How To Find the Best Professors

June 13, 2023 Watermark Insights

College students spend a lot of time finding the right professors for their classes. Professors have a significant impact on a student's college success. Understanding how students at your higher educational institution find the best professors for their needs and interests can help you inspire student confidence in their instructors.

Why Finding a Good Professor Is Important

It's important for students to find a good professor because their professors can set the tone for their semester, year, and college careers. Professors have a lasting educational and personal impact on the lives of their students. Many students connect with their professors on deeper levels, confiding in them and trusting their guidance. Aside from their peers, professors are the individuals who students spend most of their time with during the week. Given this, students should strongly consider what they want from a professor.

While not every student will love every professor or perform well in every class, helping students find professors that share similar values or interests can inspire and engage students in positive ways. Finding the right professor helps prepare students for a successful and fulfilling college career.

How Students Choose a Professor

The more courses a student takes with different professors, the more they'll figure out who they prefer, get along with, and learn most from based on first-hand experience. So, how do students choose professors? Students use several tactics to pick good professors.

Check Online Reviews

Students can use several websites, such as, to find anonymous student reviews of professors. These sites allow students to anonymously rate and review professors they've taken classes with. Students can share insight and tips about taking classes with a certain professor. For example, students may share a professor's teaching style or suggest sitting in the front of the class.

Prospective students can check these online ratings to see what other students thought of a professor and determine whether their class seems like a good fit.

Talk to Other Students on Campus

Students may ask people they know on campus for professor recommendations. Older students in a given major are often reliable sources for younger students to get recommendations. Students also share information about professors with their friends and classmates from other courses. Talking to other students on campus is an effective way for students to get suggestions and ask questions about a specific instructor.

Look for Online Videos

Many professors post online recordings of their classes or lectures for current students to review. Curious students can watch a professor's video lectures to see their personality and how they teach. This can be a great way for students to determine if they like a professor's style, how the professor presents themself in class, and whether they may be a good fit.

Review Online Course Materials

Students often check to see if a professor's syllabuses are available online to understand their focus and teaching methods. Many professors also have websites sharing information about their classes for current and prospective students. Some information or documents may only be available to current students, though other students can often find information regarding the topics a professor teaches, course requirements, and general information about a professor.

What Faculty Credentials Matter to Students?

College professors need specific credentials like a master's or doctorate degree to be qualified to teach courses. Since the institution typically requires these credentials, students don't necessarily have to look for them when choosing a professor. Rather, when college students are researching professors, they evaluate several qualities to help make their decision:

  • Teaching style: Students prefer professors who make class fun and interesting. They look for professors who think outside the box, stay updated on current trends, and establish strong connections with their students.
  • Passion: Students want professors who are enthusiastic about teaching and sincerely interested in the subject matter.
  • Respect: Students look for professors with a caring attitude who respect their students. They want professors who show interest in their learning and take the time to understand their needs.
  • Helpfulness: Similarly, students seek professors willing to answer questions, hold office hours, and work directly with them when they ask for help. Students view helpful professors as caring about their success in class.
  • Integrity: Students prefer professors who are honest, upfront, and consistent with their policies and expectations.
  • Expertise: Students favor professors who know the subject well and can explain topics clearly. For example, if a professor has experience working with the subject matter they're teaching, it shows students the professor knows what they're talking about.

How Faculty Success Can Inspire Student Trust in Professors

When students trust their professors, they are more likely to be engaged in learning, achieve at higher levels, and feel positive about their college or university. As an administrator, you can use Watermark's Faculty Success software to inspire that trust. Our Faculty Success software allows faculty to import and update their CVs easily. The information flows into a central database for quick administrative access. The data integrates seamlessly with your publication repositories and campus systems. It automatically updates your website with the latest faculty awards, publications, and other achievements.

You can use the information to create compelling online faculty profiles that students can review, inspiring student confidence in your professors. Our Faculty Success software gives students a reputable place to review professor credentials and other vital information to help them choose professors. 

In addition to inspiring student confidence, you can use our Faculty Success software to streamline workflows. Faculty Success eliminates the need for tedious data entry, allowing your faculty to stay focused on meaningful work. You can also use Faculty Success to digitize annual review paperwork and incorporate course evaluations for maximum efficiency. By simplifying your faculty data processes, you can save your organization time and money.

You can see our software in action and our experienced team can walk you through all the features. Request a live demo today.

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