The Issue with RateMyProfessor.com

Posted: January 28, 2011 by emreale in Uncategorized

I’m sure we’re all guilty of using it, even professors check their ratings from time to time. The ever-so-popular website www.ratemyprofessors.com has been an essential tool in the registration process for countless college students. Students anonymously post their thoughts (negative and positive) about a certain professor. Along with the comments and ratings, students can even rate how hot a professor is.

To be honest, I’ve used this site every time I look up classes for a new semester and for that matter, have relied on it. If there is one bad comment on a professor, I look down on it. Even if it just says something simple like “too much work” I just completely avoid and continue with my search. It was only until this semester that I started to realize this website should not be my decision making factor for a professor. It really is hard to know what a professor is like based on the opinions of strangers. From year to year, you never  know if the professor changes their syllabus or changes their workload. Maybe a comment made in 2009 was completely trashing a teacher for the amount of work they gave out yet a more recent comment said otherwise. Many of the people who post on the site are whiny students blaming  their professors for their failures in the class. Yet, in reality, those professors are the ones who will actually teach you something worth while. Then again, there are some who post great things about professors who are nice and easy yet they won’t teach you anything valuable. Students who post negative comments on an actually very effective professor could cost you a great class worth your money.

Personally, I find that there is no way to see if you like a professor until you’ve actually been through a class with them. One of the best professors I have had at Marist College has probably one of the worst ratings on RateMyProfessors. The site is extremely helpful, don’t get me wrong. But to solely rely on it is another thing. You could be missing out on the best professor you’ve ever had just because of one harsh comment.

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