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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Writing, Speech, & Languages Center FAQs

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What happens in a Writing Conference?

Although individual conferences are tailored to a specific writer's needs, in general, consultants will:

  • ask questions about your writing situation;
  • listen to your concerns;
  • work with you to identify patterns in your essays;
  • suggest relevant prewriting, writing, or revising strategies; and
  • provide objective, constructive feedback on your writing processes and papers.


During a conference, you may be reading your work aloud, generating ideas, developing a plan for writing or revising, and other assorted tasks.


The purpose of a writing conference is:

  • to ensure that you are an active participant who retains complete authority over your work
  • to help with your long-term development as a writer
  • to focus on recognizing the choices you make as a writer and the impact these choices have on your text and its intended audience
  • not to produce a technically perfect paper, but to help you develop skills and strategies that will help not only with one paper, but with future writing assignments


 Consultants will not discuss or guarantee grades, offer an opinion on the assignment, or provide copyediting services.


Note: Drafts longer than 4-6 pages may require more than one conference.


How does online tutoring work?

Online tutoring allows distance learners and non-traditional students to work with a trained writing tutor without being on campus. To use online tutoring:

  • Log into TutorTrac with your StarID and password
  • Schedule an appointment in the CAS - Online Writing Center
    • For a Document Upload - No Meeting appointment, upload your document to your appointment. Your tutor will upload written feedback within 24 hours.
    • For a Real-Time Audio/Video/Text Chat appointment, meet with a tutor online during your appointment time by clicking the link sent to you via email.

Note: Drafts longer than 4-6 pages may require more than one conference.


What kinds of papers can I bring to the Writing Center?

We work with students on various types of writing, including but not limited to:

  • Papers for all undergraduate courses
  • Graduate papers, theses, and APPs
  • Personal statements for graduate school
  • Scholarship applications
  • Business and professional letters
  • Teaching philosophies and portfolios


How can the Writing Center help me?

We work with students on all aspects of their writing, including:

  • Understanding and managing writing assignments
  • Overcoming writer's block
  • Brainstorming and idea generation
  • Outlining and organizing essays
  • Developing thesis statements
  • Crafting and supporting arguments
  • Drafting, revising, and editing strategies
  • Using and citing sources
  • Coaching on language, grammar, and mechanics


Who works in the Writing Center?

Our writing consultants are comprised of Graduate Assistants and Peer Tutors from a variety of academic disciplines. Selected on the basis of their strong interpersonal and academic skills, they are qualified to assist all students at any skill level with papers from any program.

Our modern language consultants have completed at least one year of study in the language and received an A in the courses they tutor. Some tutors have native or near-native proficiency in the language.


Do I need to have a complete draft of my paper in order to work with a writing consultant?

Not at all. We welcome students at all stages of the writing process.


Do I need to be enrolled in a modern language course in order to work with a modern language consultant?

Enrollment is not required. Modern Language tutoring is open to all students who want to improve their skills.


Which languages does the Writing Center support?

The languages we support vary each semester based on student interest and tutor availability. Tutoring in modern languages is also available through the Department of World Languages & Cultures.


Are appointments required?

Writing appointments are strongly recommended, but drop-ins are welcome. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that students without appointments will be seen. Scheduling an appointment in advance is the only way to ensure that you will be able to meet with a consultant on a specific day and at a preferred time.

Appointments are not needed for drop-in hours in the library (ML 1027 & ML 109).


How far in advance should I schedule an appointment?

Because our appointments are on a first-come first-served basis, we recommend scheduling your appointment at least one week before the paper's due date. During high demand weeks (such as midterms and finals), we recommend that you contact us two to three weeks in advance.


What are the Writing Center's hours of operation?

Monday - Wednesday 9am - 7pm

Thursday 9am - 5pm

Friday 9am - 1pm

We offer online evening and weekend hours through our Online Writing Center.

We also offer drop-in hours on the first floor of the library (across from the Reference desk):

  • Sunday: 7pm - 9pm
  • Tuesday: 7pm - 9pm
  • Wednesday: 7pm - 9pm


How can I make an appointment?

Students can make an appointment by:

  • Using our online scheduler 
  • Visiting the Writing Center in person at Memorial Library 116
  • Calling the Center for Academic Success at 507-389-1791


What if I have a complaint or a suggestion about the Writing Center?

The Director of the Center for Academic Success and Assistant Director for Writing & Languages would love to hear from you. Please send us an e-mail at