Go to Office Hours

Barry the Study Dog doesn’t mind waiting for his instructors to show up to their office hours.

College Success Series: The third Monday of every month, we offer college success tips that will not only get you better grades in less time, but will also help you get your money’s worth in school.

There are three reasons to go to office hours: the short-term benefits, the medium-term benefits, and the long-term benefits.

The short-term benefit is the one most students think of when they think of office hours: you get your questions answered. That’s a great reason to visit your instructors, but it’s reactive rather than proactive.

The medium-term benefit is to demonstrate to your instructor that you’re not only interested in the course, but are also yourself an interesting person. If your instructor knows that you’re working hard at learning as much as possible in the course and making connections between the course material and your outside interests, they can’t help but give you the benefit of the doubt when it comes time to grade your work.

Being a regular visitor at office hours could make the difference between a C- and a C+, or even a B+ and an A, which, as you know, is a difference of 0.6 grade points. This could mean that instead of being on academic probation you’re chillin’ with a 2.3, or instead of being shut out of med school admissions you’re right on track.

The long-term benefit to office hours is that you make friends with your instructor and they eventually offer you letters of recommendation or jobs.

College students should visit each of their instructors’ office hours once per month, which basically amounts to visiting one instructor per week all semester.

The first meeting should be well before you actually need any help. Introduce yourself, tell them where you’re from, and let them know what you’re interested in outside of school.

Most meetings should be focused on what more you want to learn about the topics discussed in class, or what connections you’ve made between the course content and your life on Earth.

Remember that college professors are like wild animals: they’re at least as afraid of you as you are of them.

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