A Guide to Choosing the Right Professors

Leslie Turnbull
Edited by Amy Karim
Published on
February 21, 2024


College is a stressful time for many people. Getting used to a new environment surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of new people can be hard, and the last thing anyone wants to worry about is the type of professor that will be teaching them.

Professors, like students, come from a wide array of backgrounds, each filled with unique experiences that shape how they decide to teach. Some students may be searching for a professor with a calm and loose teaching style, while others may be looking for a professor with authority to challenge them and push them to excel. Students may also be in search of someone with passion for their course topic, or maybe someone who holds integrity and honesty above all else.

Having one or more professors that don’t connect or match with your learning style can negatively impact your grades, which is the last thing that any student wants!

Truth be told, choosing a professor can be overwhelming, especially when you want to do well in a class. Honestly, professors can either ‘make or break’ your college experience. Luckily, there are numerous ways of helping you choose the right professor for you!

RATE MY PROFESSORS - the best website ever!

Once you have your classes picked out, it’s time to choose a professor! One of the most popular ways to judge a professor is to visit the website Rate My Professors at  https://www.ratemyprofessors.com/. On Rate My Professors, students are able to input their college and professor of interest to see what other students think about the course. Once you search for a professor, the website has numerous styles of rating. For instance, “Overall Quality,” which places professors on a scale from zero (worst) to five (best), is the first rating that shows up on a professor’s profile. The profile also has sections such as the “Would Take Again” and “Level of Difficulty” ratings. 

One of the reasons Rate My Professors is an amazing tool when looking for the right professor is because it allows students to comment on their own experiences. When a student leaves a comment under a specific professor, the following information is attached to their comment:

“Was this Class Taken For Credit?”

“Is Attendance Mandatory?”

“Would You Take this Professor Again?”

“What Was Your Final Grade?”

“Is a Textbook Required?

Alongside the quality and difficulty ratings, each individual user can add specific tags to their comment, such as “caring,” “difficult,” or even “hilarious.” Other students also have the decision to like or dislike the comments posted. 


Another amazing way to find the right professor for you is to check their syllabus. Some colleges make it mandatory for professors to publicly post their syllabus for students. This way, students can gain a better understanding of a course before committing to it. Usually, within a course syllabus, a professor will have their contact information, office hours, and a description of their class in the introduction section, so if you ever want to ask how rigorous their course is, you can ask them directly!

A grading policy should be located somewhere within the syllabus. Grading policies are essential to consider when choosing a professor because they may weigh certain categories differently. For example, one professor may weigh homework assignments as 10% of a final grade while another one may weigh them as 25%. Looking at the weights of different categories, such as tests, homework, papers, or labs, can help you choose a course that places a greater emphasis on your strengths and, therefore, succeed in the class.


A simple, but extremely helpful way of finding the right professor is to ask other students on campus! More than likely, they know (or know someone) who has been through a specific professor’s class. With this method, you are able to ask any questions that cannot be answered online or through a syllabus. This is also an amazing opportunity to make new friends throughout your college journey!

The process of finding the right professor is a journey in itself, but it can become much easier if you know which steps to take. 

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