Ratemyprofessor.com can be a really helpful tool when signing up for classes but only if you learn how to properly use it.
Undoubtedly, every professor will have both good and bad reviews, but students are able to maintain their anonymity, foregoing any sense of accountability. The nature of this makes it hard to tell which reviews on Rate My Professor are valid concerns and which are personal grudges or judgments from a spiteful student.
One problem with using Rate My Professor is that we can never know if the student who left the review is lying about their grade. In other cases, students may just be particularly good, or particularly bad, at one subject no matter who their teacher is.
A simple way for students to get around these issues is by adjusting what they look for when checking reviews. It takes a little more deciphering, but it could be well worth it.
Some of the information on Rate My Professor is completely useless. We don’t need to know if other students find a professor attractive.
However, we could benefit from knowing if a teacher has a strict policy on being late.
In order to get useful information out of Rate My Professor, students should scan for specific details hidden within reviews.
Some worthwhile things to look out for are grade percentage breakdown or whether a professor drops the lowest test or project grade.
Additionally, looking out for hints on a professor’s teaching style can be beneficial to those who know how they learn best. Some professors lecture strictly through PowerPoints while others rely on storytelling. Others may post notes from their lecture to D2L after class, and some utilize the textbook material heavily.
One of the more important things to practice when reading student comments on Rate My Professor is being mindful of bias in the comment section and in one’s own opinion.
According to the British Psychological Society, research shows that people are more likely to have a positive opinion about something if the first few reviews they read are positive.
Like any other website full of anonymous online reviews, many comments on Rate My Professor can be contradictory or confusing. Keep this in mind when reading reviews by not letting the first few determine the way in which you analyze the rest.
It’s also important to understand that professors with varying teaching styles will connect with students in different ways and that many professors will openly ask students if they can do anything better. A great professor is always willing to change if it means better engagement with his or her students.
Granted, there are also professors who are unwilling to do so. Some professors will always be harsh graders and others may be downright boring.
The best way to deal with this is to address the situation tactfully with the professor while keeping in mind that some are set in their ways.
If students ever find a professor to be hateful, sexually inappropriate or discriminatory, they can report them at concern.kennesaw.edu.
Those choosing to leave a review on Rate My Professor should be honest about both the good and the bad. Sharing personal experiences is never a bad thing to do.
As for reading about the experiences of others, students should always take their reviews with a healthy grain of skepticism. Remember, if a professor does not live up to expectations, there is always drop/add.