Who Knew the Key to Success Took Place in an Office?

This is the seventh of 12 post in the Tips for Success Series. This series is to help Rebels through the semester with tips and tricks for those high grades in the classroom. It may even help you keep your sanity on the worst of days!

Ahh, Syllabus week! The time of the semester where we listen to professor ramble on about what to expect from the course while we mark our calendars with a list of important dates. Yet, we often let minor details such as office hours pass over our heads without thinking about how much of valuable resource it could be throughout the semester.

Some students might be wondering, what are office hours? Well, this when a professor sets time aside to help students understand the course or answer any questions they might have. This takes the pressures off a “hurried” classroom setting and gives students the opportunity to communicate with their professor on a more personal level.

We have a tendency to let our fear of social embarrassment interfere with our ability to learn. The thought of asking a silly question, feeling unprepared or being confused in general makes us hesitate to ask for help during lectures. These minor setbacks cause students to become frustrated, more confuse or eventually give up.

However, office hours eliminates classroom anxiety to create a more comfortable learning environment for students. This gives them a chance to have deeper understanding of a subject at a reasonable pace, one-on-one (or in a small group) with their professor.

The Do’s and Don’t to keep in mind:

To fully reap the benefits from office hours there are some tips that students should keep in mind before attending.


  • Have a plan

  • ​It is important for a student to map out what they need help with specifically. This eliminates time lost in unnecessary subjects and guessing what they need help in. Furthermore, if students need help with their homework they should pick certain problems to go over.

  • Have questions prepared

  • ​Students should write down all the questions they have before attending. This allows students to direct their time to get a deeper understanding of what subject or problem that is unclear.

  • Check your bag

  • It's important students come prepared with their notes and books in hand. This is can help students with reference to subjects and to add more to their notes.

  • Schedule an appointment

  • It is always a good thing to schedule an appointment regardless of when the hours are. This comes in hand if student want to work with their professor individually or a time slot that fit with their schedule.

  • Do follow-ups

  • ​Do not be a “one and done” student. It is always a good idea to keep attending office hours as much as possible. Not only do students get the help they need straight from the source, but they are able to create a great relationship with there professor. Who knows it might help in the long run.


  • Don't come in the day before a quiz or exam with a million questions about what’s on the test

  • It is too late to try and explain or answer any questions, specially the day of the exam. This just proves that students haven’t been paying attention or studying the material and didn’t bother seeking help until now. That why it’s best to come in days or weeks in advance to fully understand the material and to be better prepare for any upcoming exams.

  • Don't come in with the intentions of getting the answers to an exam, period.


  • Don't come in at end of the semester with intentions to persuade your professor to boost your grade

  • They aren’t going to change it. Students have an entire semester to seek help or take advantage of extra credit assignments. If not, oh well.

From experience I can honestly say that office hours have help me to thrive in many my course. I found it to very reassuring going to see my professors because I am able to understand certain subject in grave detail right from the source. It has also helped me to realize what I should be focusing on specifically to manage my time well. Overall, I found office hours to be vital resource when it comes to academic success.

Sierra Shigematsu, Senior

Orientation Leader

High School: Kapa'a High School

Hometown: Anahola, Hawai'i

Major: Comprehensive Medical Imaging, Sonography