Published: Jan. 27, 2020

Visiting your professor’s office hours can do more for you than just getting a good grade in their class. As you get to know your professor, and they get to know you, your rapport can lead to other opportunities that can shape your academic journey. Here are some tips for making the most of your professor’s office hours.

Biochemistry Professor Amy Palmer works with three students in her officeWhen to go

Find out when your professor’s office hours are by checking your syllabus. You don’t have to wait until the day before a big exam or project deadline to attend office hours. Start by stopping by to introduce yourself, and plan to visit regularly after that. Attending office hours regularly will help you get to know your professor and allow them to get to know you better.

Ask for help or advice

As a first-year college student, your professor may be able to provide guidance and tips to help you succeed in their class. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and ask early! Office hours are a great time to ask questions or express concerns. Plus, your professor may be aware of additional academic resources in your program, such as tutoring or help labs.

Here are some questions you could ask:

  • Do you have any tips on how to best study/prepare for the exam?
  • Are you willing to review a draft of my paper before turning in the final product?
  • Can you explain how the reading connects to the lecture topics?
  • Can you help me better understand the concept we discussed in class last week?
  • Do you have any advice on how to improve my writing?
  • Can we go over the questions I missed on the exam?

Get to know your professor

Regularly attending office hours and getting to know your professor can help you outside of their class. Depending on your area of study, your professor may be aware of different academic programs or certificates you could add to your CU Boulder experience. Additionally, they also might share opportunities outside of the classroom, such as research projects or internships, and be willing to write you a letter of recommendation.

Before you attend office hours, think of a few questions to begin the conversation. Here are some ideas:

  • What was your major in college?
  • Did you ever change your major?
  • Did you have a minor?
  • How did you decide to study ___?
  • How did you decide on this career?
  • What other jobs did you have before this one?