RateMyProfessors: A helpful tool or a baseless resource?

Two students debate the benefits and drawbacks of using the RateMyProfessors website to evaluate professors and choose their classes.


“Professor Smith is THE WORST. He gives bad lectures, so much homework and doesn’t seem to care about his students. Avoid his classes at all costs.” This is an example of a review you might find on the website RateMyProfessors, where students can leave anonymous reviews of professors they’ve had for the purpose of informing or warning their peers. 

As class registration approaches, students are doing what they can to make sure they plan the perfect schedule and a huge part of having a successful semester requires choosing good professors.

RateMyProfessors allows students to give feedback based on course difficulty, attendance policies and grading style. Each professor is assigned a rating out of five stars, and many students may be relying on this information to choose their classes.

Opinion Editor Claire Zeffer and Assistant Opinion Editor Valeria Uribe debate the advantages and disadvantages of college students using RateMyProfessors. 

Rate My Professors is a helpful tool during a stressful period

Valeria Uribe

Class registration is a stressful process for all college students. Having a suitable schedule and the appropriate professors can make the difference between a successful semester and a complicated one. RateMyProfessors is a tool students can use to make sure they choose professors that are compatible with their learning style, making registration day less stressful.

Jocelyn Loehr has used RateMyProfessors almost every semester at Temple and she believes the website is a useful tool.

“I wouldn’t say that I’m the one that would write a review myself, but I take them highly into consideration when selecting a professor because most of the ratings in there are just so honest,” said Loehr, a senior health professions major. 

Reading reviews and comments helps students get an idea of what a class with a certain professor would look like. It’s important for students to take classes with professors they will enjoy because students who like their professors perform better academically and have higher attendance, according to the American Psychological Association. 

It’s important for students to be able to share their opinions about classes and professors with others, said Logan Molyneux, chair of the journalism department.  

“[Sharing feedback] is the closest thing you have to a vote in your education,” Molyneux said. “I think it’s great for students to have their own grading system, I don’t think it’s different from students talking to each other in the hallways when they share recommendations.”

Professors have various teaching methods that not every student is compatible with. It’s essential that students get the chance to read reviews from other people who already took the course. 

It can make a positive difference in a student’s academic career if they know a professor’s policies and teaching techniques before taking the course. For example, a student who is not a great test taker will benefit more from taking a class with a professor who puts more weight on assignments than exams. 

“Most of the time, if I’m going to pick either an elective or a GenEd, I’m looking at RateMyProfessors and if it’s a bad professor, I’m not taking the class,” Loehr said.

Although every student has unique experiences with professors, their thoughts and comments are still important because they can paint accurate pictures of how some instructors teach their courses. 

Temple issues a Student Feedback Form every semester and students are encouraged to share their opinions and suggestions about the classes they took. The difference between the two is RateMyProfessors is open to the public and everyone can see the reviews. 

RateMyProfessors is an independent website so students might be more comfortable sharing their feedback there than through an official form that’s associated with an institution. 

Molyneux believes RateMyProfessor’s independence is appealing to students. Although information collected from the SFF is shared with faculty members so they can make adjustments and evaluations, students don’t see the feedback or know what happens with it. 

“I think it’s important for [students] to see right here, I made my contribution on this website, it’s still there, everybody else can see it,” Molyneux said.  

RateMyProfessors is a harmless source of knowledge and it allows students to prepare for class registration as much as they can. Knowing a professor’s policies ahead of time allows students to decide if it’s the right class for them and makes the process of finding the right classes more efficient because they don’t have to waste time during the add/drop period if they decide a professor is not right for them. 

Some of the comments might be biased because anyone can leave a review on RateMyProfessors. However, if students analyze the comments on RateMyProfessors with logic and search for fair feedback, the resource would reassure them when choosing classes. 

It can be hard and overwhelming to choose classes, but RateMyProfessors makes this easier and it provides students with relevant information so they can make informed decisions. 

RateMyProfessors is an inaccurate and unreliable student resource

Claire Zeffer

College students everywhere understand the pains and complexities of a bad professor. Frustrations can arise from heavy workloads, tough grading tactics or unclear instruction, creating personal and academic difficulties that students may wish to warn their peers about. 

Every student has individual experiences and opinions about their professors, and they have the right to share these beliefs on RateMyProfessors. However, these ratings can pigeonhole certain instructors and prevent students from selecting courses based on these reviews, even when they may not be an accurate reflection of the experience that every student will have with that professor. 

Although all Temple students attend the same university, their academic tracks and interpersonal relationships are vastly different. Students should refrain from using opinion-based platforms like RateMyProfessors, as it does not guarantee students a good or bad experience with a certain professor and can prevent students from exploring their academic potential.  

RateMyProfessor’s guidelines emphasize that not all teachers match individual learning styles and reviews should only highlight how a course or professor wasn’t best for an individual in a way that helps others make their own decisions. 

Many RateMyProfessors reviews are skewed by numerous factors, like how easy they found the class content and workload and whether or not attendance is mandatory. These factors are important to consider when selecting courses, but they are not reflective of the academic experience and knowledge a professor can provide. 

Feedback through Temple’s Student Feedback forms is crucial for professors to make improvements to their courses, but RateMyProfessors is unreliable as reviews only come from a small fraction of students and are less focused on academics, said David Mindich, a journalism professor.

“The questions [on RateMyProfessors] are like ‘How easy is this class?’ and ‘How helpful is the instructor?’” Mindich said. “Even though that’s useful information, information from the Student Feedback Forms, including ‘How prepared is the professor?’ and ‘How much did I learn?’ are probably more thoughtful than RateMyProfessors’ questions.”

Professors who are rated “easy” on RateMyProfessors are also rated “awesome” and vice versa. This often turns quality ratings into a rating of easiness, encouraging students to choose professors who won’t challenge them academically. 

Some students flock to RateMyProfessors before selecting their classes, searching for the professors with the highest star ratings and perhaps seeking out those who are the easiest graders or have the most lenient attendance policies. If a student selects their courses based on ease, participation or attendance policies, they might miss out on valuable learning opportunities. 

“The best classes that I took as an undergraduate were hard, demanding,” Mindich said. “The best classes that I took really stretched my brain and really made me think of things in different ways, and that’s not really captured in RateMyProfessors.”

Certain professors may be less lenient or assign more homework but could be the best fit for students academically and provide them with the highest quality education. Students pay high costs for their education and should value their learning experience by choosing courses solely based on  academic content. 

The average tuition for a Temple student is around $18,000 per year for in-state students and around $32,000 for out-of-state students. This cost is an investment in a student’s future and career, but students who only worry about which professor can give them an easy A are missing out on the true purpose of education — learning. 

Rachel Scierka avoids using the RateMyProfessors website when selecting her classes because she feels it isn’t an accurate representation of Temple professors.

“I’ve looked at [RateMyProfessors] just to see what a class was, but I wouldn’t use it [to choose my professors],” said Scierca, a film and media arts major. “I like to make my own opinions of people.” 

Students should not be relying on these biased and inaccurate reviews of professors to select their courses, and should instead seek to develop their own opinions of the professors based on their personal interactions in their course. 

“I feel like everybody can have a different perspective,” Scierca said. “People are different, and people think different things.” 

The best way for students to express their opinions of professors and benefit future students is by filling out their Student Feedback Forms at the end of each course. If a student likes or dislikes a class or a professor, they can express that anonymously and the professor and department heads will see it.

Basing schedules on other people’s opinions and experiences on RateMyProfessors can cause students to limit themselves academically and socially. Students should seek to make informed decisions and not concern themselves with anonymous reviews of people they haven’t met. 

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