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A sexy professor, does it matter?

A professor's chili pepper rating on Rate My Professor doesn't affect class registration

Jack Chavdarian, Assistant Social Media Editor

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Spring semester classes are wrapping up, points are being tallied and summer is right around the corner for hardworking students who are ready for a break.

However, before you get into your daisy dukes and bikinis, there is always next semester’s schedule to think about.

Rate My Professor, a role-reversal website where students grade their professors, is a popular website among students during these weeks of class registration.

Before picking classes you will be stuck with for a whole semester, this website allows you to make informed decisions on which professors to take based on experiences past students have had in their classrooms.

You can see everything from how easy and helpful a professor is to how attractive they were rated by their students, indicated by a red chlli pepper symbol beside their name..or not.

The question then becomes: Does a professor’s attractiveness matter when signing up for classes?

Senior communications major Corey Vuelta thinks a professor’s looks matter to a point when choosing your class schedule.

“I pay attention to chili peppers, but that’s not the overall thing that influences my decision,” Vuelta said.

According to Vuelta, the biggest dealmaker for a class is the easiness rating assigned to the professors on the website.

He, however, does admit that a good-looking professor is a plus while being in the classroom.

“I appreciate women on all levels, but when the professor is attractive, it’s a bonus,” Vuelta said.

Unlike Vuelta, some students said a professor’s appearance plays absolutely no role in the process of class selection.

Senior communication major Dwhitney Emanuel said she doesn’t care how a professor looks. She pays attention to other aspects of ratings instead.

“Only smiley faces matter,” Emanuel said. “I want an easy teacher,” she added.

Emanuel doesn’t even see a point in reading the comments section on Rate My Professor.

“I only read comments sometimes, like if it’s a middle face,” Emanuel said.

A middle face, unlike a happy face, implies a mixed rating of a professor on the website. Some positive, some negative reviews.

The website does explain how the chili pepper rating works on its FAQ page.

“The chili pepper is based on the sum of the ‘hot’ and ‘not hot’ ratings: ‘hot’ is a plus one and ‘not hot’ is negative one. A chili pepper only appears if the total is positive. If it’s zero or negative, no chili pepper is displayed.”

The website does restrict a commenter from getting too out of hand when rating a professor’s attractiveness.

Rate My Professor’s guidelines state that comments will be removed if there are “references to a professor’s sex life, including sexual innuendos.”

Cal State Long Beach communications professor Guy F. Bachman has conducted research on student use of Rate My Professor across several CSUs.

His findings show that the chili pepper isn’t exactly what determines whether or not a student selects a particular professor.

“What matters is the ratings and comments, not the chili peppers,” Bachman said.

However, Bachman adds that students do look at chili peppers assigned to a professor on the website only as an indicator as to whether or not they should read the comments and learn more about them.

He also found that a professor doesn’t always get a chili pepper for simply being attractive. One’s overall performance as a great professor can persuade students into assigning them chili peppers no matter how physically attractive they are.

So the semester may be coming to an end, but chances are, a pretty face isn’t the reason you will sign up for your next class. It may make you want to know more about the professor, but it will not exactly help determine your class schedule.

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