Study Tips: Use Your Professor

Got questions? Professors are
your best resource for answers

Professor mentoring student

Professor Tom Grimes, author of the book Mentor: A Memoir, helps a Texas State student with her work.

By Texas State SLAC

It can be difficult to converse with professors before or after class. There may be too little time because the professor may have to go to another building, or another class may be waiting outside.

That’s why professors designate office hours to meet students outside of classes. Yet many professors say few students use this time. Take advantage of their willingness to help. Your professor may be formal in class but friendly and approachable one-to-one.

  • Be brave! Knock on the door; even if it’s closed, knock — politely.
  • Introduce yourself to your professor, especially if your class is large.
  • Don’t worry about appearing “stupid.” You’ll look smart for coming and asking for help. Besides, it’s part of a professor’s job to be available during office hours to help students.
  • Come with a goal or question and bring the necessary materials. If you have a question about a reading, bring your book with the passage marked.
  • Ask your professor to help analyze your errors if you didn’t do well on a paper/exam, especially after the first one is graded.
  • Remember that professors enjoy discussing the content of their courses. This is what they teach, read, research and write about.

If you can’t make office hours, call your professor or e-mail your question. Professors have e-mail addresses and voice mail numbers listed on the syllabus, with their department office and on the Texas State website. You also could schedule a time outside of office hours to come by — just make sure to be there!

Whether you visit during office hours, by phone or e-mail, your professors will notice your initiative and interest.

Original source: Sharon Green, Office of Academic Support, Niagara University

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