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Ratings of professors not always reliable

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As you start to sign up for classes, one of the first things that most of us do is look at the ratings of the professors that teach our classes. These ratings are submitted by students who have taken a course taught by the professor, but can they be trusted? Not always.

Professors are rated on everything from the amount of homework they give to how attractive they are. However, the fact of the matter is, you have to be wary of students who did not get the grade they wanted in the class and are blaming the professor.

A lot of the bad ratings come from students who are in lower level courses, like English 101 or 201. These courses are required for everyone, even if you are not an English major, which is bound to lead to some disagreements among professors and students.

Not everyone loves English or math, and this can cause a dislike for the class before it even begins. Students may struggle with the coursework if it’s a subject they are not good at. Instead of realizing that a course is just in a subject they cannot understand easily, some students are quick to blame the teaching ways of the professor.

Also, your definition of a heavy workload and someone else’s definition of a heavy workload can be highly different. A heavy workload for you may be a six-page essay while the person who left the bad rating may see a one-page essay as too much.

Another fact to note is that everyone has a different personality. You are going to find professors that you get along great with that other students cannot stand. Not every professor and student pairing end as well as expected.

If you can’t always trust the ratings, then what are you supposed to look at? You can still look at the ratings, just examine them a little bit closer. If someone gave the professor a bad rating, see if they go into detail. Also, see if their argument makes sense and is justified.

Ratings that simply state “I could not stand this professor” or “they gave out too much homework” lack description and are likely students who just did not get along with the professor. Ratings that state something like, “I had a six-page essay due every week along with other various homework assignments” are more descriptive and provide you with an idea of what the professor is like.

Next time you are signing up for classes and you are starting to look up the ratings on your professors, take a moment to actually look at what people are saying. Trusting a few reviews from students who did not want to do the work may result in you missing out on meeting some of the best professors your campus has to offer.

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University of Southern Indiana's student publication
Ratings of professors not always reliable