Ratemyprofs at Rutgers:

A Demographic View

 

Amy and Ebenezer, two Rutgers sophomores, were discussing the web site ratemyprofessors.com.

"You know what?" Amy said. "Ratemyprofessors isn't about professors. It's about the kind of students who go to a school."

"What do you mean?" asked Ebenezer. "Professors are professors. Students are students."

"Not so," said Amy. "By looking at the comments, you can figure out in five seconds what kind of school it is."

"I don't believe it," said Ebenezer. "Are you saying that you can tell Rutgers students from students at places like Amherst or Columbia by looking at ratemyprofessors?"

"Absolutely," said Amy. "Ratemyprofessors.com isn't about professors. It's about students."

"Prove it," said Ebenezer.

"Okay," said Amy. " You read that article that lists 'negative' comments about Rutgers professors. Just look at ratemyprofessors. You'll find hundreds of comments like those."

"Okay," assented Ebenezer. "Let me take a look."

Rutgers University: 5 "negative" comments

1) What a condoscending [sic] know-it-all cunt. Someone needs to remove the stick that is premenently [sic] wedged in her ass and insert a dick that might change her high and mighty attitude.

2) this guy could punch you in the face, and then piss in your mouth, and he'd still have too much tenure to be fired. just punch yourself in the face and get somebody else to piss in your mouth

3) what a bitch! ruined my GPA that semester. 5 books for an entry level class. she has a "you teach me" mentality. SUCK DICK!!

4) about as interesting as a pissing toad

5) This class is crap! The homeworks [sic] are rediculous [sic] and the guy is a dickhead. Worst grade I got at Rutgers! Do not take this class if you like your GPA

"Well, so what?" asked Ebenezer. "That's how college students talk about their professors. Ratemyprofessors just makes it public."

"Not exactly," said Amy sadly. "Just out of curiosity, I went to the Amherst site. The tone there was a bit different."

"Hold on," said Ebenezer. "Did you look only at negative ratings? Like those Rutgers ratings?"

"I did," said Amy. "Negative ratings only."

"I bet," said Ebenezer triumphantly, "they sounded just like the Rutgers ones. Come on, now. Didn't the Amherst kids talk about 'cunt' and 'dickhead' and 'suck dick?'"

Amy showed him a list of comments she'd taken from the Amherst site.

Amherst College: 5 "negative" comments

1) Unclear explanations, indecipherable teaching style, and aloofness in office hours all combine to make for a very, very difficult semester.

2) Rhetorical wizard. Logical nightmare. Unwilling to present arguments in a straightforward manner and unwilling to grade in a logical "I reject your premise x" manner. His responses to my papers were convoluted and question-begging.

3) Permits discussion to get way out of hand. Extremely analytic bent that does not allow for alternative perspectives, does not entertain philosophy that is not strictly logocentric, etc.

4) I have no respect for this woman. She seems to thrive on proving students' ignorance. Very unclear, unhelpful, nonsensical even.

5) I don't know how to rate easiness because this course made no sense. Worst professor I ever had. Just terrible. He was very condescending and his lectures had no relation to the reading or papers. The course had no overall direction or purpose.

"Well," said Ebenezer, somewhat abashed, "I sort of see what you mean. But don't you think the Rutgers comments are, like, more honest? I mean, how do you know about whether the professor is a cunt or a dickhead if students are using words like 'convoluted' and 'indecipherable' and 'nonsensical?'"

"My point," said Amy impatiently, "is that the Rutgers comments give you the picture of a school that lets in people with third-grade spelling, where the campus is crawling with lowlifes who don't know how to be anything but ignorant and gross, who chew gum and spit on the sidewalk and go around bragging about how they cheat on exams, and whose vocabulary stops at words like 'cunt' and 'sucks' and 'dickhead.' Look at these," she said.

 Rutgers University: 5 more "negative" comments

1) he sucks bigtime. fucking exams are fucking hard

2) one son of a bitch. first exam average was 64 when he gave them back, at end of semester 1st exam average was 72. grading sucks

3) enjoys listening to his own voice and the crap that spews from it

4) This guy sucks. He was such a tool DON'T TAKE HIM.

5) A douche bag, he made me feel stupid.

"My goodness," said Ebenezer. "Still," he said, brightening up a bit. "The Amherst site must have some comments like the Rutgers ones."

"I looked for them," said Amy. "Here are the harshest ones I found":

Amherst College: 5 more "negative" comments

1) He will actually start pleasant conversation during office hours to distract you from the fact that he never answers your question. Do not take his class, but instead talk to him about something fun.

2) Stifled my interest in chemistry. Takes it upon himself to try to weed people out of the pre-med sequence. Says "Don't memorize formulas, they'll be on the test." They are, but only in the simplest and most useless form. Makes general chemistry into math, leaves you without an understanding of the important concepts.

3) His lectures started out as very dry but he picked up speed as the semester progressed. Paper topics were vague and had nothing to do with the content of the class periods. Not particularly willing to assist outside of class.

4) Unclear paper topics, boring lectures, and poor discussion leadership make him my least favorite professor at Amherst. Many assigned readings are good, but they are inadequately introduced and the classes fail to link them coherently.

5) Intelligent professor. Somewhat eccentric, but good at engaging class in conversation. Not very easy to talk to one on one. I don't think I'd take another class with him.

"Well," said Ebenezer, "I sort of see what you mean. But wait a minute!," he exclaimed, glimpsing another possibility. "You're right about the Rutgers site. There's a lot of 'dickhead' and 'sucks.' A lot of the comments are illiterate. But how do I know you're not cherry-picking comments from Amherst?"

"Your computer's on," rejoined Amy. "Go to the Amherst site. Bring me back just ONE student comment like the Rutgers ones. I'll wait right here."

Ebenezer opened his laptop and clicked some keys. He spent 35 minutes scrolling and looking intently at the screen.

"I see what you mean," he said disconsolately. "But wait a minute! There's something you're not thinking about. You know perfectly well that the best students at Rutgers never post on ratemyprofessors. They say they don't want to be known as the kind of student who does."

"That," said Amy sadly, "is my point. The stupidest and most illiterate students at Rutgers post constantly on ratemyprofessors. The bright ones never do. So people looking at Rutgers from the outside see a school where students talk about 'sucks' and 'dickhead' and 'cunt' and 'homeworks' and don't know how to spell words like 'condescending.'"

"But," argued Ebenezer hopefully, "that doesn't do any damage. Those are comments by Rutgers students. Only Rutgers students read them."

"Don't kid yourself," said Amy. "High school seniors all over the country look at ratemyprofessors. So do their parents. Not just to see what the professors are like, but what kind of students go to the school. I bet that the ratings with stuff like 'sucks' and 'dickhead' and 'douche bag' and 'condoscending' cost Rutgers a couple of thousand applications a year from bright students who want to go to a real college. The Web is public. Ratemyprofessors is the Rutgers the outside world sees."

"My goodness," said Ebenezer, honestly abashed. He was quiet for a long moment. "I never thought about all this. You've convinced me. Look, I'll call you tonight. I've got to spend a few hours on ratemyprofessors looking at other schools ."

"What other schools?"

"The ones I'm thinking of transferring to."


For context, watch

College Life at Rutgers

followed by

 A typical "ratemyprofs" Amherst Student

versus

A typical "ratemyprofs" Rutgers Student