Do’s and Don’ts for Going to Meet with Your Professor

Do’s and Don’ts for Going to Meet with Your Professor
Things to do
Go to scheduled office hours if possible. If
you need to ask for a special appointment, ask
the professor when it is convenient for him or
her to meet with you, rather than reciting all
the times that you cannot meet.
Show up to any appointment you make with
the professor!
Things NOT to do
Don’t expect the professor to give you the
answer. They are there to help you get your
paper started or get it moving along, not write
it for you.
Don’t use your cell phone while you are
meeting with the professor. This behavior
does not show that your work is the most
important thing to you at the moment.
Be on time and bring your own paper or
Don’t be argumentative if you have a
notebook and writing implement. This shows difference of opinion. It’s best just to engage
that you came ready to work.
in a normal, intellectual discussion of ideas.
Use good manners. Smile when you greet the
Don’t talk while the professor is talking
professor and thank him for his time before
because this is disrespectful and doesn’t show
you leave.
that you’re interested in what they have to
teach you.
Have some ideas and some thoughts about
Don’t get upset at constructive criticism
how to develop your ideas if you’re writing from the professor. Instead, ask him or her to
explain further how you can improve. View it
a paper.
as an opportunity to learn, not a problem.
Have specific questions or ideas in mind to
Don’t approach the meeting with a pointdiscuss with the professor. Show her the
by-point agenda that you are so determined
work you have already done and then ask
to get through that the professor cannot stop
questions about the difficulties you’re having.
and engage you on the topics that he or she
thinks are important (which are probably the
ones that impact your grade).
Take notes during the meeting.
Don’t use the meeting as an opportunity to
express your dislike of the subject matter.
Be willing to rethink and/or extend your
Don’t decide not to follow through on things
ideas. Go meet with your professor before the the professor suggests to you like doing extra
assignment is to the point where you cannot
credit or looking up another source for your
change your mind without great difficulty.
If you don’t understand something the
Don’t pretend you understand what the
professor is telling you if you don’t. Failure
professor tells you, say so!
to communicate is one of the biggest barriers
to student learning. Most professors can
simplify what they are presenting to you or
slow down their explanation of the material.
Author: Shirley “Mandy” Sexton, Ph.D.