How to take advantage of office hours

September 20, 2012

Starting your college career can be daunting thanks to advanced classes and greater time requirements when it comes to studying. While you will no doubt try your best to complete every assignment in a timely fashion, you shouldn't feel that you're completely alone during this process. According to many experts, taking advantage of professors' office hours could make a major difference when it comes to being successful. The following is a short guide to developing a lasting relationship with professors.

Making each second count
In a recent blog entry for College Info Geek, Ryan Nguyen writes about his own successful use of office hours when he was a student in college. He tells about a science class he took during junior year that was particularly challenging. Prior to an exam, he was told that he would be responsible for memorizing a host of species. In an effort to better understand the requirements, Nguyen went to visit the professor during office hours and was told that the test would be much more general than he had previously thought. He writes that "students who did go to the professor for clarification ended up getting the best grades in the class."

What to say when you get there
Nguyen suggests coming prepared with a minimum of three questions to ask the professor. He says that students who are unclear about certain material should list questions that they need answered. He also mentioned that if a professor emphasizes something both during office hours and in class, it should be taken as a sign that the subject will be on an upcoming test.

Career planning
When people sign up for classes that spark their interest, it can be important for them to form lasting relationships with professors. Getting to speak to instructors one-on-one will serve as a guide to what career choices can be made. In some cases, professors will have worked in the sector before entering the world of academia.

Professors welcome the visits
During a recent blog entry for the Huffington Post, Texas Woman's University Associate Professor Katherine Sharp Landdeck wrote that it was the instructors responsibility to post office hours. She said that if a student puts an effort into meeting one-on-one, it could lead to further opportunities down the road. Another way that these meetings could be helpful is to learn about options regarding grants for college. A lot of the time, specific fields of study will offer financial support, and a professor will likely have more information.

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