Planning for Writing Center Sessions at Residencies -->

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Planning for Writing Center Sessions at Residencies

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Whether you are planning to attend a doctoral in-person or virtual residency, the preparation process can be daunting. In terms of logistics, you may have to plan to take time off from work, find accommodations for family members or pets, or arrange a ride to the airport (just to name a few!). Not to mention, you have to emotionally prepare to interact with peers, faculty, and staff in a synchronous environment, which, for Walden students, is not the normal, everyday educational experience.

Planning for Walden U Residency

The preparation process can be a lot to handle, but as a doctoral student, you are used to preparing. For some, your entire doctoral career could be viewed as a preparation process for the next step in your professional career! So you know that preparing can pay off and result in a more productive experience.

Here are a few steps you can take to prepare for residency sessions led by Writing Center staff to improve your experience:

Bring Your Laptop
Now, if you are attending a virtual residency, you are likely not going to forget to bring your computer to residency sessions. But if you are preparing to attend an in-person residency, do make sure to bring your laptop to all Writing Center-led sessions. At both in-person and virtual residencies, you’ll be asked to complete activities, some of which require internet access. You might be asked to format an online journal article reference list entry, find a DOI number for a source, or add analysis to a MEAL Plan paragraph. Having the ability to view supporting materials and activity instructions from your laptop during residency sessions can be very convenient, especially if you’re nearsighted, like I am!

Bookmark the Writing Center’s Website
Speaking of the benefits of bringing a laptop to Writing Center-led sessions, bookmarking the Writing Center’s website home page on your primary web browser before the residency can save you a lot of time. In many Writing Center-led sessions, staff will guide you through the Writing Center’s website to find helpful resources, such as information about paper review appointments and what it means to synthesize. If you are able to easily access the Writing Center’s homepage, you can then follow along with the staff member as they navigate the Writing Center’s website. And once you know how to bookmark a webpage, you can bookmark webpages of specific interest to you as the Writing Center staff member shows you where to find answers to your APA and writing-related questions.

Write Down Your Questions
Have a burning APA question you want to ask an expert? Or maybe you’d like to know more about scholarly writing. Write it down! Create a Microsoft Word document or a note in your phone and type up all of your questions. Chances are we’ll answer many of your questions during the Writing Center-led sessions you attend at the residency, but if we don’t, feel free to ask! Writing Center staff are happy to answer your questions during residency advising sessions, during presentations, or after residency sessions (if your question is a little more intricate). As a bonus for those of you attending a virtual residency, if you have all of your APA and writing-related questions typed up, you can simply cut and paste them into the chatbox of the virtual environment in which we meet!

Even though, as a residency presenter, I find I am able to answer the majority of students’ questions without having to look up the answers, I still learn something new at every residency. So if you stump me with a question, good for us! We can locate the answer together. In any case, if you record your questions somewhere, you’re less likely to forget to ask them. And if you come up with questions after the residency ends, send them our way at

Your time is valuable, and spending some of your valuable time prepping for Writing Center-led residency sessions can help you get the most out of our sessions! We so look forward to seeing you at your next residency. 

Ellen Zamarripa author photo

Ellen Zamarripa
is a Writing Instructor and the Coordinator of Residency Planning for Walden University's Writing Center. She loves to teach and especially enjoys working with students asynchronously through paper reviews and then meeting them synchronously at residencies.

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