For many students, the academic portion of college consists of a four (or more) year quest to find the easiest professors on campus. College may be a time to learn new things, but graduate schools don’t tend to care how much you’ve broadened your horizons – to them, GPA and test scores are all that matter.
There have been a number of popular sites that ask students to rate their professors to help highlight the best (or easiest) ones, but most of the reviews on these sites tend to be highly polarized – students tend to either love a professor or hate them. The same is true for user-submitted grades, as students are more likly to share that they’ve flunked or aced a class than if they’ve done so-so. CampusBuddy, a new Facebook application that launched last week, is looking to take some of the bias out of these ratings. The company has gathered grading records from 250 schools nationwide, allowing students to accurately get a feeling for just how generous a professor is at the end of the term.
Every record in the CampusBuddy database comes from public schools located around the country, as these are legally obligated to release their grades upon request. Pick-A-Prof, a similar rating site, helped pave the way for this kind of database, going as far as suing UC Davis for access to their records. CampusBuddy CEO Mike Moradian acknowleges that the two sites are similar, but says that Pick-A-Prof charges a $10 annual fee while CampusBuddy is free (the site plans to use advertising to generate revenue). He also says that while anyone could conceivably create their own database using this public information, it is very time consuming – some schools have taken up to 8 months to comply with a request.
The CampusBuddy Facebook application also includes some community features, which Moradian says serve as a replacement for the Facebook Network pages that have been eliminated. Users can see other students that are in their classes, leave comments about their school with prospective and current students, and upload and download files from old classes. The app also supports schools that it doesn’t have grades for, as well as high schools. In the next few months CampusBuddy will launch a website to complement its Facebook app, though Moradian says this will depend on when Facebook Connect is finally launched.
The site will see stiff competition from established rating sites including PickAProf and RateMyProfessors. The site will also have to face off with Koofers and Check My Campus on Facebook, both of which were just chosen as winners of cash grants from fbFund.