In-Person Consultations

The Writing Center provides one-on-one consultations during the Fall 2020 semester in-person and online via Zoom video meetings. For information and instruction about online Zoom consultations, visit our online consultation webpage. We’ll gladly help with whatever concerns or questions you have, no matter what stage your project is in.

Students are allowed one appointment per day up to three days a week. Our call hours for questions or scheduling are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For questions or concerns outside of those hours, please reach out to writingctr1@vcu.edu, but be aware we are unable to schedule appointments through email.

Appointment Times

We schedule our appointments in hour-long blocks, but your actual appointment time will be 45 minutes. We made this change to ensure we have time to disinfect our space between consultations and still see all students on time. Our new hours of operation starting in August 2020 are:

  • Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.: in-person and online
  • Monday-Thursday, 6-8p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 12-6 p.m.: online only
  • Sunday, 12 a.m.-6 p.m. MCV online only

How to Prepare

Come ready. Bring an online copy of guidelines or materials related to your project, along with any questions and concerns. You don’t have to bring a complete draft. Making an appointment just to clarify an assignment or generate ideas is fine and even encouraged. Be sure to download any documents that you want to share in the meeting beforehand!

Come early. If you come too close to your assignment’s due date, you might not have time to make all the revisions you’d like. Plus, this leaves time for you to come back for additional feedback at later stages.

Come ready to talk. You’ll accomplish the most when the session is a dialogue rather than a lecture. We won’t just edit your paper for you; we’ll work out ways to make it awesome together.

What to Expect

Even when we are social distancing and wearing masks, you can still expect the same VCU Writing Center experience. Consultations will be one-on-one and focused on your specific concerns and goals. Using all the tools at our disposal, your consultant will collaborate with you to make you a more confident writer.

During your session, you might brainstorm to find a strong topic driven by your interests and passions. Or you might create an outline, sorting through your ideas to figure out how they fit together. Maybe you’ll want to read through your first draft and talk about transitions, organization or tone. Or you might work together to polish your final draft.

We are happy to schedule appointments for any stage of your writing process. You don’t have to have anything written to use our services. You can have a consultation just to brainstorm ideas and find your best starting points.

  • Consultations will be 45 minutes long.
  • In-Person appointments must follow university social distancing and mask-wearing procedures.
  • Running a little late? After 20 minutes, your appointment will be marked as a no-show and you will need to reschedule.
  • Be sure to call the Writing Center front desk at (804) 828-4851 if you need help or to reschedule your appointment.

Following social distancing and health guidelines, the VCU Writing Center will not be taking drop-in appointments at this time. We prefer that you schedule appointments remotely, either online through our self-scheduling service or by phone (see directions below).

How to Schedule

During this time, we prefer students schedule appointments remotely online or over the phone. To make an appointment online, please visit our self-scheduling appointment system. Be sure to select the accurate service [Online UGrad, Online ELP, or In-Person Grad Consultation] when self-scheduling.

You must include your VCU email address in the Appointment Details in order for your appointment to be scheduled.

You may also call the Writing Center front desk at (804) 828-4851 to speak to a shift leader who can help you set up an appointment.

Working on a long-term project or need more than one appointment?

  • You can schedule one appointment per day. Sometimes our scheduling service, Navigate, will allow students to book more than one appointment per day. However, this is a program error, and the later appointment in the day will be automatically cancelled.
  • You can schedule up to three appointments per week.
  • You can schedule appointments as far in advance as you want, up through the end of the semester. Note: if you schedule an appointment in-person following a consultation, there is a limit to how many appointments you can make in the actual Writing Center (one appointment) as a way to respect our capacity limit and health guidelines. There is no limit to how many appointments you schedule online or over the phone.
  • To encourage distancing and maintain health guidelines, we ask that you continue scheduling online or over the phone.

For some additional tips on how to make the most of your appointment, select a header below:

