Write Right at York U

Posted by Arshia on January 28, 2015

A Tale of Two Campuses

Most students have heard throughout high school that university life is full of big changes. By the time you’re in your senior year of high school, you can’t wait to get out and exercise the freedom of choosing exactly what you want to study, not have anyone tell you to go to class, and hang out in your on-campus residence. One major change that is the least of your worries is the increased workload and the high academic expectations. I was one of those students.

Writing an essay in university isn’t exactly easy. While you might be tempted to write an essay in “hamburger-style” like I was at the start of my first year (the way many high-school teachers teach their students), this may not be the best option. It definitely puts you in the right direction for organizing your ideas, but a university paper needs more than that.

York U is the place where you can learn how to write a great paper, one that is insightful and critical that leaves a lasting effect on the reader.  And the best part is, you don’t have to learn how to do this by yourself.


The Writing Centre in the Ross Building

The Writing Centre: the answer to all of your writing dilemmas.


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To make this post an easy and useful read, I’ve provided some answers to a few common questions, which I refer to as “CQ”.

CQ: Can I just drop by whenever I’m free?


Yes! The Centre has drop-in sessions which are about 15 minutes long with qualified writing instructors. They take place in 311 South Ross Building as well as the Learning Commons, which is located on the second floor of Scott Library.

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The door is always open at the Writing Centre (figuratively and perhaps literally as well) in the South Ross Building.

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15 minutes of writing instruction at the Learning Commons in Scott Library


When it comes to writing a paper, a lot of students are:


a) Incredibly confident that they know how to write the perfect paper

b) Completely confused on what the question even means

c) Somewhere in the middle of a) and b)


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Image Source


Whatever category you fall under, chances are, 15 minutes isn’t quite enough to answer all your questions. And this, my friends, is why you should book an appointment with the Writing Centre; it’s the most beneficial way to receive advice and really understand how to tackle the subject matter of your paper.

When you register with the Writing Centre, you’ll notice that they work with your schedule and offer a huge variety of time slots.

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Look at the incredible amount of time slots available!

 CQ: Ohh, so this is a proof-reading or editing service, right?


Nope. The purpose of the Writing Centre is not to just simply make edits to students’ work. The ultimate goal is to work with the student and help them to develop effective strategies when tackling each step of the writing process. You would be surprised at how much you can learn and strategize in a 50 minute session. During the first appointment I ever had with the Writing Centre, I learned a really useful way to conduct research for my essay: through York U’s Research Guides! York U makes it super easy to find books and scholarly articles as they’re all organized by subject.

The Writing Department also has some handy articles on essay writing, like their 10 Tips For Better Essays.

CQ: I’m not in a Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LAPS) program, nor am I taking any classes offered by that Faculty. Where do I go for help?


As the question suggests, so far I’ve only talked about the Writing Department’s Writing Centre, which can only be used by specific Faculties. But don’t worry, I’ve given you a bit of direction on where you can go for help.

Students enrolled in programs in:

  • Faculty of Environmental Studies
  • Faculty of Graduate Studies
  • Faculty of Fine Arts
  • Faculty of Health
  • Schulich School of Business

…can all use the writing services offered by the Writing Department’s Writing Centre, even if they are not taking a LAPS course.

Students enrolled in programs in:

  • Faculty of Science
  • Lassonde School of Engineering

and/or living in residence at Bethune College

…can use the Bethune Writing Centre. That’s right, this Writing Centre, located in Bethune College, is exclusively offered for those three groups of students.

Students enrolled in any program at York University can use the Glendon Writing Centre – where I’ve been to ask for help on a few of my core courses. Just like the Writing Centres at Keele, the Glendon Writing Centre provides individual appointments, online resources, and workshops, except this location offers these services in both English and French to all York faculties and departments. This is the perfect excuse to check out the Glendon campus, especially if would prefer the Writing Centre services in French.


CQ: What if I don’t have time to drop by the Writing Centre or even Scott Library?



Believe it or not, but York has a solution for you. In the hectic schedule you may have or even if you’re just feeling lazy, you can email your draft of whatever writing assignment you’re working on to a tutor at the Writing Centre and they’ll email you back with comments on any writing problems they notice. They’ll usually respond back between 48 and 72 hours, depending on the volume of online drafts they have to work on. Applying for this service is a breeze, and you can read student blogger Sunera’s previous blog post all about each step of the application.


Some helpful links that will save your academic career:


  • Purdue Owl – Even in university, there are plenty of moments when you forget how to cite a piece of work that that you’ve used in your research. This website is one you should definitely bookmark!
  • 40 Useful Words and Phrases for Top-Notch Essays – This is just one of the many websites on the internet that gives you a list of words that add some elegance to your writing.
  • Beware! Says Who? Avoiding Plagiarism – Understand the importance of Academic Integrity ideally before you enter university (there are serious consequences for plagiarism).
  • SPARK (Student Papers & Academic Research Kit) – an excellent resource offered by York U to help students have a clear understanding of how to start writing a paper.


So are you ready? Hopefully this gives you drive and confidence needed to write an impressive paper. Questions? Let us know in the comments below!


Arshia is a third-year international studies major at Glendon College. She no longer blogs regularly for the YU Blog but may post on occasion as a guest-blogger.

See other posts by Arshia

  • Avatar
    James Robertson


    I wanted to thank you for giving this information to students.

  • Avatar
    Tannia Burelo

    Could you please give the contact information? Thank you!