writing as well as that specific assignment.  Continue reading “The Consultant Diaries”

Trendspotting: Grad School Applications

Trendspotting with Alyson GinesHappy Thanksgiving, everyone! Even though this has been a shorter week than most, the one thing seen the most at The Writing Center was definitely grad school statements. Application deadlines are approaching this December, and there are only a few short weeks left in this semester to make appointments. There are still some open spots to come meet with consultants, whether it’s to work on that grad application or a paper for a final.

Have a good break!

Trendspotting: Go Tigers!

By Alyson GinesHi folks, it has been pretty clear what this week’s trend is: Detroit Tigers! Consultants and students alike have been proudly representing our team as the excitement towards the World Series has been mounting. We love seeing people passionate about something, and sharing in their enthusiasm. Are you writing a short story you’re psyched about? Working on a paper about your favorite book? Writing a personal statement to get into your top grad school? Bring it into The Writing Center; we would love to collaborate with you. And Go Tigers!

Two people wear Detroit Tigers sports wear






Trendspotting: Classy Outfits

Trendspotting with Alyson Gines logo

Hey folks, this week’s hottest trend has a bit of flair to it: classy wear. That’s right, we’re talking dresses and ties! It’s the season of career fairs and job interviews, and those events not only require a professional look, but some well-written résumés, too. The Writing Center consultants have been seeing a lot of résumés, applications, and personal statements lately, and are more than happy to read through YOUR work. You can make an appointment for 30 minutes or an hour, and we have quite a few different locations you can check out!

The Consultant Diaries

Being called an expert in writing makes consulting seem a little more daunting.  Last week, while working with a Phd student, I was referred to as the expert.  That was weird.  I’m sitting with a client, who is at least ten years older than me and has at least one more degree than me, and yet I was deemed the expert.  But I guess that’s what we are supposed to be, at least to our clients. We have taken the classes and we have been trained, but does that make us experts? Continue reading “The Consultant Diaries”

Trendspotting: Flannel

Trendspotting with Alyson Gines logoHey there! It looks like THE hottest top to wear this past week was a flannel shirt. With the cold weather suddenly upon us, students everywhere have been bundling up as they travel across campus. With a chill in the air, it can be hard to want to leave your comfy, cozy room to make it to your Writing Center appointment. Have no fear! We’ve opened up many new locations this year, with hours during the day or evening for your convenience. Check out the list, and see which is closest to you; we might even have a location in your dorm hall, so all you have to do is head on downstairs to go over that paper due later this week, or that application you’ve been working on.

What are you waiting for? Your next Writing Center appointment may be just around the corner.


Hard at work in the Writing Center

Trendspotting: Résumés

Trendspotting with Alyson Gines logoAny guesses as to what THE must-have accessory was last week? Résumés, résumés, résumés! Many of the appointments students made at The Writing Center were to review and improve their résumé writing skills. With autumn upon us, job interviews, internship fairs, and graduate school applications are a few of the great reasons to make an appointment.

Will you be ahead of the curve with an up-to-date, impressive résumé?

Workshop your resume!

Introducing Our Podcast Archive

In the transition to our new website we’ve also been harvesting content from the old website, which means we’ve found some awesome Writing Center gems. Like an assortment of informative podcasts! Rather than let these podcasts vanish into the ether, we’ve decided to archive them on our new site. You can find the entire collection in our Podcast Archive. But first let me tell you a bit about what we have to offer.

The archive is broken down into three collections: Writing Center produced podcasts, Writing Center workshops and presentations, and guest lectures and workshops.

The Writing Center produced podcasts include topics like citations, primary sources, resumes, and thesis statements, as well as a three-part series on writing with poetry. Each of these podcasts is about 5 minutes long, and is scripted to cover the basics of each topic. For example, the Citations podcast explains why giving credit with citations is important, introduces MLA, APA, and Chicago styles, and discusses the use of in-text citations and works cited pages. These quickly delivered podcasts would be great support material for writing instructors.

The Podcast Archive also features a robust collection of Writing Center workshops and presentations given by Writing Center staff and faculty. This includes workshops on personal statements, Comic Life, and poster displays using CRAP principles (contrast, repetition, arrangement, and proximity), as well as presentations on the use of podcasts in writing centers, grammar as a higher order concern, professional development, and a presentation given by our very own associate director, Dianna Baldwin, on the use of Second Life, an online virtual world, in writing centers. Dianna speaks a bit about the history of SL and argues that SL brings personal connection back to online consulting through the use of the voice feature, as well as gestures controlled by the user. *

And finally, our last collection of podcasts in the archive is guest lectures and workshops featuring three scholars in the field of rhetoric and composition: Dr. Paul Matsuda, Director of Second Language Writing at Arizona State University; Dr. Tony Silva, Director of ESL Graduate and Writing Programs at Purdue University; and Dr. Kirk St. Amant, Associate Professor of Technical and Professional Communication at East Carolina University specializing in global education in online environments. Each of these scholars were guests at Michigan State, and we are fortunate to have podcasts of these events for folks to listen to and learn from.

We hope this rich and varied collection of knowledge and expertise available in our Podcast Archive will make it to your playlists, and perhaps even your writing courses.


*The Writing Center at MSU has a satellite location in Second Life, with appointments from 9am – 10pm Monday – Thursday, and 9am – 2pm Friday. Schedule a Second Life consultation!