Cautions For Using Professor Review Sites

When I go to create my class schedule for the coming semester, I tend to look for a few things. The required classes for my major and minor, the time of the class, and the professor that is teaching the class are the top three factor I take into account when choosing my classes. The one thing I have found the most problem determining is which professor I should take the class with. Enter professor rating sites.

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Sites such as ratemyprofessors.com are a staple to students choosing classes in today’s college environment. However, are these sites really accurate?

Extreme Posts: These posts on this site are very much in the fashion of sites like yelp and other review sites. Many of the posts I have found on my professors have been subjective and seem to be mainly written from the extreme ends of student opinions. This lends itself to extreme reviews either highly praising or critiquing the teacher.

Outdated Reviews: While using these sites, the date that the review was created is also important to take into account when deciding the validity of the review. The professor’s curriculum can change very frequently in the college world as well as professors changing their teaching styles to try and reach their students in a more effective way. This means that a review created in 2008 will likely not be as reliable as one created in 2018.

Relying solely based on reviews of professor rating sites is not recommended, as this information can be a hit or miss in accuracy. Here are some suggested actions in addition to using review sites:

Email the Professor: It’s possible to email the professor and as them questions personally or even get a copy of the syllabus if they have taught the class before. Although these sources are convenient, it does not always provide the best information on the professor.

Ask Others: Check around with students you know to see if they have taken the professor you are checking. Because it is a student you know, you can better understand and trust their advice.

Recommended Podcasts for College Students

There are many forms of media in this day and age, and one that has been getting more and more popular is podcasts. There are many different kinds of podcasts that you can choose to listen to. Here is a compiled list of the most popular podcasts in various genres.

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Photo by Bruce Mars on Pexels.com

*All descriptions are courtesy from the websites linked. 

