A small website that exploded into a phenomenon, helps or hinders students looking for their perfect semester every time they register for class. RateMyProfessors.com has become ingrained with students, many of whom treat it as their online Bible.
The site began in 1999 as a tool for students to, in effect, rate their professors based on what they liked and disliked. RateMyProfessor has — according to their website’s statistics — over 7,000 schools registered. With over 16 million ratings, your upcoming professor is bound to be on there. However, it does raise a question: are these comments valid?
Many students will blow off steam on this website, degrading their professor because of a bad grade or a bad experience. The reviews can be cryptic, due to the nature in which the reviews are published. In most comments, people who did not do well in the class had the most negative of reviews.
Although, despite some comments being crafted out of hatred, the site does get a lot of traffic from MCC students.
Jasmine McClain a Psychology major explains that she “used it [the site] often,” however, “one of my professors told us to give negative reviews to show how pointless it is, after that, I stopped using it.”
Some students only use the site when registering for classes. Dayle Steiner a Mechanical Engineering major uses it “about once a semester when signing up.” Steiner has a method when detecting the validity of reviews. “Anything above a 3.5 rating is typically accurate — anything below is potentially skewed.”
Stephanie Ingalls, a Business Administration major avoids the site entirely, saying that “it’s inaccurate, many students hold grudges — positive reviews can be done by lazy students who got an ‘easy A’.” Ingalls warns that it is very hard to find an accurate review because “everyone has a different perspective.”
Many MCC professors do take their reviews into consideration and view the site. MCC’s lone French professor, Steven Farrington explains that he has viewed the site on occasion, although he states that the reviews are “generally valid, but should be taken with a big grain of salt.”
Farrington says that students should consider the time the class is offered rather than the professor who is offering it. “Students, especially new students, should choose their schedules mostly based on what kind of schedule would allow them to be most effective,”
MCC does have a way for students to review their courses via a survey sent through their student emails. That information can be accessed by students at the library. However, if a student is willing to gamble everything on a website — the choice is entirely theirs.