Rate My Professor, Rate My Attitude

It’s that time of the quarter again! Schedule of classes is out for Fall Quarter and soon everyone is going to try to find the “perfect” schedule. That means perfect class times, perfect class subjects, and, most importantly, perfect professors. For this, most people use ratemyprofessor.com, the official public review of all accredited professors in nearly all universities in the United States. For those of you not versed in the handy site, all you have to do is look up UCI and find the professor you’re thinking about taking. They’ll be ranked in the following: easiness, helpfulness, clarity, ability to interest the class, and, the most desired ranking: hotness. Everything is graded on a five point scale, and at the top of their profile, each professor will have an “overall ranking” which gives you a quick idea of if you want to take the class or not. Everyone is free to make a post, and allowed to leave a short comment with thoughts of the professor. If anything, those comments are probably the most useful out of anything else as it gives you a glimpse into the dire or fortunate future awaiting you next quarter.

But are the posts honest? I have heard horror stories where people will spam a couple fake posts describing the professor as terrible when in actuality they are probably one of the best on campus, just to scare away potential students and reserve seats for themselves. I’ve never actually had this happen to me, but I have found it a good habit to go back a bit and see what people two or three quarters ago thought of the professor.  Plus it’s just funny to see what people think of a professor.

This is especially true for the “hotness” rating. Honestly, it’s a dumb rating and does nothing to help you choose your class. But the amount of giddiness you have when you see that one of your professors has the coveted chili pepper is insurmountable. I mean sure, you’re never going to get lucky with them, but the fact that they’re easy on the eyes will sure make the class go by a lot more smoothly than if they were less than pleasing to look at, that is. Trust me, when you have a teacher who reminds you of a pear for 10 weeks, you’ll be begging for anybody who is remotely good looking.  And you better have the hospital on speed dial if your professor has a flaming chili pepper because at that point you’ll be having a mini heart attack every class.

Now for some people, ratemyprofessor is useless. For a lot of us upper-division students, after a certain point you can only take your required courses from one or two professors. If anything, it only prepares us for the doom that we are headed for: “Tests are super hard. If you don’t do the homework, you’re screwed”; “Go to office hours. Otherwise, you won’t understand what’s going on”; “They ramble on and never get to a point. And they pick favorites. I had to teach myself a lot.” Comments like these are the only reason I go on ratemyprofessor.com at this point. Because even though I can’t get out of the class, I can at least mentally and physically prepare myself for the suffering and crying I will go through within a couple months.  It’s also fun breaking the news to my classmates who have to take the class with me and watching them break down into a puddle of depression.

Yet if you’re taking a GE or a class where you do have options to pick and choose, ratemyprofessor is a safe bet to rely on for advice from your “elders.” I’ve never read a post which didn’t prove itself true in some way or another and when you’re taking a class where you can choose who you can take, you bet your butt you’re going to spend the time to look everyone up.

And even though I can’t use ratemyprofessor for its true purpose anymore as I finished all my GEs last year, I still use it every quarter so I can either pump myself up for an awesome quarter or stock up on ice cream in preparation for a crappy one.  Either way it should be an essential tool in college students’ back pocket of what is their web browser.

Alec Snavely is an electrical engineering and English double major. He can be contacted at asnavely@uci.edu