  • Sports
    • 30 for 30
      • Original audio documentaries from the makers of the acclaimed 30 for 30 film series, featuring stories from the world of sports and beyond. 30 for 30 offers captivating storytelling for sports fans and general interest listeners alike, going beyond the field to explore how sports, competition, athleticism and adventure affect our lives and our world. Sports stories like you’ve never heard before. – itunes.com
    • Fall of a Titan
      • July 4, 2009. Former NFL quarterback Steve McNair is found murdered in his Nashville condo.  After just four days of investigating it was ruled a murder-suicide. But what if it wasn’t? Over the course of this nine-part series, we’ll guide you through the McNair case, reviewing the findings and re-examining crucial details in a new light. – itunes.com
    • First Take
      • ESPN’s popular television sports talk show First Take in on-demand podcast format. Host Skip Bayless and a variety of opinionated guests such as Stephen A. Smith break down the top ten sports stories of the day, often in heated debate. – sticher.com
    • Pardon My Take
      • On “Pardon My Take,” Big Cat & PFT Commenter deliver the loudest and most correct sports takes in the history of the spoken word. Daily topics, guests, and an inability to tell what the hosts might be doing will make this your new favorite sports talk show. This is a podcast that will without a doubt change your life for the better- guaranteed, or your money back. *Pretend a reggaeton air horn is going off right now* sticher.com
  • Comedy
    • The Joe Rogan Experience
      • From comedian, UFC commentator and TV host, Joe Rogan. “The Joe Rogan Experience” is a long form, in-depth conversation with the best guests from the comedy world, the sports world, the science world and everything between. One of the most popular comedy podcasts, this show has something for everyone. Available on demand in Stitcher’s Comedy station. – stitcher.com
    • This Might Get Weird
      • Grace and Mamrie talk nonsense, common sense and make jokes at their own expense all the while trying to provide you with 30+ minutes of your day you might not hate completely. – itunes.com
    • Welcome to the Night Vale
      • Twice-monthly community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, where every conspiracy theory is true. Turn on your radio and hide. Never listened before? It’s an ongoing radio show. Start with the current episode, and you’ll catch on in no time. Or, go right to Episode 1 if you wanna binge-listen. – itunes.com
  • Political
    • Slate Political Gabfest
      • Voted “Favorite Political Podcast” by Apple Podcasts listeners. Stephen Colbert says “Everybody should listen to the Slate Political Gabfest.” The Gabfest, featuring Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz, is the kind of informal and irreverent discussion Washington journalists have after hours over drinks.- itunes.com
    • Pod Save America
      • Four former aides to President Obama — Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor — are joined by journalists, politicians, comedians, and activists for a freewheeling conversation about politics, the press and the challenges posed by the Trump presidency.- stitcher.com
    • Bag Man
      • Is it possible for an American Vice President to carry out a criminal enterprise inside the White House and have nobody remember? To have one of the most brazen political bribery scandals in American history play out before the country while nobody’s paying attention? In her first original podcast, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow goes back 45 years to dig into a story that got overshadowed in its day.- itunes.com
  • Entertainment
    • WTF
      • WTF with Marc Maron is a twice-weekly podcast hosted by comedian Marc Maron. This top-rated and critically acclaimed show features interviews with comedians, as well as others in the entertainment and radio communities. Asking complex philosophical questions, he uncovers surprising and often touching reactions from his guests.- sticher.com
    • Stuff You Should Know
      • Join Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant as they get to the bottom of odd questions, like how Twinkies work and if zombies exist. Listen to Stuff You Should Know on demand to enjoy this fascinating biweekly podcast from the HowStuffWorks team. A unique dose of education and entertainment. stitcher.com
    • Doug Loves Movies
      • Comedian Doug Benson (Super High Me, Last Comic Standing) invites his friends to sit down and discuss his first love: movies! – itunes.com
    • The Watch
      • Every week, The Ringer’s Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan — longtime friends and pop culture addicts — break down the latest in TV, movies, and music.- itunes.com
    • Psychobabble with Tyler Oakley
      • It’s not just crazy talk, it’s Psychobabble – the official free audio podcast from YouTube sensation Tyler Oakley. Listen each week as he and his bestie Korey Kuhl bring you a half hour of unfiltered gossip sessions, pop culture scrutiny, and stories never told before. -art19.com

Continue reading “Recommended Podcasts for College Students”

How to Stay Healthy & Fit in College

Juggling studying, going to classes, and maintaining social relationships can take up majority of your time in college and it’s very easy to create unhealthy habits. However, we’ve come up a few tips to help you feel your best and stay healthy & fit in college!

Create a Routine

When you only have classes a few times a week during odd hours of the day, it can be hard to keep a routine going but having a set schedule of what you need to do during the day will make it so much easier to keep healthy habits. Be sure to set aside some time daily for some cardio or yoga or whatever fitness activity you’d like.

Meal Prep

Picking up fast food on campus can be a quick and easy solution when you are hungry and busy with studying but it can quickly become an unhealthy habit. An easy way to make sure you don’t give in to the temptation is to prepare your meals ahead of time. You can make your meals at the start of the week or even every 2 days, whichever fits your schedule best, this will make life so much easier when you are busy and have no time to cook yourself a healthy meal. You can find tons of meal prep recipes online.

Take Advantage of Your School’s Rec Center

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Most schools have a gym that is available to all students. If you can, try and take advantage of this amenity and everything it has to offer. The on-campus gym makes working out super convenient and easy, all while not having to leave campus! Some even offer exercises classes, such a cycling or yoga, which can make working out easier if you’re just starting out.

Get Enough Sleep

Try to get a full 8 hours of sleep at night, sleep plays a crucial role in your overall health! We know keeping up with studying and classes can get overwhelming and you might try to pull a few all-nighters but lack of sleep can make you feel so much worse and won’t help with retaining information, it can also hinder weight loss and even cause weight gain. Along with the routine tip, make sure you are working in an adamant amount of sleep into your schedule every night.

