Do’s And Don’ts When Seeking Professor

Have you considered going to a professor’s office hours, but you don’t know how to go about doing it? Here are some do’s and don’ts to get you started! 

Do...

1. Ask for help!

It is your education, and professors will not pick your brain to figure out what you understand or have questions about. At the college level, no one is going to judge you; everything is in your hands. In fact, people thank you for asking the questions in class because they had the same questions, or when you raise your hand someone will say “Yeah, I didn’t get it either.”

2. Use their office hours to your full advantage. Even if you have to schedule an appointment

Your professors are being paid to sit at their office for two or more hours, and this is time provided by the university so that you can have access to them outside of class. Just because there is a time conflict, it does not mean your professor will not work with your schedule. There is always a solution, trust me, and my professor stayed an hour and a half after the time on the syllabus to help me edit my paper. This shows you how dedicated a professor is when you are not afraid to ask for help.

3. Have a conversation with your professor, get to know them, and they will be happy to tell you their stories and advice

For example, my professor is former President Barack Obama’s church member. She was there when he asked for prayers to become a Senate and the President of the United States. Additionally, she told me that a Master’s Degree is not necessary to pursue a Ph.D. If I came in just to get an answer to my question, I would have missed out on a lot.

4. Build a positive student to educator relationship

(Hint: Letters of Recommendation, research opportunities, job referral). Frequently go to your professor’s office hours, they love getting to know their students outside of the classroom, and you never know when you might need a letter of recommendation. Your professor will have a lot to say and had the chance to know you in both settings. It is not the type of recommendation letter where you send over your résumé, trust me. For example, my professor is like my best friend after going to her office hours almost every day last semester and this semester.

Don’t...

1. Be afraid to ask for help!!

Professors are here for a reason; they love students and helping students, and they chose to teach as a profession. Remember, they were once in your shoes too!

2. Go unprepared

You want to give the impression that you care about your success in class (even if you don’t, fake it until you make it, it should not be obvious!). This will help you stay away from awkward moments where they are waiting for you while you fumble through your notes.

3. Panic

Take a deep breath, your professor will not bite, and they are just a person at the end of the day.

Make the most out of the office hours, and good luck collegiates!