Tips to approach your professors for advice and help

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We all know that college is fun time – living in the residence halls, going to eat with friends and participating in all the activities available in Reeve Union such as Titan Nights and Open Mic Night. But, we also know that college can be a stressful time. All the classes we take require a lot of studying and a lot of work outside of class in order to receive a good grade in the course.

It can seem like a daunting task to get all of your assignments, studying and projects done on time. But, professors here at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh are more than willing to help you succeed. I have visited my professors with questions concerning the coursework and it has greatly helped me to understand the topics.

Because I find it to be such a valuable resource to do well in your courses, I want to give you all some advice that I have found helpful to approach my professors (which can be a little intimidating at first) and get the help I need.

  1. Come to class prepared, on time, for every class: Professors notice the students in their class that try hard in the class and are making a true effort. Professors will be much more willing to help you if they know you are working very hard on your end to learn the material.
  2. Know when the professor’s office hours are: All the professors on campus have office hours, which is time they have set aside to answer questions from students. At the beginning of the semester, your professor’s campus telephone number – sometimes cell phone, email, office location and office hours will be listed on his or her syllabus. In my experience, professors are also willing to make appointments to meet with you outside their usual office hours if they don’t fit into your schedule. Approach your professor before or after class to let them know you are planning to come on in and see them during office hours – this is not necessary, but it is nice to let them know that you will be coming so they can prepare ahead of time.
  3. Prepare specific questions ahead of time: This piece of advice I’ve learned through experience. When you go to visit a professor, make sure to bring a small list of the questions that you want to go over. It is easy when you are in there to forget all of the different questions you have. For me, it works best to place sticky notes in the pages where you are having trouble, so you can have the professor refer to the textbook information for further help. This also really works out well with math problems.
  4. Make sure to say thank you: All my visits with professors have been immensely helpful for me – the topics become much clearer and it makes me feel less stressed about the course. I always like to let my professor know that I appreciate their help – a little thank you email after your visit is a nice touch. :)
  5. Visit often: Don’t wait until the end of the course to decide that you need help from your professor. Feel free to stop in anytime you are unsure of an aspect of the course. Your professors will appreciate helping with you small questions along the way, rather than a big issue towards the end of the semester. (And you will appreciate that, too.)

Professor office hours are a valuable resource available to you – so you should take advantage of it! And don’t forget, you are also able to get a personal tutor for a course you are struggling with through the Center for Academic Resources.

By using these five tips, I think that you will all be able to have successful visits with your professors. What are some of the tips that you find helpful for meeting with your teachers?

It's a simple equation. Asking questions + Working hard = Awards. ;)


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