Article by Scarlett Valentin
So it’s just about that time. Those of you already in college are packing up for summer and incoming freshman are finishing up high school ready for a new life. Either way, August is going to come sooner or later and you’re going to be faced with a few professors who will make or break your semester. Choosing professors is just as crucial as choosing your classes. The instructor can take an extremely easy course and make it just as stressful as organic chemistry and vice versa. Depending on who you are you may want a professor who is extremely passionate about the topic and will take as long as he needs to make sure you understand the material. You may want a professor that’s going to go on tangents about your favorite sports team. Or you just may want a professor that guarantees an easy A. Either way you’re going to need some resources to help you pick out the perfect professor.
Basically all of you should be familiar with the website, but ratemyprofessors.com is used by college students to read reviews written by other students about potential professors for the upcoming semester. Although it may not always be reliable, this site can do wonders if used properly.
When reading teacher reviews, there’s a few things you have to look out for. More than usual, there are those types of students who slacked off and barely showed up to class who are going to badmouth the teacher. Be aware. They’re going to complain about how much work was given and how difficult the class was. They’ll also say the professor was of no help. While this may sometimes be the case, it’s more likely that the student probably put more effort into this review than any other assignment all semester. The site does not tell you if your professors have had any extra schooling, but any good teacher will have taken at least an online educational leadership program.
Then there’s also the favorite student who will leave a review. Nobody can compete with the experience this student had with the professor. Whether its due to a shared loved or extreme sucking up, great grades don’t come as easily to the rest of us in the class. This review is basically just going to talk about how great of a person the professor is.
Crucial point! Pay attention to what course the review is referring to. Some professors are better off at certain areas of concentration, so don’t let a difficult class get in the way of the one you want to enroll in.
Ratemyprofessors.com is a good start to figuring out your potential professors but just one review isn’t going to cut it. After reading all the reviews listed and making your best judgments about them, ask your friends who may know the professors. In the end, everyone is going to view people differently. Some favor different teaching styles and others are just better in certain subjects. But I’ve found my research on my professors to be fairly valid these past two semesters.
So freshman, utilize your tools. The transition to college is mind bottling enough. Bearable professors will make it a bit smoother. And to everyone else, even if you’ve made your schedule already it’s not to late to drop and add classes. Don’t let an unfavorable professor ruin your semester!
by Scarlett Valentin