Many college students steer clear of office hours because they are intimated by a professor, they fear they will ask a stupid question or they have missed several classes, so they feel “out of the loop.” Perhaps what students don’t realize is that instructors value office hours because they are able to have the one-on-one interactions with students that are not possible in a large lecture. This intimate interaction allows instructors to address specific student needs, which can result in students gaining a better understanding of class material, learning how to study more effectively for the class, and/or discovering other courses and opportunities that will help them to enhance their experiences at the University of Michigan.
Being properly prepared and thinking ahead of time how you will act during office hours can help alleviate some of the tensions you might feel and help you get the most out of your visit.
If you are concerned about office hour etiquette, just remember to be respectful.
- Arrive to your appointment on time.
- Address the professor by her last name with the appropriate title (professor, doctor, etc…) unless she has asked you to address her by her first name.
- Keep your interactions professional. Focus on course related subjects unless the professor begins a more casual conversation.
- Take notes. Not only will this help you remember things, it shows the professor you are interested in trying to remember your conversation.
- Thank the professor for his time.
Develop a list of questions and topics to discuss during the meeting.
If you still feel nervous about approaching an instructor, write down a list of questions or bullet points to discuss during the meeting to help keep you focused and on track, which will help boost your confidence. If you take advantage of office hours, you will likely discover that your instructors are approachable and willing to help.
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