Opinion: Relying on RateMyProfessors.com

Mike Crissman

Mike Crissman

Mike Crissman is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.

If you haven’t already been on it recently, you’re sure to use it sometime in the next week or two. Kent State course registration for next fall begins this week, and most of the student body will likely use the services of RateMyProfessors.com, the website that lets college students give feedback about professors they’ve had in the past.

On the website, students can rate their professors by helpfulness, clarity and easiness. These rankings are extremely helpful to the college student who wants the easy way out — so, most of us. If given the choice between a strict grader and lenient one, it’s only natural for a student to choose the teacher that will give them the clearest path to a good grade. Lucky for us, today’s college scholar has that choice.

Most of the professors at Kent State are listed on RateMyProfessors with multiple ratings and comments from past students. Just about everyone I know, including myself, relies on it when deciding which classes we will take the next semester. The website has become almost as necessary in choosing classes as the actual listing of classes itself on Flashline.

Most of the leeway students have in selecting which professor they want comes when there are numerous sections of a course available. This isn’t always the case, though. As a student progresses through an academic program, the courses they are required to take become smaller and smaller, giving the student little to no choice as to who their professor is. Once multi-section LER classes are out of the way, the benefits of RateMyProfessors are much more limited.

In addition to curriculum restrictions, students also have to deal with schedule conflicts. At the end of the day, if you have to take a class, you have to take a class. However, even if there is no choice in who teaches a course in a given semester, the ratings and comments on RateMyProfessors at least lets students know what to expect.

There is a lighter side to RateMyProfessors that allows students to rate the appearance of their professors by answering “hot” or “not.” Scrolling through the list of Kent State instructors on the website, you can see there are an awful lot of red chili peppers, indicating “hotness”. So many, in fact, that I begin to question whether or not I attend the same college.

Either my perception of attractiveness is out of whack, or I go to school with a lot of creepy 20 year olds who want to get in bed with some elderly people. It’s true that the hotness ratings are hardly taken seriously by the students deciding them. Nevertheless, it is funny.

Whenever I’ve used Rate My Professors in the past, part of me questions the rationale behind purposely choosing easier teachers. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that any knowledge lost in taking a class with a more sympathetic teacher is minimal at best. The peace of mind the website provides makes it more than worth it.

College classes are expensive. I want to make sure what I’m paying for won’t make me miserable. Using Rate My Professors is no different than looking up reviews for a car. I don’t want to buy a Dodge Viper with faulty brakes. That’s dangerous.