Seminary Writing Consultation Services

Seminary writing consultation (SWC) is a free service available for students in graduate degree programs at the Ashland Theological Seminary (ATS). The aim of the service is to collaborate with and mentor students as they explore ways to improve their graduate-level academic writing skills. The service includes both individual and small-group consultations; all consultations are confidential.

NOTE: Please see the "Policies" section below for instructions on how to submit a paper for assistance.

Why use SWC?

SWC is an important service for all Seminary students, especially those who have been away from academia for a while or international students adapting to Seminary study in the United States.

As you strive to become a better thinker and writer at the graduate level, our masters’ qualified Seminary Writing Consultants (SWCs) can help with the following issues:

  • Improving organization and structure
  • Enhancing word flow, clarity, and readability
  • Fulfilling APA or other formal style guidelines, including in-text citation and final documentation
  • Identifying and correcting grammar and punctuation errors

Please remember, however, that the SWC is not permitted to write or correct a paper for you.

Policies

Process for Consultations

Consultations are by appointment only, but your consultation can happen face-to-face, by e-mail, and via Blackboard’s virtual office hours interface; please choose the method that is best for you and that fits your schedule and work style.

Before submitting a paper for consultation, note the following guidelines for submission:

  • SCHEDULE: As soon as possible—at least 10 business days before your due date—e-mail to schedule a consultation. If possible, allow time for at least two consultations: one for a preliminary draft of your assignment and another for your final, revised version of the work. (See “Please answer the following questions,” below, for necessary information to provide in your initial e-mail; without that information, your paper may not be accepted.)

  • PREPARE: Before you email an appointment request to the SWC, do check the APA guidelines (see the links provided in the right side panel or use the print or online version of the APA manual) and use them to get your paper as close as possible to the proper format; doing this early on will not only save you time later but also reveal any particular aspects of APA that are causing you trouble or confusion. If your discipline requires a different citation method, you should consult guidelines for that method.

  • EMAIL: To request an appointment, submit the following information to SWC_group@ashland.edu

    • Your name, Professor, and major/program
    • The class for which you are writing the assignment
    • A brief description of the assignment including due dates

    You will receive a confirmation from the first SWC who is available to meet with you. The SWC will provide their ashland.edu email and will initiate a discussion on your preferred meeting format/schedule. If you need help generating ideas for your draft, the SWC is available to help with brainstorming and organization.

  • DRAFT CONSULTATION: Provide your SWC with:

    • (a) a typed (double-spaced), spell-checked, and proofread* draft of your paper;
    • (b) your major concern for the paper, as well as any secondary issues you’d like to have checked; and
    • (c) a copy of your assignment instructions if you have concerns about meeting the requirements. If you submit your paper by e-mail, please attach the paper as a Microsoft Word document. If you have questions about documentation (in-text citations or reference list entries), be sure to provide
    • (d) all pertinent information for each source: e.g., for books, title(s), author(s), and editor(s), publication date, publisher and publisher location, and pages if appropriate; for periodicals, title of journal and article, author(s), volume and issue numbers, date, and pages (from which you are quoting and for the whole article); for online sources, all of the previously listed information that you can obtain, including a sponsoring organization if applicable.
  • RESPOND: Once your draft has been returned with SWC input, do your best to revise; let the SWC know if you have further questions. If you would like to submit your revised draft for further input, begin again at the first step of this process (step 1).

    *Proofreading: locating and correcting problems such as spelling and minor punctuation errors, missing or repeated words, and careless mistakes

Small-Group Consultations

If you are working as part of a group for a project or paper, you may contact SWC with concerns about your own sections. In addition, if one person in the group has been elected as a group leader who “puts the pieces together,” that person is also welcome to send the entire paper to the SWC for an overall review of organization and structure, conformity with the assignment, and continuity in writing style.

A Few Words about Turnaround Time

SWCs make every effort to return student work as quickly as possible, but hours are limited and the service often becomes very busy near the middle and end of a term; therefore, to ensure an appointment, you are advised to schedule as soon as you know of an assignment, preferably at least 10 business days before the final due date and even well in advance. Some writers even schedule regular appointments throughout a term to ensure a time slot from week to week. Remember, it’s best to submit a draft version before the final version of your paper or project and, if there are questions about organization or structure, to include a rough outline with the draft.

NOTE: Any paper received less than 10 SWC working days before the requested return date may have to be declined. Papers received after Friday at 4:00 p.m. will be considered to have been received the following workday at 9:00 a.m. SWC Resources & Guidelines

Need More Info?


Who to Contact

Hours: By appointment (online appointments available)
swc_group@ashland.edu
(See “Process for Consultations” before emailing)