One of the few things that students realize is that picking the right professor can make or break your class experience. Throughout college, my wife and I would diligently research our professors to make sure that we were selecting good ones for the courses we were taking.
Whenever you sign up for classes in school, a given course may have up to 3-5 different professors to choose from. Therefore, it makes sense to research those professors to find out which ones are good, and which ones are really bad!
This can help tremendously in passing classes, so I’m going to tell you how we’ve done it.
Why Research Professors? What’s the Big Deal?
Researching professors can save you a lot of headaches. Some professors have insane course requirements. Some give impossible tests. Others will have the attitude that “no student ever get’s above a “B” in my class!” You need to research to avoid these headaches!
In addition, researching can help you plan your semester in advance. Let’s suppose that you’re forced to take a really hard professor for a particular class. By knowing this in advance, you can prioritize and organize your schedule so that you can give more attention to the hard class so that you can perform better.
Finally, avoiding those hard professors can help boost your GPA. And boosting your GPA can mean more scholarships or better chances of landing a job straight out of college (or nursing school).
How to Research Your Professors
- Ratemyprofessors.com. This website is awesome, and I used it all throughout my college career. On this site, you can find your school and then look up the ratings for each teacher. You can view how hard they are, and also read comments left by students. These comments often tell you exactly what to expect for the course. In some cases, a newer teacher may not have a rating, but many older professors are listed on that site.
- Ask other students. Making friends and networking with other students can help you understand what to expect with certain classes or professors. For example, a friend may tell you that all you really need to do for one class is study the PowerPoint notes. For another class, you may have to really buckle down and use flashcards, study guides, and more. Students can help you learn this information, so join some clubs or try to make some friends.
- Email the professor directly. Don’t nag the professor, but if you have a legitimate question, you can always send them an email. You can request a syllabus, ask them for strategies for passing the class, and more.
- Get the syllabus early. Some universities, such as Liberty University, will actually post the syllabus online for all of the courses, especially only courses. This is incredibly helpful, because then you can see exactly what’s going to be required for the semester. Otherwise, you can always ask the professor for a copy of the syllabus in advance, or one of your peers may be able to tell you what’s on the syllabus.
- Audit a course. It can sometimes cost a lot of money to audit a course, but some universities will allow students to do it for a very low fee (or free). Auditing a course will allow you to sit in and listen to lectures, and possibly even take an exam. However, no grade will be given for the course. You could always do this if you’re concerned about the professor, or if you just want to know what to expect.
Conclusion: It Pays to Research Your Professors
It may seem like a daunting task, but researching your professors is a great way to get a “heads up” on the semester. You can also avoid those horrible teachers that students hate to take (most of the time, anyway). You can boost your GPA, and reduce a lot of unnecessary grief and stress.
I hope these tips help you each semester!