“Rate My Professors” is Completely Unbiased (My Arse)

Preparing for college means a lot of things. You might be living on your own for the first time, so you stock up on the Ramen, microwave ovens and flimsy IKEA furniture. You have to buy textbooks, which burns a fat hole in your already starving wallet while bookstores laugh at your student poverty. You register for classes, get your photo ID, contact your hopefully sane and not freaky roommate, etc. It’s a lot to do!

And then, when you get your schedule, you scan down the list of classes and think “Wow, freshman year is going to be great. My class is going to be super easy and my teacher is going to love me!”

What? Who am I kidding? You’re probably thinking “Holy shiitake mushrooms, how am I going to handle this schedule?! And…”

And then you look at the professor’s name beside the class name…

“… What the heck is my professor like?”

Cue the chorusing angels and ethereal light beaming down on your head through fluffy parting clouds. Here is where the beauty of the Internet comes in.

RateMyProfessors Logo

If you haven’t heard, there is a website called Rate My Professors, where students – this should be pretty obvious – rate their professors. It’s a pretty popular site and I just had to check it out. It’s so popular, a lot of people schedule/change their classes based on the site’s reviews. Plus, there’s even an app for it. So I couldn’t resist. In general, I try to be an open-minded person, who takes hearsay with a grain – more like a vat – of salt. To really understand something, you have to experience it yourself, yes? This is my philosophy.

However, because I have Antzin-Pants syndrome, which I touched on in this article, I couldn’t help checking out my professors to see what others have said about them.

Boy, did this make me laugh and cry at the same time. 

What I have gathered from this site is that most of the people who leave reviews either really love the professor or really hate the professor, so you don’t get a whole lot of unbiased, “average” ratings. But then again, how am I supposed to know they’re unbiased? Sometimes, it’s easy to spot the begrudged and the smitten:

Excerpts taken from review of statistics professor:

VERY POOR TEACHER, DOES NOT EXPLAIN ANYTHING, BORING LECTURES, TOO MUCH HOMEWORK.

Yeah, he’s hard. Granted this is college. It should be a challenge. The class will go fine is [sic] you pay attention and study. Tutoring will also help. Just ask questions and make him go slow. This man lives for stat’s.

Excerpts taken from review of computer science teacher:

I thought Karla was an extremely boring teacher. Two hours of her was just too much for me.

She is energetic, hot, and ambitious. She has the whole class on the edge of their seat waiting to learn more…too bad she’s taken…

No professor is “one size fits all.” You have people who will go into an ALL CAPS RAGE about a professor and then you have people who will confess a somewhat inappropriate amount of affection for a professor… Seriously, did that review really call the professor “hot?” See, this is the part that makes me laugh.

ROFLMAO

The part that makes me cry (aside from laughing so hard), is the person in my head saying, “But what if it’s all true?” Extremely opinionated reviews are easy to ignore if they’re scattered, but when there is a pattern of reviews indicating a general consensus, you can’t help but wonder if the masses are right. The reviews for the statistics teacher are largely negative. The nicest review was that second one above. The reviews for the computer science teacher are largely – overwhelmingly – positive. There are only a couple of negative reviews and those reviews aren’t even that harsh.

There are keywords in the reviews of my third professor: “brilliant,” “pretentious,” “frighteningly brilliant”, “snob,” “genuinely interested.” I kid you not, almost every review for this professor has one of those words in them. Can 10 pages of reviews be wrong? Let the poster for a mediocre movie do the talking:

Ryan Reynolds is okay

Ok, this was a stupid picture insert.

People fear the unknown. That’s part of human nature. Maybe you’re one of those “gonads of steel” people who laugh in the face of danger. Even then, the unknown still reaches into your core and pokes your huevos ever so subtly, telling you “hey, you have no idea what you’re getting into. It could be nasty.”

So maybe the reviews are right: my stats professor is an unorganized burn-out; my computer science professor is a hilarious and quirky hotty; and my honors professor is a pretentious scum bag, who may or may not be after students’ interest.

Well, you know how I’m going to find out if these are true? I’m just going to go to class. Rule in life: Judge everything for yourself.

Have you used Rate My Professors? How do you feel after reading your professors’ reviews? For non-Freshman: How accurate were the reviews for your professors?

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11 thoughts on ““Rate My Professors” is Completely Unbiased (My Arse)

  1. It’s been useful to me. Above comments are all pretty much right, though you’ve got to wade through the OMG SHE WAS TOTES AWESOME to the FUCK THIS PROF SHE MADE ME WORK AND SHIT comments. I always try to leave comments on profs after a semester, good or bad. I actually need to do it for this past semester and summer. Then again, I’m an English major, getting on in my upper-classes. So I kinda know almost everyone right now and it’s easier for me to just ask another English nerd how so-and-so is.

  2. I have saved money on books thanks to rate my professor. Some students are nice enough to inform future students whether the book was really necessary or not. Doing this has saved me a few hundred bucks :). It’s interesting how most professors that get poor ratings at community college are math and communications professors. I have my theories on why that may be :).

  3. my school’s pretty small, so there’s never a whole lot of reviews on there (if any), but they pretty much hit the mark when there are reviews. except for the hotness scale, i’m pretty sure none of the professors at my school should have that, and yet about a third of them are marked “hot”

    p.s. love your post! i remember going through that

  4. It’s true that the comments are very polarized, but sometimes they help you get a feel of what to expect during the class. Like “so-and-so always uses powerpoints, and you will have to always read the assigned readings,” or “don’t bother buying the textbook, she never uses it,” etc. Though, you’re right, it all has to be taken with a grain of salt!

    • Yeah, I kind of got the feeling that taking the “average” of the reviews would probably give me an accurate gauge of the professor and class. Sometimes, you can kind of tell who the level-headed reviewers as opposed to the “I never went to class, so it’s the professor’s fault” reviewers.

  5. Hmmm. I have mixed thoughts on RMP. At my community college, it’s a very accurate description of the professors. For instance, my Mom (who works at the college and has the highest student passage and retention rate in all of the English department) has 25 reviews and has a 5.0–while one of my Math professors has a 3.1 and I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO THE REVIEWS! I was like “Oh, RMP isn’t always accurate”…but he really sucks. So. 😄

    I think that if a MAJORITY of the people don’t like the professor, you shouldn’t take em.

    • Wow, your mom has a 5.0? Impressive. But I’ll just have to wait and see for myself come the first week 🙂 It’s tempting to just go with the site’s reviews, but who knows… People’s standards of teaching vary.

  6. It is a waste of time really, people seem to have a soft spot for the good looking/’hot’ teachers. All hot teachers have good reviews and I mean all. Doesn’t make for much information this site.

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