How Mason students use

Dr. Atwater teaching. Photo credit: Johannah Tubalado

Dr. Atwater teaching. Photo credit: Johannah Tubalado


Kelsey Davidson, staff writer

As the spring semester creeps closer, George Mason University students are registering for classes and researching what professors are best. Rate My Professors is a website that allows students to rate professors all over America, including Mason.

The website opens immediately to a search engine that allows the viewer to look up a school, find a professor or rate a professor. Mason has over 4,000 professors rated on the site.

Any student can rate any professor and put a course code along with the rating.

Students can also can rate the professor on helpfulness, clarity and easiness on a 1-5 scale, each with a description saying things like “You have to beg for help,” “Pretty clear” and “Makes you work for it.”  The student can also ‘select up to 3 tags that best describe’ the professor.

Christopher Atwater, Mason professor of sports management, was recently ranked 9th on RMP Highest Rated University Professors of 2013-2014.

“I think it’s a good site, it would have been useful when I was a student, I think. I mean, I know it’s not the most accurate thing in the world, but it could have been helpful for sure” Atwater said.

Mason students can use the site to figure out their class schedules according to what teachers they would like to have. Rate My Professors ends up being a help to those students who may not know a lot about the school yet, and what the different teacher’s reputations are.

“The site itself is as accurate as students make it,” Atwater said.

The course code that one puts in when rating a teacher can allow viewers of the website to see what that professor is like in a specific class.

“It’s worked for me. I know I did end up changing one of my classes because I was given a bad teacher, at first and the one I have now I absolutely love, so it worked out,” said Monica Anic, a freshman studying marketing.

Some students seem to swear by the rating website. For times they have not used it, the professor did not seem to work out.

“The one class that I didn’t use rate my professor on, is like the worse professor in the world,” said freshman Jimmy Schnurr.

Mason students can also decide what to look at when searching for a professor’s ratings.

“I just look at the comments, not the ratings, I look at what people say specifically,” Anic said.

The website shows the number of people who have rated the professor, thus allowing the student to make their own judgments on how biased the ratings may be.

“If a thousand people rated a professor, they all say he’s really shitty, he’s probably really shitty,” Schnurr said.

The question then comes up if the professors are aware of this website and should they look and see what they could possibly change to better their teaching.

“Whether we like it or not, it’s going to happen [being rated by students], but having an open forum for students is also a good thing. You don’t always agree with what everything people say on the site.” Atwater said.