How to Make the most of Feedback at University

Imagine for a moment a university where there was no academic feedback.  Professors would continually ‘feed’ students with no expectation of any ‘feedback’ from them. Would that be a positive, pro-active teaching experience for them, or a positive learning experience for students?

Definitely not, as feedback is an important part of university education. 

Consider the following tips on how to make the most of feedback at university.

Understand the meaning of feedback, as it applies to a university:

In an academic world, feedback is “the return of information about the result of a process or activity” or “an evaluative response”. The key to feedback lies in the word ‘evaluation’, which comes down to “an act or instance of evaluating or appraising.”

Perhaps as a student, you do not think feedback from your professors is necessary or important. Maybe you would like to see all assignments, tests and exams eliminated. Some students feel that way.

Ideally, in a university setting, academic feedback for students is positive, constructive and proactive, but unfortunately, that may not always be the case. Some students do not welcome the feedback from their professors, as it immediately forces them to re-evaluate their own work and academic status, and then do something about it. Without the feedback, many students could be totally lost and badly in need of academic directives.

Serious students welcome and learn how to make the most out of feedback, knowing they ultimately are the ones who will benefit from it.

Follow academic directives:

Your professor recently gave you feedback on your test, with some academic directives. Did you decide to pay attention to it and follow the directives?

If you were a student who had knowledge about everything a particular course had to offer, you would not need advice from your professor. Even when you have some basic knowledge, your professor can probably guide you further, in a direction that will help you to grow academically. 

Choosing to follow the academic directives from your professor, (and it is an active choice that you, as a student make), the purpose of the course, as well as the professor’s strategy in terms of his or her academic feedback will become increasingly evident. A professor is not likely to misdirect you in terms of feedback, even if you do not always like the feedback you receive. Remember that feedback can be positive and affirm the reality that you are on the right track, academically.

Acknowledge academic feedback appropriately:

Let your professor know that you acknowledge and appreciate his or her feedback. In other words, accept and follow your professor’s directives. Establishing and maintaining a good relationship with your professor will lead towards consistent positive, proactive feedback from him or her, as long as your academic work stays up to par.

You may or may not always understand your professor’s feedback in terms of your academic work. When you do not comprehend the feedback, it is generally a good idea to contact him or her directly and discuss your areas of concern.  

Most professors enjoy student inquiries and students usually find that their feedback is helpful to them.