Writing Center Frequently Asked Questions

Writing Consultants can help with any academic writing assignments - from history to theology, nursing to literature - at any stage in the writing process.

  • Are you stuck and dont know where to begin? We can help you brainstorm.
  • Are you almost finished but ca't figure out how to reach your assigned word count? We can help you expand your current ideas.
  • Are you completely done and just want someone to check your work for accuracy and glaring errors? We can teach you the tools you need to look critically at your work.

Absolutely. The Writing Center serves undergraduate and graduate students in all academic disciplines.

All writing consultants read the latest composition and pedagogy theories and receive special training on tutoring non-traditional, ESL, and graduate students alike.

Is assistance available for e-learners and students at offsite centers?

All students are welcome to visit the Mequon campus for an in-person consultation.

E-learners and students from offsite centers have the option of using our Online Writing Lab (OWL). We receive essays submitted by students online, ask questions, make comments about the work, and return the essay within 3-5 working days (5-7 working days during winter, summer, and spring breaks).

To learn more about the OWL, please visit www.cuw.edu/owl.

Graduate students have the option of using either an in-person consultation or the Online Writing Lab, whichever best suits their needs.

To learn more about the OWL, please visit www.cuw.edu/owl.

Writing Center consultants start with higher-order concerns (thesis, argumentation, organization, paragraph development) and work their way down to lower-order concerns (punctuation, grammar, spelling, citation).

When you come to your appointment, your consultant will:

  • Ask you about the goal of your assignment
  • Ask you to read it aloud while the consultant listens and takes notes
  • Talk with you about any questions or issues either of you saw, starting with the higher-order concerns and moving on to the lower-concerns as time allows

Consulting is very conversation-based, so expect to actively participate in the consultation process.

Rather than editing your paper for you, the consultant is there to discuss issues and help you learn how to fix them on your own, so instead of just producing a better paper, you become a better writer.

Please bring a description of the assignment guidelines, and if you have an outline or a written draft, please bring that as well. You may also bring class notes or handouts explaining the project, sources that you want to use and any brainstorming or questions that you have.

We promote minimalist tutoring, which means that the consultant is there to help you learn how to improve your writing rather than fix every small error.

The consultant's role is to explain ways to develop your writing and to provide encouragement as you make progress on your paper.

Ultimately, the goal is for you to become a better writer. This way you can consistently turn in better papers, rather than turning in just one good paper that someone else has fixed.

The Writing Center is for everyone. Writing is the kind of craft that you never stop improving or perfecting, and the Writing Center consultants want to help you with that process.

You can visit the LRC office in LU 200 and talk to the student desk worker Monday-Friday from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm.

You can also visit tutortrac.cuw.edu.

  • Login to TutorTrac using your portal student ID and password
  • On the right side, under the drop-down list labeled "Center" choose either the Writing Center Library or LRC location
  • To view all possible availabilities this should be the only search criteria noted
  • Click on "Search"

Each appointment is scheduled to be an hour long; whether you use the entire hour is up to you.

If you need more than one hour of consultation per week, talk to the director of the Writing Center, Celeste Berrington. Explain your circumstances and your request, and she will try to work things out with you. Requests will be granted based on our center's ability to accommodate you at that specific time.

You can reach Celeste Delbar in LU 200 for any questions.

Please check the LRC and the Library desks to see if the consultants are working with somebody. If you find a consultant who isn't working with anybody, you can ask them if they will work with you on your paper.

While we happily accept walk-ins, we recommend that you make an appointment, especially near midterms and finals.

Visiting merely for extra credit doesn't ensure a quick appointment. Telling the consultant that you are only there for extra credit does not mean that they will just sign a form for you and let you leave. Come prepared to discuss your paper and actively participate in your appointment.

Although there is no personal contact between student and consultant, you'll still receive the same high-quality service you would receive if meeting in person. Here's how OWLs work:

  • Submit your paper along with detailed information about the assignment, the format, and your concerns (this information is vital for the consultant to properly assess your paper).
  • A consultant will read through your paper and make comments in the margins.
  • The consultant will address issues in your paper according to the level of concern, working from higher-order to lower-order.
  • When they reply to your email with your reviewed paper attached, they'll speak specifically about one or two of the biggest issues, explaining how you can fix them.

You can always respond to the email with any questions about the consultant's comments.

Graduate and e-learning students can submit up to 10 pages of written work each week. Students can submit several smaller assignments that add up to 10 pages or they can submit one longer 10 page paper.

If your paper is longer than 10 pages, you can send us your paper in pieces. Just specify which portion of the paper you'd like us to review and which portion has already been reviewed. We will not review more than 10 pages within a one-week timespan, so please plan accordingly.

During the regular semester you can expect a 3 - 5 business day turnaround. The return time over winter, summer, and spring breaks is 5 - 7 business days.

While the Writing Center staff is typically able to return papers within the quoted time frame (sometimes with same day turnaround), we cannot guarantee any specific return time on OWLs.

We review papers in the order they are received. If you send an OWL to us the day before it's due, it will not receive an expedited review. Please keep our turnaround times in mind when submitting papers to the Online Writing Lab.

While some consultants may know more citation methods than others, consultants are not citation gurus. Consultants are, however, excellent at helping you to find the correct way.

The Writing Center also has a number of manuals on different formatting methods - such as APA, MLA, and Turabian. We also have handouts on format and citation on our Student Resources page.

If you can't find a resource for your specific format, please let one of the consultants know.

Our writing consultants are undergraduate students who have:

  • A minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Successfully passed English 104 or English 245 with an A- or better
  • Taken English 251: "Practicum in Writing Consultation" where they learn about writing center theory, tutoring, and teaching
  • Come from a variety of disciplines
  • Worked with ENG 100 students to practice minimalist tutoring
  • Received specialized training on tutoring non-traditional, ESL, and graduate students

The Writing Center looks at academic writing specifically for courses here at Concordia.

You can receive advice on résumés and cover letters from Career Services, located in Rincker 004.

To become a writing consultant, sign up to take ENG 251: Practicum in Writing Consultation. Eligibility for this class requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and an A- or higher in ENG 104 or ENG 245.

If the class time conflicts with your schedule, contact Celeste Berrington to discuss times to be trained outside of class.

Faculty FAQs

  • Include a statement in your syllabus about the Writing Center and other LRC services
  • Bring students to visit the Writing Center and we'll speak for 5-10 minutes about the free services we provide
  • Describe your own writing process to students and explain why it's helpful to receive feedback from others, even when you are not a novice writer
  • Pick up promotional materials from the LRC for your office or to distribute in class
  • Schedule a promotional visit and well come to your classroom to speak about our services

Yes, but we encourage referrals that target individual students. Writing center theory suggests that students learn best when they're motivated by their own desire to improve their writing.

Mandatory visits often result in frustrated students and consultants. You may encourage the entire class or an individual student to visit the Center, but we caution against compelling students to visit.

If the student asks the consultant to notify the professor, the consultant will fill out a receipt as proof that the student visited the Writing Center.

To schedule a time when staff can visit your class and inform students of the Writing Center's services, please contact Celeste Delbar by calling 262-243-4216.

There is also a link on the faculty portal page where you can request a classroom visit. Presentations typically last 10 minutes.

You can request one of the Writing Center staff to lead a specific workshop on a topic for one of your classes. This can take place inside or outside of class, and can be for a specific length of time. Contact the director with particular requests and guidelines