Registration appointments for spring semester are approaching quickly, which means CULPA is now bookmarked in all of our browsers. But how much should you rely on it to pick your professors?
You often hear the argument that the majority of people who feel compelled to review their professors on CULPA were either extremely dissatisfied or excessively enthusiastic about the instructor. Indeed, according to CULPA, Professor Gulati is either “the most pretentious Columbia professor in modern existence” and “completely overrated” or “the best professor I have ever had,” depending on who you listen to.
Of course, it’s not the outliers that you want to listen to, but the average students (who form the majority of the class), and these students are less likely to comment.
Another reason for this lack of a middle ground is that in order to get attention and make our voice heard, we often express views more extreme than we should.
Everything these days is absolutely incredible and super awesome. I find it difficult to express true praise or admiration when some girl can call her bagel "literally the best thing ever."
The fact that few professors are merely "good" or "clear," but more than a few are "THE BEST PROFESSOR AT COLUMBIA," could be due to this effect. The ability to vote a review to be ‘funny’ only strengthens this tendency. What’s funnier than an outrageous review?
Unfortunately, this polarization largely undermines what CULPA is trying to accomplish.
It is worthwhile to see what CULPA has to say about your professors from last semester to get your CULPA bearings. One of my perfectly average professors was portrayed both as the antichrist and as Mother Teresa on the same page.
Of course, CULPA allows you to weed out the truly terrible professors—they will have the majority of commenters call them the “cruelest and least compassionate person I have met in my life.”
But remember that "it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you." Sometimes it takes a cruel and authoritarian professor to really get you to study and put in effort. Just because some anonymous joker calls Gulati "the most vile and horrid being since I have encountered since leaving the womb," does not mean you wouldn’t learn anything in his class.