Study Tips: Office Hours

Office hours: Take advantage of time to get help from your professors

Professor mentoring student

Need help? Don’t forget to ask your professor!

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 your professors’ willingness to help. Your professors may be formal in class yet friendly and approachable one-to-one. Follow these tips to make your approach to office visits a little easier:

  • Be brave! Knock on the door. Even if it’s closed and a professor’s back is to the door, knock — politely.
  • Introduce yourself whether your class is small or large. Doing so can’t hurt and will help the professor place you amongst what can be a huge number of students he or she teaches each semester.
  • Don’t worry about appearing “stupid” because you are coming to office hours. Universities ask professors to hold office hours to help students and you’ll look smart by asking for help when you need it.
  • 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 or 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 it to office hours, call or e-mail your question or schedule a time to come by — then be there! Professors have e-mail addresses and voice mail numbers listed on their course syllabi, with the department office and on the Texas State website. Whether you visit during office hours, by phone or by e-mail, your professors will notice your initiative and interest.

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

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