4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Professor’s Office Hours

Find out how to maximize the time you have with your college professor.

What do you think is the best academic resource at your college? The library? The Internet? Museums? These are all great places to learn, but in fact, the best available resource is the same everywhere: your professor’s office hours.

Many students fail to realize this fact because they think college is simply attending classes, writing papers and taking exams. While these are certainly crucial components, office hours can help you succeed in all of them and maximize your GPA. After all, it’s your college professor who’s teaching the material and assigning the work. Why not go directly to him or her for assistance?

If you’ve never been to office hours, you might not know what to do once you get there. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of office hours with your college professor.

Keep a separate page of notes for concepts that require clarification, as well as subjects that you’d like to discuss further.

Make a Good Impression

Keep in mind that your college professor isn’t just someone who assigns you homework and gives you grades. Professors can be fantastic lifelong contacts, and you never know when you might need their help.

At office hours, be polite and friendly, and show that you’re interested in the material. You’ll be glad you did when it comes time to request an academic letter of recommendation.

Come Prepared

Your college professor comes to class with a lesson prepared, but during office hours, you’re the one who has to be ready. Keep in mind that professors use their downtime in office hours to grade papers, do research, or answer emails. If you come to their office without any questions to ask, you’ll be wasting their time.

Similarly, the more succinct and direct your questions are, the better. Don’t expect to go to office hours and have your professor read an entire paper draft. Instead, find particular issues with the draft that you’d like to ask about.

Make a List

More often than not, the best questions to ask during office hours come up while you’re in class or studying. Don’t assume that you’ll remember them later! Keep a separate page of notes for concepts that require clarification, as well as subjects that you’d like to discuss further. That way, you won’t forget anything when it comes time to talk to your college professor.

Go Every Week

This isn’t always possible, especially since most professors only have office hours once or twice weekly. However, the more often you go to office hours, the better you’ll understand the material. It’ll also help you build a better relationship with your college professor which can lead to better grades and better recommendations.

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