Writing Center

Need Help with Your Writing Project?

The Cedar Rapids Writing Center will only be conducting virtual consultations.

The Writing Center helps students of any level of ability to improve all aspects of their writing. We're here to help at any stage of your project, from brainstorming ideas, organizing thoughts, and developing arguments to explaining concepts and processes, editing, and proofreading.

We Are Here for You!

While the Writing Center is not a proofreading service, instructors assist students in becoming better readers of their own work and developing their writing skills. The Writing Center is available to help students with writing tasks in any class, with personal writing, and for applying for jobs and scholarships.

On campus, we are located in 2080 Cedar Hall, and our Center for Online Writing (COW) is always available. 

More Information

Schedule an appointment. If you don't have an appointment scheduled, we will work with you on a drop-in basis.

8 – 8:55 a.m. Closed Closed Closed Closed Closed
9:05 – 10:05 a.m. Elizabeth Dickhut Gina Larson Gina Larson Gina Larson Marci Bowden
10:10 – 11:10 a.m. Elizabeth Dickhut Kasey Hullett Gina Larson Gina Larson Steve Price
11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Elizabeth Baertlein Kasey Hullett Elizabeth Baertlein Elizabeth Dickhut Sondra Gates
12:20 – 1:20 p.m. Barbara Lau Elizabeth Dickhut Gina Larson Elizabeth Dickhut Elizabeth Dickhut
1:25 – 2:25 p.m. Barbara Lau Barbara Lau Gina Larson Steve Price Barbara Lau
2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Steve Price Steve Wolcott Steve Wolcott Steve Wolcott Barbara Lau
3:35 – 4:35 p.m. Steve Wolcott Barbara Lau Janis Bultman Steve Price Closed
4:40 – 5:40 p.m. Steve Wolcott Barbara Lau Janis Bultman Steve Price Closed

Welcome to the COW!

We are open and happy to help you with your writing. Please read this page and then go to the Procedure for Using COW.

Our Mission:

Our goal is to provide quality feedback for students taking courses at any Kirkwood location (including online) and for students from every discipline.

Writing Center faculty are full and part-time instructors at the college who are committed to meeting the needs of Kirkwood Community College's varied and broad student population. We embrace the Kirkwood Community College commitment to lifelong learning and welcome the opportunity to help you become a more confident and competent writer.

Note to Faculty:

So that we can accommodate students from diverse academic disciplines and respond to student requests within 48 hours, we kindly ask faculty not to direct an entire class to our site for feedback or require students to use our services.

Below are links for the face-to-face writing centers, and we hope these centers will also be available to help students in Fall 2020.

Note: After reading these instructions, please go to the Procedure for Using COW.

You are welcome to request help with something general or specific. Have a look at the suggested criteria provided below. Because our goal is primarily educational, we do not proofread papers, correct APA or MLA style, or tell you what grade the paper will earn. Doing so would make us better editors but would not help you improve your writing.

Papers should be five pages or shorter. If you submit a longer paper, we will do our best to cover one topic concern (such as organization, thesis, or transitions).

Criteria for Effective Papers:


  • Is the purpose of the paper clear and accomplished?
  • I'm supposed to be describing an event. Have I?


  • Is the topic fully covered enough to satisfy my reader?
  • Where would readers probably want more information, or where might they be confused?
  • Did I explain my subject enough? Should I include more information?


  • Does the paper exhibit a purposeful plan and maintain its focus? 


  • Do any errors interfere with the paper's message?


Are sources documented? [Note, we will flag areas of the paper that need documentation or inconsistencies in usage.] Please consult the APA and MLA links provided on the site; we are not responsible for making sure your paper is properly documented.

Other Examples:

  • Does the introduction grab reader's attention and establish a clear purpose?
  • How might the paper support its argument further? (It sounds weak so far.)
  • I don't like my conclusion. How do you react to it?
  • All my sentences seem to sound the same. Any advice?

Help for Citing Sources in MLA and APA

How do I cite sources using MLA?  Click here for help: http://guides.kirkwood.edu/citation/mla

HOW do I cite sources using APA? Click here for help: http://guides.kirkwood.edu/citation/APA

Note: If you receive a message that the queue is filled, please resubmit your paper. You may have to wait a day or two to do so, just as you would if all appointment slots were full at one of the Face-to-Face Writing Centers.

How to Use the COW (Center for Online Writing)

We offer free writing advice for students in all discipline areas.

How does the COW work? Do I need an appointment?

No appointment is needed! Submissions go to a queue and a writing center faculty member responds directly to your Kirkwood email.

IMPORTANT! Submit using your full name: jane-doe@student.kirkwood.edu
Our system cannot respond to your k number email account and our response to your help request will be delayed. *Use a - to separate first and last name.

How can the COW help? Will the COW proofread my paper?

Need advice on how to where to add details or improve flow? Want to make your opening catchier or tighter? Need help with focus, thesis, or paragraphing? If so, we can assist. While we will help you identify patterns of errors (such as fragments) and learn how to fix them, our mission is to help you learn rather than correct.

How do I know the COW has received my paper?

After you submit your work, this message will appear: Success! Your paper has been submitted to the queue. *Note, if our queue is full, please resubmit your paper. You may need to wait one or two academic days to do so.

Ready to get help? 

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