An Outreach First
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“How many of you knew there was a writing center that helped students with writing essays?” No hands went up. The response of this small group of Hispanic students, three in all, was the perfect motivation for our writing center to start an outreach program. During the first summer session in 2003, the Communication Skills Center (CSC) at Texas A&M-Commerce began a small outreach effort to help ESL students enter the university. This “reaching out” to ESL high school students started as a way for them to improve basic writing skills under the guise of test preparation. Using computer-based practices enabled the students to connect with the tutor, the computer, and each other. This development created an opportunity for the writing center to play an integral part in not only preparing these students for impending standardized tests, but also developing a relationship with new students from the start It also promises many benefits in recruiting, mentorship, bridging departmental gaps, and writing across the curriculum.