CCNY CWE Writing Center

CCNY CWE Writing Center

Summer 2024 Schedule | Tuesday, June 11th to Tuesday July 23rd

BEFORE YOU CONTINUE: please note that the CCNY CWE Writing Center is exclusively available for students currently enrolled in classes at the Division of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Center for Worker Education. Students from the main campus are kindly advised to seek assistance at

Our Consultants Are Here to Help

Writing consultants are available to help you develop your ideas and strengthen your writing through drafting, organization, revision, self-editing skills, and strategies. Writing consultants are not “correctors” or editors.

Consultants assist you with all kinds of writing: critical essays, response papers, persuasive essays, research projects, creative writing, autobiographical essays, speeches, summaries, and note-taking. You can request help brainstorming your ideas, writing a first draft, revising, and editing. Consultants are also prepared to assist you with quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing, and citing sources. All consultants have ESL experience.

Everything about the interactions between you and the writing consultant is in line with CWE’s central goal of helping you achieve independence in your writing, research, and learning. What does that mean? It means that, at the CWE, our writing consultants are here to help you refine your understanding of critical reading and writing, as well as research leading you to successful scholarship.

We look forward to seeing you,
The Writing Center Team

Online & In-Person Availability
Online or Zoom:
  • Tuesdays | 4:30 - 8:30 PM
  • Wednesdays | 4:30 - 8:30 PM
  • Thursdays | 4:30 - 8:30 PM
  • Wednesdays | 4:30 - 8:30 PM
  • Thursdays | 4:30 - 8:30 PM
Appointment Scheduling Instructions

To schedule an appointment, kindly email with your full name, Empld ID, phone number, and preferred available time frame. All appointments are scheduled for 30 minutes. If you need a longer appointment, please obtain approval from the director by sending an email to

Supporting Writing Material

General Writing - These Perdue OWL resources will help you with the writing process: pre-writing (invention), developing research questions and outlines, composing thesis statements, and proofreading.

Academic Writing - These Perdue OWL will help you with the types of writing you may encounter while in college. The OWL resources range from rhetorical approaches for writing, to document organization, to sentence level work, such as clarity. For specific examples of writing assignments, please see our Common Writing Assignments area.

How To Write a Thesis Statement 1 (PDF)

How To Write a Thesis Statement 2 (PDF)

Academic Integrity - City College’s policy on academic integrity.

Plagiarism and Paraphrasing - This OWL resource offers advice on how to avoid plagiarism in your work.

Research and Citation - It is very important to know what style of writing your instructor is requesting.

AccessAbility Center - If you having trouble understanding or completing your assignments, you may eligible to receive one hour session wit the writing consultants. The CCNY AccessAbility Center available to you.

16 Habits of Mind (PDF) - Habits of Mind is knowing how to behave intelligently when you DO NOT know the answer. It means having a disposition toward behaving intelligently when confronted with problems, the answers to which are not immediately known: dichotomies, dilemmas, enigmas and uncertainties.

HOCs and LOCs (PDF)

High Order of Concerns and Low Order of Concerns

When you are revising your papers or the writing consult is helping you with your essay, not every element of your work should have equal priority. The most important parts of your paper, often called “Higher Order Concerns (HOCs),” are the “big picture” elements such as thesis or focus, audience and purpose, organization, and development. After you have addressed these important elements, you can then turn your attention to the “Lower Order Concerns (LOCs),” such as sentence structure and grammar.

Keep in mind, however, that moving between HOCs and LOCs might be a natural process for you. Experienced writers may begin with HOCs and dip into the LOCs as they revise. Inexperienced writers may revise systematically through the HOCs and then the LOCs. In addition, LOCs, such as punctuation and spelling, may affect HOCs. For example, if the first sentence of your introductory paragraph is riddled with punctuation and spelling errors, readers may not move far enough into your work to get to your thesis statement. In these cases, you should address LOCs first.

Some HOCs
Thesis or focus:
• Does the paper have a central thesis?
• Can you, if asked, offer a one-sentence explanation or summary of what the paper is about?
• Ask someone to read the first paragraph or two and tell you what he or she thinks the paper will discuss.

Audience and purpose:
• Do you have an appropriate audience in mind? Can you describe them?
• Do you have a clear purpose for the paper? What is it intended to do or accomplish?
• Why would someone want to read this paper?
• Does the purpose match the assignment?

