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Rate My Professor: Don’t take it too seriously


Andrew Mazariegos-Ovalle/The Olaf


I first became aware of Rate My Professor (RMP) the summer before my freshman year. After some deep digging and getting lost in a rabbit hole of ruthless ratings, I found myself 10 times more nervous about the college experience. I was, however, quite underwhelmed when I walked into my first class of the semester and my professor was not, contrary to some anonymous review, “a bonehead transcended from the land of Lucifer.” I even considered dropping a course before classes started because I wasn’t sure if I could endure a semester with a professor who was allegedly “the hardest grader to ever exist!” 


Although I will admit scrolling on RMP has become one of my favorite pastimes, I’ve learned to take these reviews with a grain of salt. While I have always been skeptical of the proverb “ignorance is bliss,” in this situation, it may hold some truth. Naturally, students will assume a pretty pessimistic outlook on a course or professor if their brains have been flooded with negative reviews and warnings posted in all caps: “Do not take this course!”


Some of my favorite professors have been ones with absurdly low ratings. Usually, their reviews are something along the lines of: “One out of five stars: the professor expects you to actually do the readings and complete the assignments! The audacity! Didn’t accept my late extra credit and only allowed conversations to a whisper during our open-book exams. Would not recommend!” 


Let’s not forget that the criteria by which each student forms their rating are based on what they personally decide makes a professor “good.” Some students think good professors are the ones who push them outside of their comfort zone and offer meaningful feedback. For others, a good professor brings doughnuts to class on test day and only deducts five percent from their essay that was submitted two weeks late. There is no right or wrong answer here, but clearly, our bias plays a role in our ratings. 


At the end of the day, the ratings on RMP are entirely subjective and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. The only opinion about your professor that truly matters is your own, and you can’t accurately form this opinion until you sit through a few deciding lectures. 


Addie Johnson is from Stevens Point, Wisc.

Her major is currently undeclared.