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Carrington College Blog

Tips for talking to your college professor

December 5, 2013

Not being afraid to talk to your professors is one of the most effective ways to ensure your success in college.One of the best ways to ensure your success in college is to have no fear when it comes to asking teachers questions. Many college students, especially new ones, feel intimidated by their professors, afraid that by asking them questions they might not appear to be capable students. But in fact, just the opposite is true.

Professors are there to help you
Always remember that a professor’s job is to help you reach your full potential as a student. That means they not only need to be effective in-class or online instructors, but they are also supposed to be available to offer you guidance outside of class.

That availability is something that you should be willing to take advantage of as often as you need it. Whether it’s a specific question about your medical coding classes, or you’re having a hard time understanding a general concept in medical billing, or you’ve encountered any other problem in the area of study you are pursuing, your professor is one of the most valuable resources you have at your disposal to solve those problems.

So don’t be afraid of approaching your professors. Actually, you should be eager to do so. It is one of the best things you can do to make your path toward a college degree a little bit easier.

Tips for talking to professors
Here are a few things you should keep in mind when approaching professors for help:

  • Know their office hours.1 While your professors are there to help you, they can’t be on-call 24 hours a day. Reserve your questions for a time they have officially allotted to meet with students.
  • Use technology. It wasn’t long ago that if you wanted to talk to a professor you had to camp out in front of his or her office. Now all you have to do is send a quick email. You shouldn’t necessarily expect an immediate response, but that will still be a faster way of getting a hold of your professor.
  • Have a specific question or topic in mind.2 Don’t approach a professor with a vague issue like, “I’m not understanding the class. Can you help me?” Know exactly what topic or topics you need help with. The more specific you can be, the more likely it is your professor will be able to offer you the right advice.

If you let go of your fear and follow that advice, talking to your professors should be easy.

1 “Professor Keene’s Twenty Tips for First Year College Students: How to Get the Most Out of Your College Experience,”
2 “What’s the Best Way to Talk to My Instructor?” Student Success Center, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.