Let’s take a look at your schedule. How many classes this semester did you pick after checking Rate My Professor? If the answer is too many, don’t feel bad. You’re definitely not the only one. But what if I told you there’s a better way to approach registration?
Rate My Professor is the one website we can count on for information from other students about the best and worst professors, right? But at the end of the day, it is not and should never be the college bible. You don’t base your hookups off Cosmo’s columns or ditch Gigi Hadid’s pasta recipe cause one Youtuber didn’t like it, so why would you listen to a bunch of online reviews?
When looking at the website and the way the rating system works, it's similar to Amazon. One person could leave a review on a product, in this case, a professor, and that one review is their entire rating. The more reviews, the more accurate the rating is.
If we trust these ratings without considering they could be wrong, we could miss out on a great class with a great professor!
I asked a few friends what they look for in a professor, and here’s what they said:
Right attitude / Passionate about the material they teach
If professors share their enthusiasm for the subjects they teach, they are more likely to have a lasting impact on their students, and they will more likely enjoy being in the class.
Patient and flexible
We all want professors who are understanding and patient with us, especially when we might be behind on specific topics or assignments.
Sense of humor
This can be a major deal-breaker for some students. No one likes a hard-ass, and sometimes we all just need to have some fun. It's a great relief when professors know how to engage students with their sense of humor. These qualities make the professor memorable and encourage us to do well in the class.
Friendly and connects well with their students
Knowing that a professor really cares about their students and wants them to do well in their class is something that everyone wants in a professor. We all appreciate and love when professors want to know who we are, what we want to do with our lives and encourage us to do our best. It's such a breath of fresh air and makes us feel like there's always someone in our corner.
All of these qualities would be great for professors to have, which is why we look for them when determining which classes to take. But if we base our decision to take the class or not on what Rate My Professor says, we could be missing out on a great class with a great professor.
Something to consider is that we all learn differently, and not every professor is the same. Maybe students leave a negative review for a professor because they did not vibe well with their teaching styles.
Maybe that professor's teaching style is exactly what another student looks for in their professor. However, they’re turned off by the professor because their rating is a 2.5 instead of a 4.8.
Another thing to think about is if a student leaves a negative review for a professor to be spiteful. Maybe a great professor gave one of their students a lousy grade to reflect the work that they did (or didn't do), and they wrote a review to get back at them.
Regardless of the reason for leaving a review for a professor, we should take them with a grain of salt because we really don’t know who a professor is or how they teach unless we experience them and their teaching styles for ourselves.
Next time you sign up for classes, and before checking Rate My Professor, maybe try reaching out to them yourself. This is a really great way to get a better idea of who the professor is and how they typically run their class. And, not only would doing this benefit you and your education, but it could also set a really great first impression.