Writing Center Journal


This article contributes to the ongoing discussion of student characteristics and usage/nonusage patterns in the writing center. Using a sample of 107 economics students from a selective, bilingual liberal arts program in Russia, the author finds statistically significant relationships among GPA, gender, English-language proficiency, and writing center usage. Namely, writing center usage predicts higher GPA and closes two achievement gaps related to gender and English proficiency. These findings complicate the picture presented by Lori Salem (2016), whose research showed gender, low SAT score, and being an English language learner to be strong predictors of writing center usage and produced a lively discussion about whether traditional writing center methods could be failing the students most likely to use the service. The present study suggests that while users may have less systemic social privilege, they also tend to be stronger students. As such, interventions should take care not only to address the needs of the students who actually visit but explore barriers to writing center access for nonvisiting students who are at the highest risk of dropping out.