These meetings are an opportunity to meet one-on-one with your professor or in a small group to ask questions about class material, homework, and grades. This may sound intimidating now, but to help you get started here are five tips for having a good office hours appointment:

  1. Start early! Go during the first or second week of the semester just to introduce yourself. This might sound a little weird or even pointless if you don't have specific questions, but it's neither. Professors want to get to know you! If you feel awkward not having any questions at all, you could ask about syllabus content or your first assignment.

  2. Check the syllabus for office hours etiquette. While the goal of office hours is pretty straightforward, professors have differences in how they run theirs. For some, you can show up at any time during their window, while others want you to make an appointment for a specific time slot beforehand. Professors may also have restrictions on what you can discuss or bring. For example, your professor may be happy to talk about an essay with you, but won't accept it to read over. 

  3. Have your materials ready. If office hours are in person, check to make sure you have your laptop, papers, textbooks, etc. If office hours are online and you're showing your professors something, have it pulled up and ready to go. Sometimes teachers may share their own screen, or they'll expect you to share yours. 

  4. Do not give up because all their appointment slots are full or you can't attend their designated times. Email your professor and let them know! Most of the time they'll help you find a time that works for you both, especially if you have an urgent question. They'll be able to find a time that works for you both.

  5. Go regularly! You don't have to go to office hours for all of your classes all of the time, but going when you need to frequently will help you get more comfortable talking with professors, form relationships with them, and understand the material better.

I hope these steps are helpful! As long as you're prepared and considerate, your appointment will go great. Not only will you benefit, but your professors will appreciate your effort!