• Does the paper progress in an organized, logical way?
• Go through the paper and jot down notes on the topics of the various paragraphs. Look at this list and see if you can think of a better organization.
• Make a brief outline. Does the organization make sense? Should any part be moved to another part?
• Ask someone to read the paper. At the end of each paragraph, ask the person to forecast where the paper is headed. If the paper goes in a direction other than the one forecasted by the reader, is there a good reason, or do you need to rewrite something there?

• Are there places in the paper where more details, examples, or specifics are needed?
• Do any paragraphs seem much shorter and in need of more material than others? (For more help, see our handout on paragraphing.)
• Ask someone to read the paper and comment if something is unclear and needs more description, explanation, or support.

Some LOCs
Sentence structure, punctuation, word choice, and spelling
• Are there a few problems that frequently occur? Keep a list of problems that recur and check for those.
• Read the paper aloud watching and listening for anything that sounds incorrect.
• Ask yourself why you put punctuation marks in certain places. Do you need to check any punctuation rules? (For more help see our handouts on punctuation.)
• For possible spelling errors, proofread backwards, from the end of a line to the beginning.


Grammar - These Purdue OWL resources will help you use correct grammar in your writing. This area includes resources on grammar topics, such as count and noncount nouns, articles (a versus an), subject-verb agreement, and prepositions (look to the left tab for grammar introduction).

Punctuation - Punctuation is the use of conventional signs, spacing, and certain typographical devices as aids to the understanding and correct reading, both silently and aloud, of printed and handwritten texts. Click the link below to find rules and examples of punctuation from Purdue OWL.

Writing Dos and Don’ts - Making errors in your writing confuses the reader and distorts the message you are attempting to communicate. Use the below document as beginning list to improve your writing and your ability to communicate with your reader.

Fragments and Run-Ons 

MLA Formatting and Style

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.) and the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

MLA Essay Basic Organization Writing Guide

Introduction (top of hourglass: wide to narrow = general to specific)
Give a little background info/context to lead into the specifics of the paper
Thesis statement


Body Paragraph 1
P – point (topic sentence)
I – illustration (page #)
E– explanation (your analysis)
S – so what?
Link back to thesis

Body Paragraph 2
P – point (topic sentence)
I – illustration (page #)
E– explanation (your analysis)
S – so what?
Link back to thesis

Body Paragraph 3
P – point (topic sentence)
I – illustration (page #)
E– explanation (your analysis)
S – so what?
Link back to thesis

Conclusion (bottom of hourglass: narrow to wide = specific to general)

Sum up the paper.
Take it one step further: So what? Why is this significant? What does this mean for us?

Sample Outline

Introduction (top of hourglass: wide to narrow = general to specific)
Give a little background info/context to lead into the specifics of the paper: Throughout history and throughout the world, people have adopted different animals as pets. The dog, often referred to as “man’s best friend,” is one of the most popular types of pet in the United States. However, some breeds of dogs make better pets than others.
Thesis statement: Golden retrievers make good pets.

Body Paragraph 1
P– point (topic sentence): Golden retrievers are cuddly.
I – illustration: “According to a 2011 survey, 89% of participants found golden retrievers cuddly” (Diaz, 3, 2020) .
E– explanation: In other words, this survey, conducted among people who like dogs, but do not necessarily like or own golden retrievers, shows that cuddliness is an attribute commonly attributed to golden retrievers.
S – so what?: It is important that pets are cuddly. Most pet owners want to be able to cuddle with their pets.
Link back to thesis: Cuddliness is one reason why golden retrievers are good pets.

Body Paragraph 2
P: Golden retrievers are loyal.
I: According to a New York Times article by Dr. Gay, a golden retriever protected its owners from burglars. The burglars entered the Joneses’ apartment through the front door, leaving it open, and then began to harm the Joneses. Buddy, the Joneses’ golden retriever, attacked the burglars, protecting his family.
E: In other words, though Buddy was free to escape danger through the open front door, he remained faithful to his owners. This example supports the idea that golden retrievers are a loyal breed of dog.
S: Loyalty is a trait you want to surround yourself with.
Link back to thesis: Therefore, golden retrievers, like other loyal dogs, make good pets.

Body Paragraph 3
Link back to thesis

Conclusion (bottom of hourglass: narrow to wide = specific to general)
Sum up the paper: Golden retrievers have a lot of traits that make them good pets, traits like cuddliness and loyalty. It is important that pets are pleasant to hold and are true to their owners.
Take it one step further: So what? Why is this significant? What does this mean for us?: Studies have shown that having pets has benefits for families, the elderly, the depressed and the stressed. These different populations should consider adopting a golden retriever—this loyal and cuddly breed of dog could have a positive impact on their lives.
Works Cited (on its own page)

Sample MLA

Quotations and Paraphrasing

These two ways of incorporating other writers’ work into your own writing differ according to the closeness of your writing to the source writing.

