Going to your professor or TA during office hours is a great way to get to know your instructors and get some extra help. Here are a few tips to help you feel prepared and get the most out of your professor’s office hours.
- Start attending office hours at the beginning of the term, when professors and TAs are generally less busy and have more time to spend with you.
- Ask your professors about their research. Most professors are busy working away at a project, or journal article, or even a book. If you are interested in what they are doing, let them know!
- Review your lecture notes before going to your professor’s office to make sure you cannot answer your question on your own. This will also help you to narrow down the question you are asking.
- Ask for help with your assignment well before the due date. Professors may get frustrated trying to explain the assignment if you have waited until the deadline. If you tend to work on assignments at the last minute, make sure you understand the criteria well in advance and seek clarification as soon as possible.
- Visit professors if you have missed a class, but make sure to read through the lecture notes and bring a short list of a few concepts that you have spent time reviewing and are still unsure about. Asking professors to re-cap everything you missed last class is both frustrating and time-consuming, so do the work before you visit them.
- If you would like to ask professors and TAs for references, it is important to establish a relationship with them first so that they know who you are beyond the classroom. Keep in mind that getting a good grade is not always a qualifier for getting a reference from a professor so it is important to establish a relationship with them first. Office hours are a great way to do this!