Required and Incentivized WRC Visits

If you are considering requiring or incentivizing your students to visit the WRC for a writing assignment, please read the information below, particularly the sections about making required WRC visits effective and preparing your students for their WRC visit.

We strongly recommend that you communicate with WRC Directors (, so we can prepare for your class and help you make your required visits a success.

  • Communicate with WRC Directors ( about your plans to require your students to visit the WRC. Directors will guide instructors through the process of making required visits successful.
  • Invite WRC representatives to your class for an Introductory Presentation. You can schedule presentations through our website at
  • Instructors can allow students to choose which writing assignment they’d like to bring to the WRC. For instance, if the students write three papers, require them to bring one of those to the WRC, instead of all three.
  • For large classes, consider offering an incentive instead of requiring students to visit the WRC. An incentive might be extra credit on the assignment or an extended deadline.
  • Be clear with students about why you are requiring visits to the WRC. Instructors strongly influence students’ perceptions of the Writing Center (Bishop, 1990; Wells, 2016), so we recommend that you become knowledgeable of the WRC’s mission ( and speak enthusiastically about the writing support we offer for your class but also for students’ future writing endeavors. Be careful not to frame the WRC visit as a punishment for deficient writing.
  • Explain to the students how to make an appointment with the WRC and/or give them time in class to schedule their appointments in advance. Our online scheduling system is located at
  • Encourage students to come to their visits with specific writing concerns and questions for their WRC tutor. Encourage them to take the session seriously even if they are initially skeptical.

After reading this information, you may not feel that a required or incentivized WRC visit works for you, but you still  may want to integrate peer review into your classes. A WRC representative can lead your class through a peer review workshop. You can schedule a workshop through our website at

At the end of every WRC session, students receive an email with a Client Report Form, which includes a brief note from their tutor reviewing their session. Students can then forward that email to their instructors as proof of their visit. Neither WRC Directors nor tutors will directly send information about client visits to outside parties.

Writing Center scholarship consistently demonstrates benefits for students who visit the writing center upon an instructor’s insistence:

  • Students who are required to visit the writing center often report positive outcomes for their writing (Clark, 1985; Gordon, 2008; Wells, 2016) and course performance (Gray & Hoyt, 2020).
  • Mandatory visits promote positive impressions of the Writing Center for students (Clark, 1985; Gordon, 2008; Wells, 2016, Gray & Hoyt, 2020) and help remove the stigma that the Writing Center is a place for struggling writers only (Bell & Stutts, 1997). 
  • Mandatory visits introduce students to a helpful resource they may never have visited otherwise (Clark, 1985; Gordon, 2008).

Scholarship also highlights potential pitfalls of requiring students to visit the writing center:

  • Students make appointments at the last minute, overflowing the WRC with clients (Bell & Stutts, 1997).
  • Required WRC visits from multiple different courses may cause overcrowding in the writing center, causing students to have difficulty scheduling an appointment (Gordon, 2008).
  • Students required to attend a session might display a negative attitude or emotion, such as apathy, annoyance, resistance, or hostility (Bell & Stutts, 1997). Students are often annoyed when first assigned the task of visiting the Writing Center (Gordon, 2008; Wells, 2016).

It’s important to note that pitfalls can be mitigated using the above strategies for making the required WRC visit effective and preparing students for their WRC Visit.

Bell, B. & Stutts, R. (1997). The road to hell is paved with good intentions: The effects of mandatory writing center visits on student and tutor attitudes. Writing Lab Newsletter, 22(1), pp. 5-8.

Bishop, W. (1990). Bring writers to the center: Some survey results, surmises, and suggestions. The Writing Center Journal, 10(2), 31–45.

Clark, I. L. (1985). Leading the horse: The writing center and required visits. The Writing Center Journal, 5(1), 31–34.

Gordon, B. L. (2008). Requiring first-year writing classes to visit the writing center: Bad attitudes or positive results? Teaching English in the Two-Year College, 36(2), 155-157.

Gray, R., & Hoyt, J. (2020). Changing attitudes: Impact of mandatory tutoring in writing centers. Curiosity: Interdisciplinary Journal of Research and Innovation, 1, 1-6.

Wells, J. (2016). Why we resist “leading the horse”: Required tutoring, RAD research, and our writing center ideals. The Writing Center Journal, 35(2), 87-114.