Finals week is just over five weeks away, which means there is still time to improve your grades. There is still quite a bit of school left and information yet to learn. Going to office hours can help you finish the semester strong. Here are four ways that going to your professor’s office hours can help you academically.
- Office hours provide a chance for one-on-one learning. This is very helpful if you have questions about something that was covered in class. In this setting the professor can re-explain something or explain it in a different way so that you can understand the material. In this context you may learn the information in a way that will make it stick so you can remember past the test where you would normally regurgitate the information.
- Some professors may be willing to allow extra credit or test corrections if they see that you actually care about their class enough to come to office hours. You can show them that you are trying to learn the information and are just having a hard time and can talk the mistakes through with them.
- Going to office hours can help you build a relationship with the professor (especially once in your major classes). This professor could be someone that you rely on for a recommendation for grad school or a job reference, or simply someone who can help point you in the right direction for the career you dream of having.
- There might be research projects, internships, organizations where you could get involved or other opportunities that you may not be aware of that your professor could help get you connected. This helps further your career in whatever field you desire. Going to office hours can spark the conversation about what you want to do as a career post-graduation.
Here are some tips on how to be prepared before going to office hours:
- If you can’t go to the office hours your professor has set aside, send them an email asking if you can come by at a different time. My guess is that if you really pursue their knowledge and want to better understand the class, they will make time for you that will work for both parties. Professors want to help their students, so they will help you any that they can.
- Knowing what information you are struggling with can help the session flow smoother and actually be helpful to you. If you come in and simply say that you don’t understand the material but can’t identify what part doesn’t make sense, the professor probably isn’t going to be able to help you much. For example, you are taking a biology class and you understand that the cell has many parts that all work independently of each other to help the cell function, but you don’t understand what the endoplasmic reticulum or the Golgi body does. There is a clear question being asked here, so the professor can help you specifically with that. But if you come in and say that you don’t know what any part of the cell does, that is a longer conversation and can show the professor that you haven’t been paying attention nor doing the assigned readings.
- Write down your questions on paper so you won’t forget them but also giving yourself a place to jot down a few notes about the professor’s answer so you won’t forget what they said either. Writing things down can help you remember the information after the session is over and even a couple days later when you are reviewing your notes for that upcoming test.
- If going alone scares you, then take a friend from the class with you. Maybe that person has a question about the material that you hadn’t thought of yet so meeting together could help both of you.