College is a vastly different world than high school for many reasons. One of the biggest differences I personally noticed is the way professors interact with college students compared to the way teachers interact with high school students. While some high school teachers will go out of their way to schedule extra help at your convenience, or are willing to speak for a few minutes after class, professors aren't usually so accommodating. This is where your professor's office hours come in. One of the best pieces of advice I heard as an incoming college freshman was to always take advantage of office hours, so I'm about to encourage all of you to do the same.
Every college professor is required to have office hours. It's usually a session that lasts for a few hours once or twice a week where the professor is sitting in their office, waiting for questions from students. Most professors don't always have time to speak with students outside of these office hours, and it's not hard to see why — they have busy schedules, and expect students to be more responsible with their time.
Office hours are the time when you can argue about a grade you got, ask for some help on a topic you don't understand, maybe get some extra credit work, and mainly get to know your professor. This may seem annoying, time-consuming, and unnecessary, but it's not. Just in case you were thinking you could get by without them, here are eight reasons you have to take advantage of office hours:
1. You'll look like a hard-working student
Professors respect students who aren't afraid to show that they're trying hard. By showing up to office hours, even just once or twice, you're showing that you're trying and putting effort into the class. It shows that you care, and that can sometimes mean the difference between passing and failing. What better way to make a good impression?
2. Extra time with your prof will help you understand the course better
Whether you're confused about a particular homework assignment, or something that was discussed during class, one-on-one time with your professor can help you understand things much better — which can obviously lead to higher grades. Plus, this is the perfect time to ask that question you were too embarrassed to ask in front of everyone else. Why feel confused about an assignment when you could get things cleared up?
3. This gives you a good in for when you need help later on
This is especially important if your professor is in the field you want to go into after college. A lot of professors only teach part-time, and have jobs elsewhere. Your professor could give you letters of recommendation, let you know about internship or job opportunities, or be a great source of networking later on in life. They're much more likely to do this with students they actually know, like the ones who attended their office hours.
4. You can get extra credit this way
A lot of professors will say they offer extra credit, but only if you go to office hours. If you're doing poorly in a class and you want to improve your grades, go see them to discuss what can be done.
5. It can make the difference between a good and bad grade
Many professors will freely admit that they're more lenient with students who attend office hours. That's probably because they can see that these students are clearly trying and putting effort into their work — that makes some of them feel like you deserve the better grade. If your professor is trying to decide whether you deserve a B or an A, and you've been showing up to office hours, they could decide on the A. Of course, this isn't always true, but it often is the case.
6. Professors may like you more
Getting private face time with a professor allows them to get to know you, and to see you as a real person rather than just another bored student. Sometimes it's good to have friends in high places!
7. You might meet other students
Depending on how busy they are or how often they're on campus, professors sometimes do group sessions during office hours. You could meet other students trying to get extra credit or up their grades, and that could lead to study sessions, which could lead to new friends.
8. Office hours can help you improve your grades
At the end of the day, the biggest draw of office hours is that they can improve your grades. Professors will often take you more seriously, respect you more, and be willing to work with you for better grades. So, schedule time into your class schedule for these — they're worth it!
Images: ABC; Giphy.com