As international student enrollment increases and we admit increasing numbers of domestic students whose first or home language is not English, you are likely to encounter multilingual students in your courses.

Our multilingual students contribute to the diversity of thought and experiences at Carleton and enrich the learning environment for everyone. Additionally, these students may be interested in increasing their proficiency in U.S. academic English.

We gladly accept student referrals, though we encourage you to have a conversation with the student first. A student who can articulate their own strengths and weaknesses as a writer and who expresses an interest in outside help is more likely to benefit from working with the Coordinator of Multilingual Writing Support, Kristen Vogel, or a writing consultant than one who is surprised by a referral or compelled by an authority figure.  

Are you multilingual yourself? Share your experience and insights with our students by completing the Multilingual Faculty Profile. Profiles will be published in Fall 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you support all students?

The Writing Center offers drop-in hours and appointments for all Carleton students. 

Students with a first or home language other than English have additional options: 

  • Meet with the Coordinator of Multilingual Writing Support occasionally or regularly, or 
  • Partner with one of our peer writing consultants in the Term-Long Program for one or two hours per week

What if I’m worried about a student’s writing?

We’re here to help! That said, we suggest first initiating a conversation with the student.

The following prompts can be helpful conversation starters:

  1. How much experience have you had writing academic papers?
  2. What are your strengths in academic writing?  
  3. What challenges do you face in your writing?
  4. How much time do you spend on your writing for this course?
  5. What kinds of feedback have you received in the past regarding your written work in your first language? And in English?
  6. If teachers have been specific in their suggestions/criticism/evaluation, tell me more about what they’ve said.
  7. Do you agree or disagree with the evaluation/response you have received on your writing from previous teachers? Why or why not?
  8. Do you think that one-to-one writing support would be helpful to you? Why or why not?

What if I don’t know whether a student is multilingual?

That’s okay! 

Ideally, a student will self-identify as multilingual. Given the diversity of the English language, it’s quite possible that a student with an accent or other distinctive features in their spoken or written English is a native English speaker. Again, a conversation with the student can often eliminate the need to guess or make assumptions about their language identity or experience.

If you’re unsure whether a student is multilingual but think they would benefit from our services, please refer them to the Coordinator of Multilingual Writing Support.

How do I refer a student to you?

To refer a student, you may

If I refer a student, what information is helpful to you?

It’s helpful to know

  • Whether the student is aware that you’re referring them
  • What concerns you have about the student’s writing
  • How you would prioritize these concerns

Will I know that a student is using your services?

We value student privacy and avoid reporting individual student use, unless they request that we share this information with a faculty member. Students often are happy to discuss which resources they’re using with faculty members who ask.

If you would like additional information, please contact us!

How can I effectively support multilingual writers in my courses?

Consider asking each student how you can best support them—students are often quite knowledgeable about their needs and wants. You can do this via first-day intake forms, in-class discussions, office hours, email, etc.

A few other considerations that tend to be useful for multilingual students (recognizing that multilingual students are far from monolithic):

  • Eliminate timed writing and/or offer extra time
  • Provide clear and explicit assignment sheets and rubrics
  • Provide samples
  • Allow rewrites and/or offer opportunities to receive feedback before the due date
  • Explain discipline-specific vocabulary, concepts, slang, and idioms used in the classroom
  • Be multimodal (supplement verbal information with visuals and/or writing)

What other resources would you suggest?

We are excited to unveil our Multilingual Student Profiles page! Read up on the experiences of various named and anonymous students on campus.

Additionally, you may be interested in the following:

CCCC Statement on Second Language Writing and Multilingual Writers