 Quotations must be identical to the original, using a narrow segment of the source. They must match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author.

 Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly.

MLA Example of Quotation:

Blair and Lee observe, “In some urban classrooms, children arrive
without any notion of sharing behavior. If they have grown up as street survivors,
without strong early mediation for sharing, they may come to school ready to do battle to the death” (135).


“In some urban classrooms, children arrive without any notion of sharing behavior. If they have grown up as street survivors, without strong early mediation for sharing, they may come to school ready to do battle to the death”
(Blair and Lee135).

MLA Example: Original passage:

Annie Oakley’s life spanned years of tremendous change for American women. By the
time of her death in 1926, Americans were celebrating the liberated, urban-focused, modern times of the Jazz Age. Women had won the right to vote, wore less restrictive
clothes, and followed a changing ideal that was loosening some of the restrictions on women’s roles and behavior that had reigned through the nineteenth century.

Incorrect paraphrasing:
Annie Oakley’s life spanned years of significant changes for American women. By the
time she died in 1926, women had the vote, wore looser clothing, and embraced the freedom from restrictive 19th century roles and behaviors.

(Sounds too much like the original passage. Also the sentence structure is too similar to
the original text.)

Correct paraphrasing:
As discussed in the biography on PBS’s American Experience web page, sharpshooter Annie Oakley lived through a period of many liberating changes for women, from the Victorian era through the first quarter of the 20th century. Examples include voting rights
for women as well as the freedom to wear comfortable and practical clothing (Annie Oakley).

Download Quotation and Paraphrasing guide (PDF).

APA & Chicago Formatting Style

APA Formatting Style | APA Thesis Preparation (PDF)

APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 7th ed APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page.

Chicago Style Writing

This Perdue OWL resource link contains information on The Chicago Manual of Style method of document formatting and citation. These resources follow the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, which was issued in September 2010.

Students’ Testimonials

“I really liked coming to the writing center. The writing tutor made me feel more confident of my work instead of going into class feeling unprepared. It also kept me on task because I would have to finish writing or revise my work in order to have something to go over with my tutor. I am glad we have tutors here for us at CWE.”

“This program is very effective and efficient, and it doesn’t matter which writing consultant you see because they are all excellent. They always give me examples of excellent work to review so that my work can be just as good. Keep up the good work!”

“My tutor was extremely helpful, and every time I left, I had a much better understanding of the assignment, and I knew what I needed to do in order to improve my paper. I also love the video tutorial.

The writing tutor that I had was very friendly, she guided me through some grammar rules, and it changed the face of my paper. She gave me an example handout so I could go over it at home.”

“The writing center has been an excellent source for me to understand the repetitive mistakes I make in my writing and how to solve them. I am more aware of my grammar errors and other mistakes before I actually make them. The tutor gave me a handout on grammar, which will help me as I write my paper. It pays to visit the writing center.”

“I really didn’t think I needed the writing center, but my professor insisted. My grades went from a B to my final paper being an A-. After I viewed the video on writing an essay, it became clear.  The professor was right; now I go to the writing center all the time.”

“My experience with my tutor was awesome. He not only assisted me with my writing but also in my ability to analyze texts. I felt that he really cared about my growth as a writer. His feedback and the handouts with examples of how to analyze really helped me understand my errors, and he gave me suggestions I could use to better my writing style. Overall, the writing center is great.”

“The writing video is great. I watch it all the time to refresh my memory on how to start my introduction and thesis. Thank you because my writing improves with each essay I turn in.”

“Even though the writing center is closed because of covid, I can still get the help I need through video chats and by downloading help sheets. I did not know about the writing video until now. It is so helpful. I did not need to make another appointment because I had the video. I got a B+ on my paper and was sure I would get a C. The writing center website works!”

“Covid has been a nightmare, but I can still get my work reviewed through the zoom chats with the consultants, and watching the writing video is a great tool.”

“I miss face-to-face meetings at the writing center, but the writing video is helpful, and I can still meet on zoom. I am glad the writing center did not shut down completely.”

“I would like to see a video on grammar mistakes.”


Last Updated: 06/03/2024 13:27