Writing Center

The Writing Center aims to assist students in becoming more capable writers by engaging them in a dialogue with a friendly but critical reader about what they are writing at any stage of the writing process.

When and Where: Sunday through Thursday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday afternoons from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m in the  Media Commons area of the Lower Corbin Hallway

Who: Sunday – Ms. Wells; Monday – Mr. Wick; Tuesday – Mr. English; Wednesday – Ms. Gimbel; Thursday – Mr. Dozois

LFA Expository Essay Expectations

I. Introductory Paragraph contains 3 elements:

  • A. An introduction to the topic which includes the
    • textual or historical issue you wish to address
    • method for solving the problem or answering the question
  • B. A thesis statement which
    • concisely expresses a debatable claim
    • unifies the argument
  • C. A roadmap, which outlines the structure of the argument to be presented in the body of the essay

II. Body Paragraphs

  • A. The Topic Sentence must do 3 things:
    • Transition from the last paragraph if needed
    • Indicate what the paragraph will be about
    • Clearly link to the thesis statement
  • B. Supporting Points (a number sufficient to be persuasive) must
    • Introduce the evidence/example
    • Present the evidence/ example
    • Interpret/analyze the evidence and connect to the larger argument
  • C. Conclusion (if needed) must
    • Synthesize the focus of the paragraph by connecting it to the topic of the paragraph and the thesis
    • Lead to the next paragraph.

III. Concluding Paragraph should

  • A. Concisely sum up the argument (thesis) in a non-repetitive, unifying way
  • B. Not introduce new evidence
  • C. Reflect on the argument at a higher level by
    • suggesting possibilities for further analysis and/or
    • explaining why the argument developed in the essay matters and/or
    • applying the specific argument to a more general context

Citing Sources

All departments at LFA require a student to cite the sources used when writing an essay or paper or making a presentation. If the idea in the essay, paper, or presentation does not come from the student’s original thinking, its source must be cited.

The English and Fine and Performing Arts departments require all students to use the MLA method of citation.

The History Department requires freshmen and sophomores to use the Chicago method of citation. Juniors and seniors must follow the method required by their history teachers. The ESL Department requires the Chicago method for the ESL research paper as well.

The Language, Science, and Math departments allow students to choose either the MLA method or the Chicago method as long as the method is followed consistently in the paper or presentation.

Proofreading Checklist

The Big Picture:

  • Is the thesis clearly stated in the introduction?
  • Are the ideas in the essay clearly ordered?
  • Is the argument logically developed?
  • Are the body paragraphs adequately developed with specific information
  • Does each body paragraph have a clearly stated topic?
  • Does each body paragraph support the thesis of the essay?
  • Are there transitions between paragraphs?
  • Does the introduction lay out the major points of the essay?
  • Does the conclusion take your major points to the next level?
  • Have you avoided informal language and tone?
  • Have you used quotations and paraphrasing to avoid plagiarism using MLA or APA?

The Details:

  • Have you used spell-check?
  • Have you circled words that might be wrong and looked them up?
  • Is the sentence structure and length varied?
  • Are there comma splices, run-on sentences, or sentence fragments?
  • Have you used transitional words and phrases to connect ideas?
  • Are the verb tenses consistent?
  • Have you used strong verbs?
  • Have you minimized the use of passive voice?
  • Have you checked subject-verb agreement?
  • Does every pronoun have a clear referent?
  • Are apostrophes used for possessives, contractions, and missing numbers in dates?
  • Are there capital letters at the start of every sentence and every name of a person or place?


1. Who should I go to for help – my teacher or the Writing Center?

You should always seek help first from your teacher. She/he has the best understanding of what the assignment is and how you should go about it. However, if you are trying to work in the evening, when teachers are sometimes unavailable, a Writing Center tutor might be able to offer valuable guidance.

2. When should I go to the Writing Center?

Please come to the Writing Center as early in the writing assignment as possible. Coming in the night before the assignment is due will not give you or your tutor enough time to work thoughtfully. Coming days or even weeks in advance of the due date will result in the greatest benefit to you.

3. Will I get a better grade on my paper?

Writing center tutors can only make suggestions about areas that need improvement. They cannot improve your paper for you. The grade you receive on a paper will come from the work that you do.

4. How long will a tutor work with me?

The average session lasts between 15 and 30 minutes.

5. What will I have to do, if I go to the Writing Center?

What You Can Expect

Writing Center Tutors CAN:

  • help you come up with ways to approach an assignment
  • ask questions leading you to articulate your ideas
  • help you organize ideas into a working outline
  • help you think through organizational strategies, introductions, conclusions, development of ideas, and examples
  • work on problems of documentation
  • help you learn effective strategies for proofreading
  • help you to identify grammatical error patterns

Writing Center Tutors CANNOT:

  • provide answers
  • write the paper for you
  • proofread the paper for you
  • identify every error you have made
  • forecast your grade or lead you to expect a high grade
  • evaluate your teacher’s assignment or the grade you received on your paper

Writing Center Contact

Constance McCabe

ESL Department Chair, ESL Faculty