Drink Plenty of Water

Lastly, we know you’ve heard it before…but drink more water! It might be one of the healthiest things you can do for your body since it needs water to properly function. Try and keep a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go and fill up multiple times a day.

Checklist for making the most of your college experience

Whether graduation seems forever away or approaching too soon, you want to make the most of your time in college! Here are some tips we put together for you on how to make the most of your college experience:

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  • Take advantage of tutoring opportunities
    If you’re struggling with math homework or an essay for an English class, most of the time there are free tutoring services that are provided by the school that can help you. There’s no use in passing up the service that your tuition already pays for. Looking at the other side of the coin, if you’re really good at a subject you can either volunteer or maybe even get paid to be a tutor. Either way, this will look good on your resume and it helps to reiterate the information back to you and you become more of an expert on the subject.
  • Find your study space
    Doing homework in your dorm or apartment is not the ideal place to stay focused. Your body and mind associate it with somewhere that you relax and hang out with friends. Search around the campus and you’re sure to find plenty of places to study and do homework. Sometimes departments will offer a space for students in their program to study and if you get lucky enough, they can give you free stuff that they don’t want like books or notebooks. If studying on campus isn’t something that you like, there are plenty of coffee shops that have wifi. Sometimes going out of your comfort zone can open doors to new places to study.
  • Save your course materials
    Saving all course materials can sound a bit intimidating considering the amount of work a student can accumulate over the years. The way to do this efficiently is to keep the most important documents. You can use this information for the harder classes that are relevant to the course you take at the beginning of your college career. Not only that, you can keep these items in case you need to create a portfolio when you’re a senior. Don’t have enough space on your computer? You can always store the files on a hard-drive. There are also applications that you can store information on the web.
  • Read over your credit requirements
    It’s very important to constantly be looking at the requirements for the major that you plan to pursue. Degree plans change all the time and it is important that you don’t take classes more than once or that you take unnecessary classes. This will save you time and money. Who knows, you could even graduate faster than anticipated.
  • Attend extracurricular lectures and seminars
    All colleges and universities invite guest speakers for students to learn more. This would be a key factor for students that want to learn more about a specific subject. Not only that, if professors see that you are taking initiative to learn more about a subject they can be more willing to help you out.
  • Talk to other students, professors, and alumni
    Talking to other people can seem scary (especially for us introverts) but it is a great way to network. If you talk to fellow classmates, you can help each other out in the class by comparing notes and studying together. This can help you in many different ways. Talking to professors more can also help your grade. If they see that you are trying they could give tips on how to better your work to get a higher score. Getting to know professors is also a very helpful technique to do because these are the people that can give you recommendation letters for graduate schools and future jobs. The alumni can also be very useful because they have already passed through the path that you are going through. They can help guide you and give insight on life once graduation is over.
  • Keep an open mind about new things
    Not letting yourself get tied down to just one thing will help you in the long run. Opening your mind can lead to taking classes that can open a new passion and maybe even become a hobby that can help relieve stress. It can also lead to meeting new people that can help network.
  • Get a college job in your desired career field
    Looking for a job is stressful enough as it is, but if you can find something that is related to your desired career, this can open doors for when you do graduate. Employers will be able to see that you have experience in the field and will want to choose you over people that don’t have the same experience.
  • Don’t just take an easy class, take interesting ones
    Students can get carried away by selecting easy classes because they want to boost their GPA but sometimes it isn’t the best choice. Instead of taking a boring class just because the assumption that it will be easier, taking an interesting class about something that is a bit out of your comfort zone can open your mind to something new and exciting that you can enjoy more than you think You can also find new friends in these classes and again open yourself up to more networking.
  • Have a “Plan B”
    Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. You should always have second and third options just in case your first choices are taken. No one knows what is in the path of life, so having a backup plan will help with anxiety that comes with not being able to choose a class of your liking or being a first choice.
  • Join extracurricular activities
    Although we all stress out about what classes to take and how good our grades need to be, we also need to make time for other things so you don’t stress yourself out. Joining a club or intramural sport can help in a lot of different ways. It can manage your stress, give you more confidence and make new friends. It can also teach you new things about yourself that you would have never known if you hadn’t joined a club.
  • Stay on budget
    Creating a budget can be very useful when living alone in a dorm or even with parents. Making sure that you have enough money to buy the basic necessities can be very helpful. This can help ease the stress when thinking about the financial part of school and allows you to focus on other things.
  • Know college benefits
    The tuition that you pay isn’t just the classes that you register for. There are many other benefits that the college or university have to offer their students. Ask your advisor to see what kind of benefits you’re missing out on. There can be very useful services out there that you never thought you would need.
  • Learn to combat stress
    Combating stress can be hard at times, but there are a few things that you can do to help you out. Taking time to self-care if very important, this means things like sleeping a sufficient amount of time, eating healthy foods. These can all help your body and mind run more smooth. Doing assignments one step at a time can also help with combating stress. Even talking with an advisor can help relieve some of the pressure that we put on ourselves. Take a moment to take a deep breath.
  • Use office hours
    As stated previously, it is important to get to know your professors. Using office hours shows the professors that you are interested in learning about the subject and that you are dedicated to getting a good grade. This can open doors so that they can write recommendation letters in the future when applying for jobs or graduate school.
  • Have fun!
    One of the most important things is to have fun in school. Having fun can be easily forgotten when you’re worried about grades but school can also be fun if you let it be.

