Professors, and the way they approach education, can make or break someone’s college experience.
When I was getting close to starting my freshman year of college, I was worried about a lot including if I would like my professors. I expressed my concern to one of my friends, and she told me about Rate My Professors.
Rate My Professors allows students to search for specific professors from a college or university, give professors a rating based on the student’s experience in the class, and see what other people thought of them.
I immediately went to the website and began searching for my professors to see what reviews past students had given them. However, this only added to my worry because I had found most of my professors were given low reviews by past students. I spent the next couple of weeks leading up to the start of the semester imagining my classes being miserable due to my professors.
When the semester finally began, I was pleasantly surprised. Most, if not all, of the professors that were given bad reviews were helpful and understood their students. I was confused for a few days until I realized something.
Whenever I have had a good experience in the past with nearly anything, I never think to leave a good review about it. However, when I have a bad experience, I am far more likely to leave a review.
This makes Rate My Professors unreliable. It dilutes the positive experiences someone may have and highlights the negative experiences.
I noticed a similar phenomenon when I worked at a fast-food restaurant in high school. Out of boredom, I logged onto the Google reviews for our restaurant and began to read them. I found almost no positive reviews and began to worry I worked at a below-standard restaurant. However, only a few weeks later, we began to hand out surveys with each meal asking people to fill them out based on their experience at the restaurant. We still received a similar amount of negative reviews, but the number of positive reviews we received had increased.
Another reason Rate My Professors is unreliable is simply due to a lack of effort from the students. I can think of many times throughout my life when a student has done the bare minimum in a class only to come to the professor near the end of the semester and get mad for not passing them. I believe this is the case for many students who use Rate My Professors. Many students will take a class expecting it to be an easy A grade and get frustrated when they are confronted with actual work. This is something that should never be blamed on the professor but often is.
One student on Rate My Professors wrote a negative review regarding Rhiannon Bent, an assistant professor of communication. They said: “Professor Bent is extremely detail oriented. Her grading style is extremely difficult to meet and likes to think that she’s benefiting the students by picking every little detail.”
As someone who has taken a class with Bent, I find this review interesting as the class she teaches is preparing students to enter a very detail-oriented field, so her being attentive to details helped me grow as a student.
Aside from the reliability of Rate My Professors, it has the potential to be damaging to a professor’s career and reputation.
College classrooms are a two-way street between the student and the professor. From my experience, most, if not all, of the professors at Utah Tech University are willing to work with you and put in the effort to help you succeed as long as you are willing to do the same.
I encourage anyone who may be worried about a professor in one of their classes to try the class before relying on Rate My Professors. If you are struggling, then be transparent with your professor, and I am willing to bet they’ll be willing to help.