- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) - How do you cite sources in American Psychological Association format?

What’s the best way to organize a research paper?

What does a thesis statement look like?

College students ask these questions daily, and the writing center, a program provided by the Sheridan College English department, provides the answers.

The program, aimed at helping students with a variety of writing assignments, from lab reports and term papers to scholarship application essays and final English papers.

Students schedule appointments for online, in-person or drop-in tutoring. At that time, students receive one-on-one help from students and faculty.

Primarily, the center is operated by students. Students employed by the writing center examine spelling, grammar, content and formatting in papers.

Student-tutors at the writing center Claire Rapp and Chris Maze find that it can be very helpful.

While they claim they don’t have all the answers, having others look over a project or a paper can have a significant impact on a student’s grade.

“It can be intimidating to bring your paper in and have it covered in red ink, but it can be helpful,” Rapp said.

Rapp and Maze are not English students, but they stood out as quality writers to SC staff. Every year, faculty members identify and select students to tutor at the center.

Sarah Heuck Sinclair, English faculty member at Sheridan College, who often works with the writing center, said student-tutors at the center have to not only possess quality writing skills, but must be outgoing and willing to work with a variety of other students.

“I’ve recruited students into the writing center because I thought it would be helpful for them to grow, not only with writing, but with responsibility, taking on a leadership role and have them become good tutors,” Sinclair said.

Rapp and Maze see plenty of benefits to the job.

It’s a paid position, but not only do they earn some cash and work with a flexible schedule, they have an opportunity to work on their own projects when not busy helping others.

“When it comes to midterms or people have nursing papers due, it gets pretty crazy around here,” Rapp said.

Both Rapp and Maze agreed that the center also helps them to be involved with the college. At the center, they meet with students outside their typical courses, which helps them meet new people and learn about other subjects.

While both student tutors are fairly well-versed in English and writing, understanding the intricacies of formatting and mastering grammar takes years of experience.

That’s where the English professors lend a hand.

The college has had a writing center for decades, but recently, the center has adapted a new concept. The center is surrounded by the college English faculty offices, which provides students and tutors with extra help if needed.

“It’s an unusual model for a writing center,” Sinclair said. “Typically, they are in more private areas. We want to be there to help.

“We see a lot of repeat students,” Sinclair added. “Once we see students come into the center, we see them come back.”

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Information from: The Sheridan (Wyo.) Press, https://www.thesheridanpress.com/

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