Center fOr Writing and Speaking (COWS)

We've mooved! Come see us in our new location in Olin East E 132!

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The Center for Writing and Speaking (COWS) has moved. We are now in Olin East E 132. We will open for consulatations starting on Monday September 8th!

NEW - click to see our spring 2014 newsletter!

Our Mission

The staff of the Center for Writing and Speaking is committed to working closely with students in order to meet their writing goals. Our aim is to provide students with a safe and receptive space in which to write, and with the tools they need to approach academic writing with confidence and zeal.

When can I visit the COWS? 

The COWS is open during popular study hours:

MONDAY 7 pm to Midnight
TUESDAY 7 pm to Midnight
WEDNESDAY 7 pm to Midnight
THURSDAY 7 pm to Midnight
FRIDAY 3 pm to 5 pm 
SUNDAY 2 pm to 5 pm & 7 pm to Midnight

Who are we?

We are a group of Whitman Students with plenty of experience writing college papers across disciplines. Want to know more? Visit our staff page!

Where is the COWS?

The COWS is located in Olin East, on the North side: Olin East E 132.

Who is the COWS for?

You! More specifically: anyone with questions about writing, with a writing assignment to work on, who wants a place to study, who wants to talk about words and language, who wants to play a word game, who is freaking out about a huge research paper and simply needs some comfort or solidarity, who has a burning question about grammar, who...

What is the best way for me to make use of the COWS?

(Skip to bottom for TL;DR)

Here is the ideal situation: you're scanning your syllabus when you notice a big paper due in a couple weeks. Knowing you'll do well to get a head start on the assignment, you immediately go to and make a one-hour appointment with a tutor who is majoring in a relevant subject. Leading up to the appointment, you think about what you want to focus on in your paper, and you jot down some ideas. Maybe you try writing a body paragraph or two. Maybe you sit down at the computer and draw a total blank. Either way, you come into the COWS still at the beginning of your process. Your talented and friendly tutor talks with you about the assignment, asks you questions about your ideas, helping you drive them further, and gently steers you in some helpful directions. Over the course of an hour, you find yourself gaining clarity on the task at hand. You leave feeling much more confident than when you arrived.

You work on the paper a bit. You find that your ideas are good, but you're having trouble figuring out how to put them all together. You've started a draft, but are having trouble finishing it. So you make another hour-long appointment, perhaps with that same tutor you liked so much, or maybe with a different tutor for a fresh perspective. You show up ready to work. The tutor gives you some techniques for structuring your essay effectively. She or he affirms that your ideas are really great, and that a lot of what you already have is wonderful stuff--plenty of raw material to work with. Over the course of an hour, you see your paper taking shape.

You leave fired up. Time to write! Time to tackle this big assignment! You've had two weeks to think about it; you've received helpful guidance, but the ideas, the work, is all still your own. You're feeling confident and proud. After a couple not-too-stressful nights in the library, you've got your beautiful draft in your hand. You recall a couple of proofreading techniques one of your tutors told you about, and you put them into practice. Or, you have a friend look over your paper for errors, in exchange for a candy bar. You walk into class the next day, drop that paper on your professor's desk, and sit down at your desk with a smile, feeling proud and happy. No matter what grade you get, you know you've done good work, and you've used the COWS to its full potential. And next time around, you'll feel readier than ever! 

(TL;DR - come early, come often, come at any point in the process, make hour-long appointments

What kind of help can I expect?

We are not a proofreading service. We are a group of highly motivated tutors who are students ourselves, and who understand the stresses of college writing. We will help you form and develop your ideas, work with the organization of your essay, and identify recurring problems. We'll offer strategies for proofreading your own papers, writing strong introductions and dazzling conclusions, and keeping a positive attitude throughout. 

What should I bring?

We strongly recommend that you bring in the assignment you are working on, so tutors can see the professor's specific language. Other than that, bring what you've written so far, whether it's electronic or on paper. Most of all, bring an optimistic attitude! That will help tremendously in taking on the task at hand. 

The COWS is well stocked with notepads, pens, glue sticks, sticky notes, coffee and tea, and other supplies. We also have our own computers and printers. 

What other resources are available to me? 

For some helpful tips and online resources, check out our COWS blog! It's here:

Did you know that all Whitman students have access to the Oxford English Dictionary Online? Simply click the link if you're currently on the Whitman network. If not, go to the Penrose Library site, click on "Finding Resources" → "Articles & Databases" → "English" → "Find Reference Works" → "Oxford English Dictionary"

How can I show my support?

The #1 way is by making use of our services!

Also, "like" us on Facebook!

Follow us on Twitter, @WhitmanCOWS

Visit our blog, at

Want to work for the COWS?

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