Services for Undergraduate Students

Our peer consultants and writing mentors strive to help you:

  • become a better writer
  • communicate your ideas clearly
  • think critically
  • experience an audience as you write
  • make deeper connections between class discussions, your reading, and your own observations and experiences
  • see writing as crucial throughout your time at UST and beyond.
  • 18 undergraduate peer writing consultants from a variety of majors
  • 2 graduate consultants from the M.A. Program in English
  • 1 ESL specialist
  • 1 Director who is also an Associate Professor in the Department of English

We provide one-on-one conferences with you "before you write, as you write, and after you write." This means we can work with you at any stage of the process. You can come in right after you get an assignment to start planning your research and writing. We're used to writers bringing in very rough drafts and talking to us about their ideas. So don't think you have to have a complete draft to see us. Anytime you come in, please bring the assignment itself so we can go over the professor's expectations and criteria carefully with you to make sure we're on the right track as we work.

If you come in with a complete draft to be "checked," know that we'll be asking you a lot of questions about it and then having you read parts of it out loud. We frequently work with writers on making their points clearly to their readers, how to write introductions and conclusions, and how to incorporate evidence in their texts.

If you are looking for help on formatting your papers or documenting your sources according to a particular documentation style appropriate for your discipline (English, history, sociology), we have sample papers that show various documentation styles (APA, MLA, Turabian, ASA, etc.) in JRC 361 and you can access information on these styles online through our web site ("Documentation Styles").

Make an appointment through our web site, and try to make one at least a day before the due date so we can dig in and talk about your ideas and how you want to organize them, and so we can share strategies for editing and proofreading. There's always something we might see that you'll need time to tackle. We also have walk-in hours where we can meet with you for 20 minutes!

We work in person and online with writers on their formal academic writing assignments or personal statements for study abroad, graduate school, and internships.

Your conversations with us are confidential; you decide whether you will inform your professor that you came to see us. 

Your full appointment can last up to an hour. During a full conference, we:

  • ask you where you are in the process of completing your assignment
  • ask you what your concerns are; review the assignment with you
  • ask about the most important point you want to make in your paper
  • review the organization of your draft if you have one
  • have you read the whole paper or portions of it out loud
  • prioritize with you the most important issues you should address
  • and then dig in to work!

We can help you understand an assignment, interpret your assigned readings, brainstorm, develop your ideas, focus on your main point, and organize your paper.

During a full appointment or 20 minute "walk-ins," we won't proofread your papers or help you "fix" your mistakes, and you can't drop off your draft to pick up later. Instead we'll ask you a lot of questions, beginning with your understanding of the assignment. And we may ask you to read your paper aloud. In these ways, we can see what makes sense to you and what may need more work. If you have concerns about your grammar and punctuation, we can identify patterns in what you have difficulty with, and then we can show you strategies for editing your writing.

The peer consultant will help you become actively involved in the topic and your writing. Together we'll find out what needs improving and ways to improve it.

If you can gain extra credit for coming to the Center, please come prepared to work and not just to gain the credit!

The Center for Writing provides important support for ESL students at UST. If you are having difficulty writing in English, there are several resources available to you at UST:

The Center for Writing (651) 962-5601 We can work with you individually on issues you face with the writing. We do not have any special worksheets or workbooks because we prefer to focus with you on a particular assignment you're actually doing for a class.

Professor Suzanne Donsky, ESL Specialist in the Center for Writing (651) 962-5694 Professor Donsky has extensive experience teaching ESL students, specializing in English Studies. You can make an appointment to speak with her about particular papers you are writing either in the Center or in her office. She also teaches special sections of English 111 and 112 especially for ESL students. Email her at

ELS Language Centers (651) 962-5990 This is a private vendor affiliated with UST (currently housed in the Summit Classroom Building on Summit Avenue). They provide six-week courses on English skills, some of which emphasize business and technical writing. 

Private tutors (651) 962-5602 The Center for Writing keeps a list of individuals interested in providing private, intensive tutoring. Contact the Director, Dr. Susan Callaway.

We've found these sites indispensable in issues they address, and we update this list annually.

Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)

  • The mother of all online resources, Purdue has concise descriptions of citation styles (MLA, APA), guides to writing research papers, as well as handouts on how to develop workshops and presentations.

University of North Carolina

  • Very user-friendly, covers writing in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences as well as grammar, transitions, and commas.

Princeton University

  • Excellent topics and sound academic advice.

University of Toronto

  • Help for writers from researching to using sources to editing.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Excellent advice on style issues, including word choices and sentence structures.

University of Richmond

  • Clear explanations of how to document sources and use sources effectively.