Faculty have regular office hours which are usually posted. If you need to see them for help with course material, you should make every attempt to meet with them during those posted hours. This is the time they have set aside to concentrate exclusively on students’ questions. It is still possible to meet with your professor even if you have a legitimate conflict with their office hours. If there is a reason you cannot be there at that time, you should contact your professor to make an appointment for a mutually agreeable time.
Before your visit, give careful consideration to exactly what kind of help you need. Make sure you have made a sincere effort to do the homework or read the assigned chapters before you ask for help with the material, and it is important you compile either a list of specific questions. Approach faculty office hours the same way you approach solving any engineering problem. The more clearly a problem is defined, the easier it can be to solve.
If you go in during office hours or at a previously arranged time, the instructor owes you his or her undivided attention. Of course, if there are a number of students waiting, the instructor may not be able to give you all the time you think you need. Ask your instructor about options if you feel you need more time.
You also may be assigned to a “faculty mentor” in your major – this is an opportunity for you to connect with a faculty member to talk about professional and/or research opportunities, advice on selecting technical electives supporting an area of interest or career goal, asking the professor to be a reference for a job or graduate school application, etc.