BY EVIE COOPER
You may be top of the class when it comes to maximizing your free time at college, but do you make proper use of your professor’s office hours?
Attending office hours can make a real difference to your grades, you approach to college life and your final qualification. Here are a few tips on how to maximize your benefits from professor’s office hours:
Don’t just turn up unannounced. Booking in an appointment with your professor a few days in advance will allow you to prepare for the meeting properly. You can look over materials and decide what you plan to get out of the appointment. Having a scheduled slot also means less waiting around and guaranteeing that your professor will have enough time to see you.
Build a Good Relationship
Having a good relationship with your professor can be really useful. They’re much more likely to go out of their way for someone they know is truly dedicated to their subject – there may be research opportunities or industry contacts or just a bit of insider information on the syllabus that they can pass your way.
So arrive to appointments on time and arrange to see your professor regularly. The more familiar and friendly a face you are, the more likely they are to invest time in you and your progress.
Going to your professor with a vague desire to improve your grades won’t make for a useful meeting. Instead, go in the run up to an exam to discuss any topics you’re worried about. Go to talk about a presentation you’re due to give in class to assuage your nerves. Ask for a breakdown of your latest assignment grade so you can find ways to improve next time.
Have Some Questions Ready
Whatever you plan to talk about with your professor, have some questions ready. Open-ended questions that prompt discussion are best. Going into a meeting with your professor prepared will help you both hit the ground running and address all of the issues you have.
Don’t Nod Along if You Don’t Understand
Whilst you want to make a good impression on your professor, it’s OK to tell them that you don’t understand what they’re talking about. They don’t expect you to know everything. That’s what keeps them in a job! Speak up if you’re not following the train of the conversation and ask for clarification.
If you are currently facing problems – be they personal or academic – don’t be afraid to open up to your professor. Being honest about the things you’re struggling with can really help your professor to see things from your perspective and try to help. They may be able to give you an extension on that assignment or find ways to offer extra academic support for any topics you’re trying and failing to grasp.
Remember Who You’re Talking To
Your professor is the person who sets the syllabus, who grades your assignments and who compiles your exams. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of them. Whilst honesty is a good policy, don’t make lame excuses regarding your attendance or your late submission of papers. Don’t criticise their teaching style or methods. And always present yourself in a professional and courteous manner.
Your professor is a wealth of knowledge and experience on your chosen topic. Make the most of them. Schedule office hours appointments regularly, prepare what you want to talk about in advance and try to build a long-standing relationship to really maximize that extra time you spend with them.
As a lifelong learner, a self-improvement supporter and an education blogger, Evie Cooper is very vocal in the topics of careers and learning. Currently writing for Postcode-Checker.co.uk, Evie might often be found online, sharing her tips and strategies with both the experts and the young people entering the workforce.