Hello, this is Eric from the BSU Writing Center. We had a discussion in class the other day about students who come in to the writing center to fulfill a requirement for an assignment. In other words, a student gets points for turning in proof of a writing center consultation. Some tutors thought this was irritating because the student may show a lack of concern and involvement with the session, caring only about getting the proof of consultation form and not about learning or improving their writing. The idea came up that these sessions steal time away from writers who earnestly want help with their writing.
I am not entirely sure where I stand on this issue, though, because I can see some positive aspects of these sessions. A situation like this can make for a frustrating and unproductive session, but it could also be a means of introducing the benefits of a writing consultation to someone who otherwise would have never explored what the writing center has to offer. Personally, I never made an appointment at the center before taking this class and becoming a tutor, simply because I never thought I needed one, but once I had one, I realized how helpful it can be just to have someone else to read my paper and discuss my writing. I have experienced one or two of these frustrating sessions, but I also have had teacher-assigned sessions in which students found that they had benefited from the experience more than they expected. I can also understand that if a writing center appointment is required for an assignment, a student may feel uncomfortable or unsure about what to say or what to ask for help on. However, many students can be difficult and have unfair expectations. Whatever the circumstances, I think we should try to remain as helpful and amiable as possible. Worst-case scenario, the students don't come back and we have a frustrating session. Best-case scenario, we have a successful session and a student who would otherwise be unaware of the center's benefits may return for future sessions.