- Be on Time! Timing is everything- dig up that syllabus you stuffed somewhere and find their hours and email. Even if appointments aren’t necessary, send them an email asking them for a specific time to make sure they’ll be there. Put it in your calendar and show up on time! If you can, don’t schedule them around when a paper is due for the first time because everyone will be trying to meet with them then- try to go early so they don’t think you’re just worried about your grade.
- Don’t come empty headed. The biggest mistake most students make is coming to office hours expecting to socialize and get to know the professor right off the bat. What they don’t tell you is that before the professors start sharing their life story with you, you will need to have developed a relationship with them. Show up with a legitimate course-related question. Even if you feel like you have nothing cogent to ask about the class, come with at least a few questions. It can be about a broad topic like “I just don’t really understand x concept, could we talk about it a little more?” Show that you put a little thought into it and your efforts will be rewarded.
- Wrong Time? Don’t Fret. Most of us have that one class that always schedules office hours at our worst time of the week. That doesn’t mean your grade should suffer for it. Shoot your professor a nice email explaining you have class/work/naptime during that time and request a different time to meet. Most professors are understanding and would rather make time to see you than have you flounder through their class.
- Be Appropriate. It’s very easy to forget etiquette in this modern world. Don’t talk about topics you wouldn’t talk about with your grandma. This means no sex, no personal friend drama, and no topic that makes you look unprofessional or irresponsible. The purpose of office hours is to build a relationship not to air your dirty laundry!
Good luck! The first visit is by far the most awkward but after that you may even enjoy your office hours visits. Are there any other tips that you wish you would have known before you went to your first office hours?