Using professors’ office hours to improve academic performance

June 20th, 2018


Professors have a great wealth of knowledge that students should take the time to actually utilize. It’s important to understand that they went through many years of schooling, defending their thesis, and some even writing a dissertation to get to the point of speaking in front of students. They are educators at top of their field and the point of contact for many industry questions and opinions.

Professors are experts in their fields and understand what it takes to take their knowledge and share it with thousands of students throughout their lifetime. Their lifework is dedicated to teaching young professionals an entire industry in just four years or even just one semester. It may seem daunting sitting in a huge lecture hall and having a hard time understanding contents like every other student. That’s why it is incredibly important to utilize office hours. Professors have office hours specifically for students. They appreciate when students visit because their job as an educator is to make sure every student that wants to understand the content has the proper resources and understanding that they need to succeed in the course.

The key word in the last statement is want. Not every student cares enough to fully understand each chapter or even each course, but for the students that are passionate about their education, it can be entirely too frustrating when a concept doesn’t click immediately. By visiting office hours and asking questions, it can truly make a difference in the level of understanding a student has regarding a concept.

In a lecture hall with hundreds of students, each student is just an ID number of attendance, but in a professor’s office, a student is given a name to a face. Professors are able to build stronger professional relationships with students if they are able to spend the one on one time with them. If a positive student/professor relationship develops, it can be highly beneficial for both parties. Professors are able to call on that student in class more and have them engage more, thus the student may increase their learning ability in the class and begin understanding more concepts throughout the course.

After an exam is a great time to visit office hours and discuss missed questions to further prepare for the next exam. Students are able to understand what is expected on exams and how questions will be phrased. It lets the student understand more about what the professor is asking of them and allows the professor to understand what concepts are being misunderstood in class. If one student who normally performs well is having a difficult time understanding a theory or concept, there is a chance an even larger group of students do not understand the same thing. By simply asking a question, it may lead to an in depth class overview and discussion on the topic that will allow every student to gain more insight on the subject.

Even if students are able to understand the concepts, a formal introduction during office hours can be much appreciated. A student looking to increase their knowledge of subject can visit just to ask their professors intriguing questions about the industry, jobs, and other courses that may complement the one they are taking. As a result of their years of experience and how many individuals they work with on a regular basis, professors often have good connection in the field and can help determined students connect and network with potential employers before graduation.


Professors are not there in hopes that students fail contrary to some students’ attitude. Professors become professors to see people succeed in their chosen major and field. They want to be the ones that provide more than just a book of information on the topic. Professors want to impact the students with critical thinking skills and enable them research deeper on their own. Their goal is to have students understand what they are teaching and to light passion in students for their chosen field or industry.


Professors can provide intellectual insight on so much more than just their expertise in a field. They are there as mentors to students. When office hours are utilized correctly, they might even give students life advice on relationships, interview etiquette, or even discuss life insurance and similar topics. Professors are there to help students navigate the academic world and succeed after graduation.


Tuition is charged to cover the cost of education, and part of the education is having direct access to get individual lecture from professors if needed. It’s important to get the most out of college; by building healthy and professional relationship with professors, it can even help after graduation.


Instead of depending on personal knowledge and research ability on topics not so clear, students should learn to occasionally visit the professor that provided the information. The key to enjoying a course and making good grades may start with a knock on a professor’s door and a simple “Hello.”

Annabel Monaghan is a writer with a passion for education and edtech. She writes education and career articles for The College Puzzle with the aim of providing useful information for students and young professionals. If you have any questions, please feel free to email her at


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