Writing Studio Working for You

As final essays pile up, the on-campus writing studio locations at Atterbury Student Success Center and Miller Nichols Library boast a record number of student visitors. On Wednesday, Nov. 30, this crowd included Christine Ho, a freshman studying entrepreneurship. Ho stared at her laptop with unwavering focus until a tutor gestured to a studio desk and enthusiastically called out, “I can help you right over here!”

The two discussed Ho’s variety of writing concerns, from organization and word choice to smaller grammatical details. A basket of toys, including colorful stress balls, Slinky’s and Etch-A-Sketch boards sat on Ho’s right, in case she or other students wanted to fidget and play away their nerves.

The writing studio wall emphasizes their focus on collaboration.

The writing studio wall emphasizes their focus
on collaboration.

“I feel so much more confident in my essay,” Ho reflected after her 25-minute consultation. “I feel great about it.” Health Science student Griffin Irvine affirmed this positive experience.

“I was nervous because I’m not the strongest writer, so I thought I might be judged,” Irvine said. “But instead they helped me with any issues I had with my paper, and I got it to where it needs to be.”

Help and feedback on writing stands out as a crucial component of the current university setting. According to a 2011 nationwide study from the National Assessment of Education Progress, only 24 percent of high school seniors achieve proficiency in writing, and a mere three percent can be categorized as “advanced.” These seniors soon begin college, where writing intensive classes, long writing assignments and confusing citation rules abound. To add to that pressure, larger classes make for busier, less hands-on instructors.

“A lot of times professors don’t have the time to teach students how to write,” said Kara Kynion, the studio’s graduate writing specialist. “So [by] coming in and working with a consultant, you usually learn something that you can take with you for the next piece of writing that you do.”

Consultant Jessica Gettleman works with health science student Mikayla Garrels.

Consultant Jessica Gettleman works with health
science student Mikayla Garrels.

Kynion’s description of the studio’s benefits aligns with student feedback. According to the department’s post-session survey, 81 percent of student visitors felt “extremely satisfied” after their appointment. 99.74 percent indicated that they would utilize writing studio services again. An overwhelming 99.24 percent reported that they would recommend the writing studio to their fellow students.

“They must come here!” Ho exclaimed. “I saw a huge difference in my grades [between] when I did not come here to after I came here, they got so much better.”

Students and community members can make appointments at the writing studio at www.tutortrac.umkc.edu. They can also visit the walk-in location at Miller Nichols Library from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.



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