Garcia: Hold Your Professors Accountable

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Arts & Entertainment Editor Luke Garcia shares his thoughts on the importance of reviewing professors. - Photo via Pixabay.com

The internet uses its miraculous powers to make our lives easier in a multitude of ways. When it comes to school, the internet can be your best friend in desperate times of need. From Chegg, to Quizlet, to Sparknotes, there is an abundance of resources available online to find you the information you need for assignments, projects and exams in a timely manner. However, I whole-heartedly believe there is no tool nearly as powerful for a college student as that of ratemyprofessors.com

If you don’t know, Rate My Professors (RMP) is a website that allows anyone to write and read reviews about the performance of college professors. You simply type in your school in the search bar which brings you to another search screen for the professor’s name. Upon searching a name, if that instructor has any reviews, their name will appear as a link. The “profile” page for each professor has important information at the top such as the percentage of students who would take them again, a difficulty rating from one to five, and common tags like “gives good feedback.” Most importantly, they average the overall rating of every review to give each professor a number rating out of five. 

Screenshot of a RMP review. / Photo via ratemyprofessors.com

Looking at specific reviews will show you different students’ individual experiences with that professor. Each reviewer is asked to fill out simple questions that are helpful for people debating on taking that professor or that show you have credibility. Questions include what was your grade, is attendance mandatory, would you take the class again, is the textbook used, and was the class taken remotely. There is also a space to write whatever you’d like to say about the professor in 350 characters and this is where it gets fun. 

College students learn firsthand how being held accountable for your performance is a harsh reality of becoming an adult. However, when it comes to school, it seems as though there are a lot more ways for students to be held responsible for weak performances or behavior than there are for professors. Students constantly have to worry about failing and not moving further in their program no matter how much work they put in, while professors can be mediocre or worse at their job and nobody bats an eye. There is a big difference in how frequently students are evaluated versus professors. Professors hold so much power over their students’ futures while instructors have practically nothing to lose from being atrocious at their job. 

RMP gives students the power to post uncensored reviews of their professors in order to call them out for being awful, excellent, or anything in between. 

You may ask, how is leaving a Yelp-like review actually holding them “accountable” since they are continuing to be an abominable professor to more students each semester? Because a lot of people use Rate My Professors. Even more people, myself included, actually use the website when choosing their classes to avoid taking any jerks. This means that those with a horrible rating will often have students choosing not to take their class when given the option. Most people would rather take a hard course with an easy or nice professor than an easy course with a hard or mean professor. I don’t have the data, but it is extremely likely that more students are trying to register for courses led by professors with strong RMP ratings versus those with weak ones. 

Use this article as a reminder to not only use Rate My Professors as a valuable tool when choosing classes but also to review your professors to give them the commendation or slander they deserve. The more reviews that are left on each professor, the more reliable the overall data becomes. As a graduating senior, I’ve made it a priority to review every single professor I’ve ever had here at Rowan to help ensure that future students make the right choices when picking their professors.

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