Writing Center

For Our Student Clients

Welcome to Lake Forest College’s Writing Center.

We are glad you are here!

We are a team of committed peer tutors and writing professionals here to serve your writing needs. From the initial brainstorming process to the last editing stages, we are enthusiastic about helping you craft your best paper yet. 

Click here to learn about the different appointments we offer. 

Keep exploring this page for handouts and exercises to help you build your skills independently. Better yet, print out a resource that you find interesting and bring it to your next Writing Center appointment.  

Reading Complex Texts

Academic texts can be difficult to comprehend, let alone write about. To help, we have gathered some helpful strategies. Use the following handouts as note-taking and pre-writing guides. 

Reading Before You Write: Active Reading and Summarizing Strategies (PDF)

Building Critical Reading Skills (PDF)

Reading Difficult Scholarly Sources (PDF)

Example Reading Notes: Save Time by Annotating (PDF)

Getting Words on the Page

The best way to improve your writing is to write early and write often. Refer to the strategies presented in the handouts below to jumpstart a productive writing process. 

Brainstorming: Questions to Focus Your Thoughts (PDF)

Ten “Moves” Scholars Make to Find Meaningful Tension (PDF)

Outlining Your Paper: A Guide (PDF)

Three Outline Stages: How to Develop an Argument Plan (PDF)

Backwards Outlining (PDF)

Revising with the Backwards Outline (PDF)

Revision Checklist (PDF)

Creating and Organizing Argument

Use the following handouts to assess your argument’s organization. 

Preparing to Write the Analysis Paper (PDF)

Developing Ideas into a Working Thesis Statement (PDF) 

Building a Thesis Statement (PDF)

Developing the Thesis Statement(PDF)

Revising and Fixing Weak Thesis Statements (PDF)

Using They Say, I Say to Draft Introductions (PDF)

Structuring Introductions (PDF)

Structuring Body Paragraphs (PDF)

Analyzing Evidence (PDF)

A Writer’s Word Bank: Language for Argument Development (PDF)

Constructing the Counterargument (PDF)

The Thesis and Conclusion Connection: How to End Your Paper (PDF)

Structuring Conclusions (PDF)

Using Evidence

Writers use outside sources to substantiate their arguments but also to enter into a particular conversation. When you write, imagine yourself entering a conversation with the authors of the texts that you discuss.

To effectively enter the conversation, you must do two things: frame the evidence within your own argument and attribute the idea or quotation to the correct source. The following resources can help you accomplish both goals. 

Ways to Use and Present Evidence (PDF)

Discussing Evidence Using They Say, I Say (PDF)

Framing Quotations (PDF)

Simple Guide to APA and MLA In-Text Citation (PDF)

Online Plagiarism Quiz

Editing Independently for Grammar and Style

The first draft of your paper is just the beginning. After you revise your argument using a strategy like backwards outlining, you still must examine your sentences to ensure that they are grammatically correct and as clear and concise as possible. The following resources will help you edit independently.

The Paramedic Method (PDF)

Tips for Writing Concisely  (PDF)

Improving Sentence-Level Clarity (PDF)

Clarity Checklist (PDF)

Editing for Concision: Signposts of Syntactic Doom (PDF)

Building Sentences: Phrases, Clauses, Comma Use

Varying Sentence Structure: Four Basic Sentence Types and Modifying Phrases 

Online Grammar Quizzes

Staying Organized During the Research Process

Research projects are exciting opportunities to enter conversations with scholars and researchers. However, disorganized research can make the process frustrating, at best, and unsuccessful, at worst. Use the resources below to ensure that your research project is thorough and well-organized.

Starting a Research Paper (PDF)

Staying Organized throughout the Research Process (PDF)

How to Draft Effective Research Introductions (PDF)

Evaluating Resources and Creating an Annotated Bibliography (PDF)

Overcoming Procrastination and Writing Anxiety

At one point or another, everyone procrastinates. However, procrastination undermines the writing process and, ultimately, hinders writers from producing their best writing. Of course, procrastination also causes anxiety and nervousness. Use the following resources to jump start your writing process and to get the support you need to write successfully. 

Getting Started: Assessing the Assignment (PDF)

Overcoming Writing Anxiety (PDF)

In-Text Citation Guides

Do you have questions about in-text citation expectations? Use the following guides. Still confused? Refer to Diana Hacker’s A Pocket Style Manual, visit the Writing Center, or ask a reference librarian for help. 

MLA In-Text Citation Guide (PDF)

APA In-Text Citation Guide (PDF)

Chicago In-Text Citation Guide (PDF)

Grammar and Style Review

Has your professor requested that you resolve a persistent grammar or style error? Would you like to become more familiar with the grammatical building blocks of sentences? The modules below will help you diagnose gaps in your grammatical and stylistic knowledge. Once you complete a module, bring the completed module to a Writing Center tutor. S/he can help you understand the concepts that are confusing you. 

Comma Splices (PDF)

Commas after Introductory Clauses or Phrases (PDF)

Misplaced Modifiers (PDF)

Misuses of Semicolons and Colons (PDF)

Passive Voice (PDF)

Pronoun-Antecedent Disagreement (PDF)

Repetitive Sentence Structure (PDF)

Sentence Fragments (PDF)

Subject-Verb Agreement (PDF)

Unparallel Structure (PDF)

Using Gender-neutral Pronouns (PDF)

The College Guide to Brushing Up on Grammar and Style

Want access to all of the above files?

Download the Student Resources File!