The semester is moving along, and a great way to set yourself up for success is to attend your professors’ office hours. Office hours are a space for you to interact with your professor one on one, ask questions and get clarification if you need it.
Visiting office hours early in the semester and working with your professors can help you feel more confident as the semester progresses. Here are a few ways you can make the most of meeting with your professors.
Identify your needs
If you feel like you don’t have a reason right now to attend office hours, plan to go and simply introduce yourself to your professor. This can make it easier to go later in the semester if you have a question or need help. There are many reasons to go to office hours this semester:
- You want clarification on an assignment or a grade you’ve received.
- You’ve missed some classes.
- You’re interested in a topic and want to do further research.
- You want career advice.
- You’re having issues with a classmate.
- You’re looking for an academic mentor.
- You’re shy about asking questions or making comments in class, and want to speak with the professor directly.
Find out when your professor’s office hours are by checking your syllabus. If you have time conflicts with office hours and other classes, reach out to your professor directly to request a meeting at a different time. Be sure to provide times you are available and ask what works best for them.
It’s important to come prepared with questions and concerns you have about the course. Remember that office hours are useful for a variety of reasons. This is a great opportunity to meet your professor and understand their teaching style early in the semester. Here are some questions you could ask:
- Do you have any tips on how to best study or understand the material?
- Are there any major concepts I should prioritize when I study?
- Are you willing to review a draft of any papers before turning in the final product?
- Can you explain how a concept we discussed in class relates to the reading material?
- Can we go over the questions I missed during an absence?
Maximize your time
During your meeting, make sure you stay present mentally so you can get the most of your professor’s time. Here are some things to try during your meeting:
- Ask questions that have the most importance to you first.
- Bring any assignments that you have questions about.
- Take notes that help you better understand your questions.
- Be respectful and stay engaged.
- Set up a follow-up meeting with your professor if you need additional help.
After attending office hours, follow up via email and thank your professor for meeting with you. This can be a busy time of year, and thanking them for their time to answer your questions can go a long way. If you had questions that didn’t get answered during your meeting, you can also include them in your follow-up email. You can also use this email to set up a follow-up meeting to go over any new material covered in class or to answer additional questions.
Don’t forget to compile the notes you took during office hours and add them to your study notes where necessary. Try to apply them to new practice problems to help you internalize your learning.