Your professor tells you his office hours, but you don’t think much of it because… well, why do you need to attend office hours? Isn’t that for people who are struggling? Not necessarily; they exist to help all the professor’s students. Here are the top 5 reasons why you can benefit from going to office hours, even if you’re already satisfied with your grades:
This might be obvious, but understanding topics to the fullest extent will benefit you. If you are ever confused by a concept that is taught in class, and the textbook isn’t helping you all that much, keep in mind that your professor is teaching the class. Therefore, he or she should at least know more than you do about each topic. Come with questions, listen to understand, and hopefully you’ll leave with answers.
2) Networking opportunities
This is really important, especially if the professor is in the department you would like to major in. Oftentimes professors know someone (or they know someone who knows someone) who can get you a job or internship in the future. And if you are fortunate enough to land the job or internship, don’t forget to show your appreciation for the result your professor’s extra effort (gift cards and the like are usually good go-to’s).
3) Advice on good textbooks
In college, you’ll probably be doing lots of research and learning lots of new things, so it’s good to dive deeper into topics. Professors will be familiar with excellent books to read for certain subjects, so ask for recommendations. If you’re lucky, your professors will own these books and will allow you to borrow them.
4) Subjective Grading
Sometimes, it’s hard to see exactly what grades are based on. Though the primary means by which students earn good grades is having a good work ethic, going to office hours on a regular basis just might boost your average. Whether we like it or not, teachers grade subjectively because they know you. While some are more guilty of this than others, it can’t hurt to establish a positive relationship with all of your professors outside of the lecture hall.
5) Discussion of Special Requests
If you would like to have an extension on a project or paper, or you would like to attend a different time slot during which your course is offered for a day, ask during office hours! Professors would much rather hear ahead of time that you would like to change something or ask for a favor. Being responsible and showing that you take the class seriously might prompt your professors to accommodate your request (or at least be willing to work out a compromise).
Office hours are usually a few times a week at different times, so attend them every so often. At least drop by to say hello! (Who doesn’t like a little company?)
Laura Devinsky is a student at Guilford College. She is tweetable @LauraDspotoftea.