Writing Center FAQs
What does the Writing Center do?
Writing consultations are a form of one-on-one writing assistance. They offer you the opportunity to discuss your concerns and the specific needs of your writing project with one of our trained consultants. In other words, writing consultations are conversational, student-guided, and focused on the individual needs of your writing project.
We welcome with students of all levels and abilities and at all stages in the writing process.
Do I need to pay a fee to use this service?
No. The Writing Center is a support program that supplements classroom instruction. It is a free service that is open to all UMN Crookston students.
When do I need to see a writing consultant?
You can schedule a consultation for any concern you have related to your writing. Some of the most common problems we hear are…
- I don’t know how to get started.
- I need help brainstorming.
- I’m not sure what a thesis statement is.
- I’ve never written for this audience or in this style before.
- I don’t know how to find or evaluate sources.
- I need to practice a presentation or speech.
- I need feedback from an outside reader.
- I feel like there’s something wrong with my paper, but I don’t know what.
- I don’t understand APA/MLA/CSE/ACS/etc. citation style.
- I have difficulty with English grammar.
- I need help interpreting my instructor’s comments.
What are writing consultations like?
In a typical writing consultation, a student sits down one-on-one with a writing consultant to discuss their concerns about their writing project. The consultant will help the student identify strengths, weaknesses, and strategies for improvement. The consultant will NOT proofread, correct, or “fix” a student’s paper, nor will they evaluate the paper or suggest a grade.
What do I need to bring?
When you come to your consultation, bring a copy of your assignment description or prompt, along with your current draft and research notes, instructor comments, or any other materials related to your paper. You might also want to prepare a list of questions or issues you’d like to discuss with your consultant.
How long is a consultation?
All consultations are now 45 minutes long. We ask that you respect your consultant's time and stick to this limit, so that they can use the last 15 minutes of your one-hour slot to write your follow-up email and get ready for their next student.
Generally, 45 minutes is enough time to look over 3-4 pages of writing. If you believe you will need more time, talk to your consultant about scheduling a follow-up appointment. The writing center gives priority to one visit per day and three visits per week for each student. While we are happy to look at multiple drafts of your paper, we do set a limit of three appointments per assignment.
Will a consultant proofread my paper?
No. A consultant will not proofread, correct, or “fix” your paper, nor will they suggest a grade for a paper. However, the consultant will help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your writing, discuss strategies for improvement, and help you proofread and edit your own writing.
Do I need an appointment?
We encourage students to schedule live consultation appointments so that they have a time slot guaranteed for their consultation. To sign up for an appointment, click on the “Make/Change an Appointment” button and follow the instructions. You can book a session up to two weeks in advance. Walk-ins are subject to consultant availability.
If you are an online student, you may request a synchronous tutoring session on Zoom but using the “Make/Change an Appointment” button and selecting a time that works for you or you may request asynchronous feedback by clicking “Email Feedback Request.”
Will my class instructor know that I used the Writing Center?
Not unless you want them to. If you do want a note to give to your instructor, let your consultant know.