Opinion: Ratemyprofessor.com should not be relied on when deciding courses


When Suffolk University students have to choose new courses at the end of every semester, many factors come into play– including the outlook on professors.

Most students choose their required courses and then filter through these classes by personal preferences. Rate My Professor is a website that many rely on for filtering. The platform allows students to leave reviews on their past professors at select schools, including Suffolk, and view the ratings of others. 

This platform should not affect class decisions. As a student at Suffolk, I trust the university’s judgments while hiring professors– whether or not they have good or bad student reviews. I do use the website to prepare myself– but at the end of the day, we have to stick it out and take a risk.

Some students feel that it doesn’t matter if you check the reviews or not. It all comes down to giving everyone a chance to do their job.

“To be honest, I check rate my professor but I check it after I make my schedule just to know what I have coming,” said Shea Duffy, a first-year student at Suffolk. 

As an honors student in a business school, Suffolk student Kuntheroath Chiv has extra requirements and limited options for courses. In these circumstances, websites like ratemyprofessors.com could be a helpful tool. However, it should not be the main deciding factor.

“For professor evaluations, I usually go on Ratemyprofessors.com at the beginning of registrations to check their reviews and at the end of the semester to write reviews for the professors,” said Chiv. “My priorities in terms of course selections would be program requirements, time slot, professor reviews.”

If you take a class with a professor who has great ratings, you may have an easier time getting better grades. However, this should not be a college students’ mindset. 

Students have to remember to not give the college businesses any more power than it already has. Ever since the American college system has been privatized, the whole marketing plan is for everyone to think about colleges all the time. The fact that you carefully select your professor to quote-on-quote “study smart,” might not get you the bang for your buck. Look back at how much time you invested to impress colleges during the admission process, was everything you did worth it for you to be a Suffolk student?

According to Ratemyprofessor.com, more than four million college students each month use the website. It is the largest website for professor reviews. It has received two People’s Choice Webby Awards.

The statistics and the traffic of this website fascinatingly reflect the true reality of American, Australian and British society. In these societies, respect for educators is equivalent to respect for the Kardashians. Some adore them for all the goods that they bring to the community while the majority is just downright unappreciative. 

Unlike western society, eastern cultures have a huge amount of respect for educators. In many Asian countries, formal greetings are required when the teachers are within eye length. There is a level of fear embedded in the students.

Suffolk has a ranking of 688 out of 1596 in the best professors in America category and a ranking of 25 out of 59 in the best professors in Massachusetts, according to Niche. The university has a decent ranking as it surpasses half of the other schools at the state and national levels. Students should trust that Suffolk’s faculty have standards and expectations to fulfill.

In the twenty-first century, having a profession in education is as risky as having a profession in politics and entertainment. With the ongoing trend and momentum of cancel culture, professors have to be careful of their actions and expressions. If you call educators “heroes,” they now have to live by the notion that great power comes with great responsibility. 

Students should hold educators to this standard and trust the university to do so as well.