Student Success Strategy #31: Office Hours Part I

Are you a little intimidated about speaking with your professor outside of class?  Many freshmen are, and sometimes it doesn’t change throughout your entire college career.  Many students never go to a professor’s office hours.  If that’s the case, you have missed out on a wonderful experience.

Office hours are scheduled times when the professor is available to the students, and there are several reasons to take advantage of them.

Do you have a specific question about class or an assignment in that class?  If you don’t want to ask it in front of your fellow students, use office hours, and you’ll have the professor’s full attention to your question.  You can follow-up with more questions if needed.

You can even ask the professor to glance over an assignment in progress to tell you whether you are on the right track.  Why not do that early, so if you need to make changes, you have plenty of time?  This is your chance to get some inside information as well.

Ask how the assignment will be graded, and get examples of what is expected.  Does the professor mark every grammatical mistake, every misspelled word and every unnecessary comma?  Does the professor require a thesis statement, three supporting paragraphs, and a reflective conclusion?  Even if these ideas are in the syllabus, it doesn’t hurt to discuss your ideas on the assignment before it’s due.

Using office hours to meet with your professor also gives you “face time” for the professor to get to know you as a student and as a person.  Think about how you feel about a new friend as you get to know them.  The more you know, the more you like them.  While grading is more objective than liking or not liking a student, having the professor know you better than others never hurts.  Going to office hours shows that you are a more serious student than those who don’t go, and that could be worth a point or two.

Student Success Strategy #31:  Use your professor’s office hours to learn more about expectations on assignments.

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