Students typically choose a university or college based on things like location, the majors it offers, ranking, and cost – however many graduates leave school remembering only their very best and very worst professors. College professors have a way of shaping students’ futures by inspiring them into new majors and careers, helping them get a head start in their industry of interest, or opening their minds to new ideas, cultures, and innovations students simply aren’t ready to learn about when they’re in high school. All great professors are great in their own way, but one thing they all have in common is a passion for their field and a desire to spread their knowledge to others. Here are some of the traits that make a college professor extraordinary.
It may sound basic – but college students consistently mention how much they appreciate a professor who comes to class prepared to teach as opposed to the ones who seem surprised to be up in front of a class at all. Preparation is about more than just being to class on time. In an anonymous survey, students mentioned that truly prepared teachers always had a variety of activities planned throughout their semester including guest speakers, presentations, in-class discussion topics, and more.
Students, Not Numbers
Professors who show a genuine interest in their students’ ideas, goals, and education are often rated highly by their class. Office hours, truly listening to what students say in class, and making an effort to build a professional relationship with students are hallmarks of a professor who will help a student get ahead as well as teach them what they need to know.
Prospective college students should spend an afternoon reading the bios of faculty teaching the major that they’re interested in on a college’s website. While education is great – experience in the real world is paramount. Professors who have worked or researched in their industry for many years, if not decades, will be better equipped to prepare students for careers out of college and stimulate their minds while in school.
Below is a ranking of colleges with the best professors. These rankings were determined based on experience and education of faculty at colleges around the country. However, the most important ranking consideration was student opinion. Anonymous surveys were sent to students which asked questions about the effectiveness of their professor’s teaching, opinion on the professor’s knowledge level, how well professors did engaging the classroom, and more.