RateMyProfessors.com is the go-to semester planning tool for students and teachers alike
Rate My Professors: a website that allows students to, well, rate their professors.
While the platform lets students publish their opinions on their universities, it has also become a kind of search engine that helps students pick their classes and teachers.
“I use Rate My Professors only once a semester, and it’s every time we have registration,” said Belmont history major Justin Tatooles.
The site is the perfect place for pre-registration research on the dos and don’ts of Belmont professors and courses. Students rate faculty members on a scale of one to five stars, then leave a review on which class they took and how their experience was. For students who use the platform to background check their potential schedule for the next semester, tags such as “Get Ready to Read,” “Beware of Pop Quizzes” and “Skip Class? Won’t Pass” make it easy to determine the environment and difficulty of each class and teacher.
“It definitely impacts who I choose to be my new professors,” said Tatooles. “I try to see if there’s a general consensus on if a professor doesn’t have a very good teaching style or doesn’t really help their students out in class or any number of things. If there is, then I just won’t take that class and I look for another professor.”
Megan Steltz, a sophomore nursing major, also uses Rate My Professors when building her schedule, but says it doesn’t always affect which class she chooses.
“My professor right now has a 2 1/2 out of five, but his class was the best time for me. I don’t let the ratings affect me that much, but I do take them into account when deciding my schedule. They’re just another one of the factors.”
Although some students only leave reviews when they have an extreme like or dislike for a professor, Steltz reviews all of them every year.
“I always rate all of my professors at the end of the semester, because I think the good ones don’t get as many ratings as the bad. When I’m leaving a negative review, it’s not mean. I’m just honest. I try to be fair,” she said.
Junior Zach Boyle also uses the website, and in fact has developed a system in how he uses it during registration.
“I’ll put down all of my possible times for a class, and then I go through and I see what all of the available teachers are rated on Rate My Professors. Then I go through the comments. You kind of have to weed out the comments, because some students leave a bad review because they just didn’t work hard in the class, and they take it out on the teacher. So after I get the general opinion, I compare the teachers and I’ll pick whichever one has the better rating.”
Rate My Professors isn’t just for students, however; professors are starting to use it for their own benefit, too.
“I’ve had a few teachers that are starting to ask us to leave comments on Rate My Professors for them,” said Boyle.
Nathan Adam, a Belmont professor in the Curb College of Entertainment, says he uses Rate My Professors to determine if his classes are improving each semester.
“I’ve found that reviews on Rate My Professors are the students that either really loved the class or really hated it. I like to be aware of them because that helps me know whether I’m getting closer to or farther away from a perfect class every time,” he said.
The website can help faculty gauge students’ overall consensus on a class or teacher; but according to Adam, Rate My Professors still ranks last on his list of resources that impact on his teaching style and course adjustments, followed by “personal conversations with students… then course evaluations, because that’s something that someone at least took a minute at the end of class to think, ‘How can we make this better?’”
Adam — who boasts 4 1/2 stars on Rate My Professors, and whose classes “94% would take again,” according to the site — says the platform is useful for one thing above all:
“If I’m ever feeling bad about myself, I check my Rate My Professors and it helps me feel better.”
Rate My Professors may be a useful tool when deciding what professor or class is the best fit for a student’s schedule, but it is important to take the comments with a grain of salt.
“I don’t look at the fives or the ones,” said Tatooles. “Fives are usually, ‘Oh, this is the best professor I’ve ever had!’ because they obviously had a good relationship with that professor. And ones are, ‘Oh, they’re the worst ever,’ because maybe you didn’t do any work in the class. It’s important to look deeper than that.”
PHOTO: Students often RateMyProfessors.com in tandem with Belmont’s Classfinder. Belmont Vision / Lillie Ryann Burke.
This article was written by Lillie Ryann Burke.