Office Hours

Believe it or not, most professors in the math department say they wish students would come to their Office Hours more often.

Come to Office Hours

Office Hours are a time that a professor sets aside to answer questions and work with students one-on-one. If you're not making use of Office Hours, you're missing out on a useful opportunity for your education. In addition to having the opportunity to ask questions, going to Office Hours gives the professor a chance to get to know you (which is especially important in large lecture courses), and it gives you the chance to interact with the professor outside of class and in a one-on-one fashion. In addition, to helping you understand the material and having the opportunity to ask questions about details that cannot be covered in class, Office Hours give you and the professor a chance to get to know each other in a working environment. It is likely that at some point in the future you will need recommendations from professors. Office Hours are one of the ways you can get to know professors for these recommendations.

Prepare for Office Hours

Use Office Hours wisely and prepare before coming. If you have read the book, and worked the problems, you will find that you get the most out of Office Hours. Try to ask specific questions. Rather than just saying "How do I do problem number three?" it is more useful if you can say "I tried problem number three, and it looks like example in the book and in lecture, but when I try to do XXX, I find that it doesn't work. I tried doing YYY instead, but that didn't work either. What else can I try?". By coming prepared to Office Hours, you will be able ask specific questions that help you finish a problem, and you will understand the response. Also keep in mind that your instructor is not a personal tutor, and they are not meant to help you cram for a test. Don't just come to Office Hours right before exams (the busiest time in Office Hours) or expect them to work through a long list of problems with you.

Feel Free to Ask a Variety of Questions

You should also feel free to use Office Hours to ask questions beyond what is covered in the classroom. If you're curious about the material or have questions going beyond what is covered in class, Office Hours are a great opportunity to talk with the professor one-on-one. In addition, you should feel free to go to Office Hours and talk to your professors about any of the following topics: what courses to register for, whether you should major in mathematics, the possibility of going graduate school, your future plans, or careers in mathematics.

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