“…nothing is more important than to acquire a facility of developing our ideas on paper”  –Thomas Jefferson

What We Do

The Writing Center, housed in the Library, will have a dedicated staff to help students with writing assignments at any stage.  Coaches can help students begin, organize, draft, revise, and finalize essays and papers.  They can also advise on correct crediting of resources.  For those students most accomplished in writing, coaches can serve as a peer to help extend the quality of writing - be it tone, structure, or flow.

The objective of the Writing Center is to help you get your “ideas on paper” in a clear and articulate fashion. We want all students at MSA to make their research papers, science writing, and analytical essays the absolute best they can be. Toward this goal, the Writing Center will help students to:

  • formulate a clear and arguable thesis

  • write an engaging introduction

  • organize their ideas into paragraphs

  • format the essay and cite all sources according to MLA style

  • avoid plagiarism.

While thorough instruction about each of these skills appears in the MSA Writing Manual, we are here to help you apply all that information.

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How It Works

Once you sign up, you will be assigned a Writing Coach. Coaches are 11th and 12th graders who have been selected from A.P. English classes. You will meet three times with your Coach:

  • In the Prewriting Session, you and your Coach will brainstorm claims, develop an outline, choose quotations, and work on your introduction.

  • In the Drafting Session, you and your Coach will read over your first draft, with an emphasis on strengthening your argument and improving organization.

  • In the Polishing Session, you and your Coach will work on the fit and finish of your essay by focusing on citations, format, and style.

Coaches will work individually with students on any academic essay they have been assigned. Teachers are encouraged to recommend that specific students work with Writing Center coaches.

  • Emphasis on Time-Management, good writing takes time, the Writing Center will help students avoid procrastination, which is a common cause of poor writing and can even lead to plagiarism. Students will be assisted in breaking essays into manageable steps, which will alleviate some of the pressure of writing – especially longer papers. The Writing Center operates on a clear and structured timetable:

  • Prewriting – 8 or more days prior to the due date

  • Drafting – 5 to 7 days prior to the due date

  • Polishing – 3 or more days prior to the due date