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Designing your curriculum requires careful consideration of the classes you take and the professors who teach them. To ensure you receive the best education, you’ll want to learn from someone with superior instructional and professional experience.
Utilizing tools like Rate My Professors is ideal for finding your college or university’s star lecturers. However, just like reading online reviews before making a purchase or visiting a doctor, there’s a correct way to use the website for yourself and make it more beneficial for your peers. Here are four tips for making the most of Rate My Professors throughout your college career.
1. Pay Attention While Reading Reviews
As you begin reading through Rate My Professors’ reviews, there are a few things you should look out for:
- The number of critiques a professor has received
- Commonalities between reviews
- Authenticity and context of a review
- Overall Quality rating
It’ll be tricky to base your decision on whether to take a specific professor’s course if there are only two or three reviews written. Remember that bias is all too prevalent in student feedback and those who choose to leave a review will have either loved or hated the professor.
A recent study found that 47.6% of Rate My Professors’ reviews are inaccurate and lean in a negative direction 87.4% of the time. Perhaps there was a discrepancy in a poor test score, or the student and professor simply had clashing personalities. Those instances may be wholly individual to the reviewer and have little to do with the professor’s overall teaching capabilities.
If possible, read between five or six reviews for a fair judgment. You should also look for a one-star rating without context or reasoning. According to Yelp, nine in 10 people trust written reviews more than a one-star rating without a comment — and rightfully so. Ratings without text lack validity and transparency.
2. Read Several Reviews to Make an Informed Decision
Making the most of Rate My Professors to build your semester requires critical thinking. It’s not enough to read a few reviews and decide whether to take a professor’s class.
Use the filters to narrow down the feedback by classes taught or by negative and positive ratings. On the other hand, by visiting your school’s profile and filtering the results to the department — for example, English or Psychology — you can view all of the professors from best to worst Overall Quality and start your search from there.
Sift through the reviews and focus on what applies to you, such as the course title and level, undue gossip, and the professor’s expectations of their students. If someone complains about the number of reading assignments, but you love to read, that’s one review you can ignore.
The best professors will have positive reviews mentioning engaging lectures and an empowering approach to classroom teaching. Statements about extra help during office hours and supplemental learning resources also indicate an excellent instructor.
3. Write a Helpful Review
If you rely on Rate My Professor feedback for your own advantage, it’s only fair to leave a review for other students to find, too.
As a reader, you’ll likely discover that the best reviews — whether good or bad — are the ones you base your decision on whether to take a course with a particular professor.
Complaining about a professor giving too many quizzes or reading assignments isn’t helpful advice and demonstrates laziness. Instead, talk about their teaching styles and the coursework’s difficulty.
For example, if your professor favored auditory teaching methods like reading aloud or group discussions, describe how they offered to help bring you up to speed during office hours using your preferred learning style, such as visuals and diagrams. This will demonstrate that while they have their own technique, they’re also willing to adapt to individual learning needs to ensure students don’t fall behind.
4. Be Professional
You should never use Rate My Professor to take down a professor you didn’t like. Maintaining a semblance of professionalism is a much better approach to writing a review and will convey greater reliability and truthfulness.
While standing up for what you believe in and providing an honest opinion is essential, self-regulating any feelings of anger or resentment is a sign of emotional intelligence — only true professionals can keep calm under pressure.
Refrain from name-calling, cursing, and inserting hateful attacks toward your professor. Also, check to ensure you’ve used proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Too many mistakes will give readers the impression that you were just lazy in class, proving your comment inaccurate.
Rate My Professor Is a Useful Resource
Although you’ll need to take some reviews with a grain of salt, Rate My Professors is a practical resource for students to decide if a professor could be a good match. It also raises awareness of areas professors could improve to help students get the most out of their classes.
When you use the site correctly, whether reading reviews or writing them, Rate My Professors can prove more valuable to you and other students than you realize.