by Julia McCoy ’22
Registration is arguably one of the most stressful times of the school year. However, the most stressful aspect of it is likely the anxiety that comes with not knowing your professors’ level of difficulty.
A popular way to quell this anxiety is to use ratemyprofessors.com, a website that allows former students to evaluate their professors in areas such as level of difficulty, grading toughness, and overall quality. While this website is frequently accessed by students at Providence College, it is not a trustworthy choice.
A result of the Rate My Professors craze is competition that arises among students when they try to register in the “easier” classes. This competition adds even more stress to this chaotic time of year.
The amount of effort you put into a class determines your result. The professor is not the only factor that determines your grade or how well you do in the class.
What is important to remember is that every student has their own opinion about a professor. Everyone prefers a different teaching style, and opinions on which style is better cannot be accurately conveyed through a website such as Rate My Professors.
In terms of reliability, Rate My Professors allows students to voice their honest opinions. It does not, however, seek to provide further information on the student’s background or learning preferences.
The anonymous reviews on Rate My Professors give absolutely no indication of the student’s major or any other information. This information is essential because it would allow students to see similarities between themselves and the person who is reviewing.
Regardless, Rate My Professors is still a popular website among college students trying to find the best fit for next semester’s schedule. If they succeed in enrolling in the “best” class, they are likely less burdened by the anticipation of next semester.
In an ideal world, Rate My Professors would certainly be a helpful tool for students. It should not, however, include such heavily biased opinions and ineloquent judgments of a professor’s character.
On the other hand, failing to enroll in your preferred class can leave you worrying for two months before the next semester begins. Reading negative professor reviews not only scares students, but creates a predetermined bias against a professor that is quite difficult to shake.
A bias against a professor that you have never experienced in the classroom is unnecessary and does not reflect your own opinion.
Rate My Professors hinders students from being open-minded. However, being flexible is essential to getting through any class, regardless of the professor.
It does not make sense to rely so heavily on other people’s opinions, and one review should not prevent you from taking a class that you are interested in.
When choosing which classes to take next semester, focus less on other students’ opinions of the professor and more on the course description. If it’s beneficial to your major, filling a core requirement, or it peaks your interest, that is all that matters.