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News & Stories

Office hours: Here are 5 reasons to go

By: Cynthia Smith
First Published: October 27, 2023
Topics: Faculty, STHM School


Some students might be intimidated to attend a professor or administrator’s office hours. But they shouldn’t be.

Professors and administrators are happy to meet with you! This is a great way to make a connection that can benefit you well beyond the course material.

“Office hours are the ability to connect with faculty members and build vital relationships that will benefit the student in the future—whether that is a letter of recommendation or potential industry connections,” says Jonathan Howe, STHM professor.

Office hours are available in many formats—physical campus office, video chat, answering questions via email and talking before or after class—making it convenient for both the student and the professor or administrator.

“This is a time where students can get information about assignments, clarity on concepts and advice on how to proceed in the course,” Howe continues.

Here are the top 5 reasons to attend office hours:

  1. Help with coursework Be prepared with specific questions you have that are relevant to the class material. This is the most efficient way for you to gain clarity around the subject matter.
  2. Brainstorm research papers or projects Not sure if your paper idea fits the assignment parameters? Share your ideas with the professor and establish a productive dialogue.
  3. Get feedback on a grade Are you confused about a grade? Having a conversation with your professor is the best way to determine how to succeed in the course. Feedback is important and provides you with a chance to prepare for future assignments. Showing up also shows that you care about your academic success.
  4. Request a letter of recommendation If you are seeking a letter of recommendation, having your professor, advisor or administrator already know your performance, academic ability and goals makes this process easier—and more personal.
  5. Build a mentor relationship Many professors and administrators have connections to industry. Establish a conversation about your goals and ask questions about career paths. These discussions can open a world of opportunities you didn’t realize existed.

“Office hours are a fantastic opportunity to get to know your professors and staff, and for them to get to know you,” says Brandon Mayer, director of STHM’s Center for Industry Engagement. “The more we know about your interests and goals, the better resources and support we are able to provide.”