Take classes by the reigns, giddy up to office hours

By Isabelle Ruff | Intern

Office hours are designed to give students clarity on a class directly from the source: the professor. This might come from getting assistance on homework, asking about paper or project preferences the professor has or going over class material a student didn’t understand.

According to the Office of the Provost, faculty members are required to host a minimum of 12 office hours per week in order to provide “individual academic support.”

This support goes beyond just reviewing class material. It also makes sure that a student is comfortable in class and has the means to succeed. Part of this support is a student-teacher relationship.

Baylor emphasizes its small student-to-faculty ratio of 16-to-1, which allows professors to take the time to walk alongside students on their academic journeys. Professors want to know all their students’ names, what their goals are and how to help them achieve them. Office hours are one of the best ways to accomplish that.

Office hours aren’t just for the sake of forming a relationship. Maybe the class is a gen-ed and you won’t ever take one like it again, so a relationship isn’t necessary. Office hours also don’t just have to be for assistance with assignment-related things. Don’t decide you don’t need to go to office hours simply because you’re doing fine in class.

Office hours demonstrate your interest and effort, showing the professor that even if you don’t care that much about the subject, you still care about succeeding in the class. This allows the professor to remember that, despite your grade, you are putting in the work. With this in mind, the professor is likely more willing to grant extensions, reply to emails and comply with other requests in the class.

If you’re still not going to go to office hours for all your classes, at least consider going to them for your major classes. Those are the professors who have been you before, sitting in your seat through that tough upper-level class, thinking about changing their major and struggling to write their dissertation. They understand the difficulties and quirks of your major, and they have made it to the other side.

Professors have connections outside the university that they can put you in contact with if you show interest and promise. They know what the next best step is based on your career goals and academic success. And best of all, they want to share their wisdom with you and guide you to your best possible future.

Professors are there to assist you in achieving your academic goals and your success. They are there for you. So, get off your high horse in thinking that you don’t need to go to office hours. Take advantage of the opportunity by showing them your interest in their class and gain support that will benefit you for the rest of your life.