NSBE Retention Resource Splash 1

Leveraging Office Hours!

What are office hours?

In college, your instructors will provide you with a set of regularly scheduled times when they are available to meet with you outside of class to discuss questions that you might have about the course or assignments.  Taking advantage of office hours can be one of the smartest things you can do while you are in college. Here are some tips collected from faculty members designed to help you make the most of this opportunity.

Make an appointment...be on time

Although faculty members are expected to be available during posted office hours, it can be helpful to make an appointment for a specific time. Your instructors have family emergencies and last minute schedule changes - just like you. If you have made an appointment, your instructor will be expecting you and can contact you about changes in his or her schedule. If you do show up for an office hour and the instructor doesn't, make sure to follow up with an email to ask about the best way to reschedule.


Your instructor may teach 4 or 5 courses, and his or her schedule is as busy as yours. If you are late for your appointment, chances are very good that your instructor may already be talking with another student. If you have made an appointment and an emergency comes up, email your instructor as soon as possible to explain the situation.

No problem, ok

Office hours can be used as an opportunity to get to know your professor and to share information about your learning style or your expectations for the course. This also helps your instructor attach a name to a face. Schedule an appointment at the beginning of the semester before it gets too busy and indicate to your professor that you would like a chance to introduce yourself. Then limit the visit to five or ten minutes.

Thank you, come again

Don't hesitate to use the office hours more than once during the semester if you need the help. On the other hand, if you are in a class with many students, your instructor might have limited time to see everyone who would like to take advantage of office hours. Your instructors should provide you with guidance about how they expect students to use office hours.


You can also ask for referrals to other resources on campus that can provide you with assistance. Almost all colleges and universities have some kind of program that helps students improve their chances for academic success!

NSBE Retention Resource Splash 2

What is Supplemental Instruction (SI)?

Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a FREE series of group study sessions led by a SI leader. These sessions are prepared to strengthen students' learning and study strategies through reviewing course materials.  Attending SI sessions early in the semester and consistently (weekly) can help with the following:

  • Sustain the strong work ethic with build-in study time for your classes
  • Reinforce your learning from lecture
  • Master the course material by making connections of concepts accurately
  • Develop effective study skills for your classes
  • Motivate to succeed with your peers

Where to find sessions?

To find if your university offers SI sessions feel free to search your university’s homepage, contact your academic adviser, academic success center and/or diversity office.

Who Are the SI Leaders?

SI leaders are successful undergraduate students who have taken the course they are supporting and performed strongly. They are recommended by faculty members. The SI leader attends the lecture for the class they support and hold 3-5 SI sessions per week.

What is the goal of Supplemental Instruction?

SI is intended to help students become independent learners. If you attend SI, you can expect to learn new study skills, as well as sharpen your existing skills for your future classes. SI leaders are successful students and role models for effective study habits, and will guide you in developing study strategies, problem-solving skills, and organizational skills.

What happens in SI?

In your SI sessions, you should:
  • Go over difficult and important concepts
  • Learn by collaborating with your classmates
  • Learn study skills and strategies to help you throughout college
  • Practice problems and drill material
  • Prepare for exams by reviewing concepts and practice materials
  • Develop effective study guides for your studying
  • Find answers to your questions
  • Have fun and meet new people

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