  1. Log into Navigate at https://vcu.campus.eab.com/
  2. In the “Student Home” section, click the blue “Make an Appointment/DropIn” button on the right side of the screen
  3. In the “What type of appointment would you like to schedule?” drop down menu, select “Writing Consultation”
  4. In the “What can we help you with?” drop down menu, select the proper appointment. Be especially careful that you properly select in-person or online appointments and graduate or undergraduate appointments.
  5. Click the blue “Next” button
  6. In the “Where would you like to schedule your appointment?” drop down menu, select the desired location: Either Writing Center - MPC (Monroe Park Campus) or Writing Center MCV
  7. If you have a preferred Consultant, select them in the “Who would you like to meet with?” drop down menu. If you have no preference, leave blank.
  8. Click the blue “Next” button
  9. Select the desired date in the “Schedule Appointment” portal
  10. Select the preferred time of day (Morning or Evening), then select the desired appointment time. (Upon clicking, the time will be highlighted blue)
  11. Click the blue “Next” button
  12. Thoroughly read all information in the “Additional Details” section
  13. Enter your VCU email and any details for the appointment in the “Is there anything specific you would like to discuss with [Consultant Name]?” window
  14. Click the blue “Confirm Appointment” button
  15. Double check all of the details in the “Appointment Details”
  16. Done!
  • Your laptop (be sure it is charged!)
  • Draft(s) of your work, if applicable (Google Docs preferred. See our Google Docs Tips below for more information). We cannot use paper copies due to safety reasons, so be sure to have an online copy to share with your consultant.
  • A mask. This is a requirement to enter the Writing Center due to university policies. If you cannot abide for health reasons, your appointment can always be online via Zoom.
  • Selecting “No” in the VCU Daily Health Check. If you selected “Yes” to experiencing COVID symptoms, please reschedule your appointment or change it to an online Zoom session.
  • Open mind for revision

We ask that you do not send any documents ahead of time. Your consultant will not be able to read any drafts of your work prior to the time of your appointment.

After you schedule your appointment, you will receive a confirmation email with detailed instructions about how to use Zoom, as well as how appointments will work.

  • Be sure to read the email carefully before your appointment to avoid any issues or miscommunications.

At the time of your appointment, you will now complete self check-in online:

  • Log into Navigate at https://vcu.campus.eab.com/.
  • In the “Student Home” section, find the “Upcoming Appointments” section on the right side of the screen under the quick links and current visits.
  • In the “Upcoming Appointments” section, your appointment details will include the consultation type (online or in-person), the consultant (e.g. J. Doe), and the date & time.
  • Directly below all of this information, click the green button labeled, “Check-In Online.”
  • Upon clicking this button, a message will appear, saying, “You have checked in to see [Consultant Name] for [Consultation Type]. // Look out for an email, text, or phone call for next steps!”

At the time of your appointment, you will need to notify the Shift Leader that you’ve completed your self check-in.

  • After you have checked in, call the Writing Center to let the Shift Leader know you have arrived. If the phone is busy, gently knock on the door. Wait patiently in the lobby. This space is designated only for students awaiting their upcoming appointment.
  • You must complete self check-in before showing your VCU ID to the Shift Leader. A VCU ID is required for all consultations.

You and your consultant will address your goals for the appointment, and get to work! This will involve you reading any drafts you have prepared out loud. If you are using Google docs, you and your consultant will work in “Suggesting” mode (See Google Docs Tips below).

  • Reading aloud is a time tested revision tool - it’s a way to empower your voice and find your own mistakes.
  • You will be socially distancing during the consultation. Chairs are placed 6 feet apart and a plexi-glass divider protects the safety and wellbeing of both students and consultants. Please do not move the chair arrangement at any time during your appointment.

At the end of your appointment, you will now complete self check-out online:

  • Log into Navigate at https://vcu.campus.eab.com/.
  • In the “Student Home” section, find the “Current Visits” section under the quick links.
  • Click the red button labeled “Check Out” under the appointment details.

Please honor the 45 minute consultation end mark. These times are set to allow consultants enough time to prepare for upcoming meetings and to allow you to move smoothly to your next event.

  • Restore original Google Doc settings
    • Under the “View” tab, click “Mode” → “Editing.” (Consultants will work with you in “Suggesting” mode during your appointment.)
    • At the top right corner of your document, click “Share,” and select your consultant’s name and email address. Click the drop-down menu by their name and select “Remove.”
  • If you would like your consultant to email your professor or advisor, share the professor/advisor’s email address with the consultant before leaving
  • After an appointment is the perfect time to schedule another appointment!

Creating a Google Doc

  • Go to drive.google.com.
  • Click the “NEW” button, then “Google Docs,” then “Blank Template.”
  • Start drafting!

Sharing a Google Doc

  • At the top right corner of your document, click the blue “Share” button.
  • Enter your consultant’s VCU email address in the “Add people and groups” field and click send.
    • You can only do this after your consultant shares their email with you during the consultation.
  • You may see a note that asks if you want to share outside of your organization. Click “Share Anyway.”

Using Suggesting Mode

  • Click the “View” button in the menu bar (top of the screen).
  • Go to “Mode,” then enable “Suggesting.”
  • Any notes you or your consultant make will become suggestions for you to review later. This way, we remain collaborative even when remote.

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