Academic Skills Writing Centre

Academic Skills is here to help you to develop the strategies you need to succeed in your studies at ANU.

The staff at Academic Skills see thousands of students of all levels and disciplines every year and as a result have a privileged insight into academic requirements across all ANU Colleges. The perspective that Academic Skills provides can help you to see your work in a new light, with benefits for first-year undergraduates through to final-year PhDs.

Our services

Peer Writing Service

Peer Writers are trained senior students who have been selected for their excellent academic records, writing skills and leadership qualities. A Peer Writer can give you quick advice on how to make your writing clearer, more concise and structured in a way that supports your key message. They can also advise on other aspects of your study, such as notetaking, exam techniques, referencing and semester planning. The Peer Writing Service operates at the Drop-in zone on level 3 of the Di Riddell Student Centre. The desk operates Monday to Friday from 11am - 1pm throughout the semester on a 15-minute drop-in basis-no appointment necessary.

Writing Coaches

Writing Coaches are experienced academic writers who advise undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students on any aspect of the scholarly writing process. Writing Coaches can help with breaking down the question, formulating a persuasive argument, structuring the piece, effective paragraphing and clear academic expression. Book in for a 30-minute consultation with a Writing Coach to work through a draft of your work, or simply come in to have a chat about getting started. Appointments with Writing Coaches are made through our online booking system and are available throughout semester. Appointments are held on level 3 of the Di Riddell Student Centre.

Senior Learning Advisers

Tailored to research students with longer and more complex pieces, an appointment with a Senior Learning Adviser can give you in-depth feedback on your writing from a non-disciplinary perspective, providing a fresh view of your argument, structure, paragraphs and sentences. You can chat to an Adviser about other aspects of your work, such as project milestones, research proposals, reading strategies, thesis structuring, chapter writing, seminar presentations and journal article preparation. Appointments with Senior Learning Advisers are made through our online booking system and can be made right throughout the year. Appointments are held on level 3 of the Di Riddell Student Centre.

What to expect

All of the services at Academic Skills are developmental. This means that we help you to develop your skills so you can use them independently of our services. In order to best support a developmental service, there are some necessary restrictions:

  • Booked appointments are limited to one every two weeks.
  • We will see a particular assessment piece only once.
  • We cannot see an assessment piece that is due on the day of the appointment.
  • We do not edit, proofread or grammar check.
  • We do not advise on the disciplinary content of your work. Your tutors, lecturers and supervisors are the best resources for content-specific advice.
  • We cannot estimate a likely grade for your work.
  • We will only see work directly related to an ANU course of study. For example, we do not advise on IELTS tests, CVs or resumes, job applications or applications to other universities.
  • We do not see take-home exams.

We have a zero tolerance policy for abusive or threatening behaviours directed at staff or students. This includes shouting, swearing, threats, name calling, racist comments and inappropriate gestures. Without exception, those who abuse will be required to leave our offices immediately and will no longer be able to access this service.


Booked appointments with Writing Coaches and Senior Learning Advisers are for 45 minutes and start on the hour. Please submit any drafts online by 8:30am on the day of your appointment or your writing will not be considered. If your draft is over 6,000 words, please submit it at least one working day in advance in order for us to consider your work to the level of detail you might expect.

For group assignments, advise us as early as possible so we can organise a room large enough for the entire group.

Drop-in sessions with the Peer Writing Service are for a maximum of 15 minutes and operate on a first-come first-served basis. You may need to be prepared to wait for the next available Peer Writer, particularly at peak times of the semester.

  • We cannot see work for courses from the Crawford School of Public Policy or the Military Studies Program (Australian Command and Staff College). These areas have their own support staff.
  • ANU College students can use our services if enrolled in Diploma or Associate Degree programmes only.
  • We ask that you do not record the consultation.


Our services are very popular. In order to provide a fair system for all students, we have some guidelines around appointment cancellations.

  • If you are no longer able to attend a booked appointment, please cancel as soon as possible. You can cancel either online or over the phone.
  • If you cancel within 24 hours of your appointment, you will need to wait two weeks before your next appointment.
  • If you fail to attend an appointment, or cancel within the 24 hour period more than once, you will not be able to make another appointment that semester.