 

 

How to Choose Your College Classes

It’s that time of the year…. time to decide what classes to take this upcoming semester! It’s important to know how to pick your classes so you can graduate on time, and get the most out of your college experience and your money!  Here are a few tips to guide you in the process of choosing your classes.

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1. Start the process early.

Avoid the stress, and don’t wait until the last minute, or else… well, let’s just say, you may end up with one crazy schedule!

2. Check your graduation requirements.

Review your school’s course catalog. If you have already declared your major, choose some courses that fulfill general requirements in that area. If you have yet to declare a major, get your core requirements out of the way or pick some classes in subjects that spark your interest. Some classes require pre-requisites, therefore make sure you have met those requirements before enrolling.

3. Read RateMyProfessor reviews.

Head over to ratemyprofessor.com and read through the reviews.  You can’t always trust the reviews on this website, but they give you an insight of what the class/professor is like. If you have friends who have taken those professors before, ask them about the course workload and the experience they had in the class.

4. Balance the types of classes.

If you can avoid it, don’t take multiple classes that similar or with the same professor. Needless to say, it can get a little overwhelming studying for similar subjects throughout the semester. Variety will keep you sane!

5. Count your credits.

Be aware of how many credits your classes are and add them up, to ensure that you meet the full-time student requirements. You don’t want to be short a credit or two!

6. Create different schedule options.

Now that you have your list of classes you are interested in, it’s time to work them into a potential schedule. Here comes the really the tricky part, you will need to decide whether you want to take your classes in the morning, afternoon, or certain days of the week, especially if you currently have a job or are involved in any school activities. Create at least two different versions of schedules to consider. [Feel free to print out our handy Class Schedule Planner Grid to assist you build multiple schedules.]

7. Visit your advisor. 

I must admit, some advisors can be cluessless and useless, or definitely help you get your life together! If your advisor falls into the “helpful” category,  he/she will likely have advice about what they think works or doesn’t work and may even suggest classes you hadn’t even considered. If you feel like your advisor isn’t much help, try talking to a different advisor in your department.

8. Schedule as soon as possible.

Once you have your final draft, go sign up for your classes. You definitely don’t want to miss out enrolling in a class you MUST take this semester. Remember, classes have a limited seat capacity, therefore they can fill up very quick.

Best of luck this semester! 🙂