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Penn Course Review Update Introduces New Metric: Classmate Quality

Credit: Seyoung Kim

Last week, Penn Labs updated Penn Course Review to support a new feature, Course Cart. The feature allows you to track multiple classes at time and find the average rating of your entire courseload, so you can see if your next semester is going to be utter hell or only mostly hell. In addition, the good people at Penn Labs have developed a less well-advertised but even more important feature: a new course metric, Classmate Quality.

Finally, you can evaluate which classes have the worst classmates both quantitatively and qualitatively. Like Course Quality, Instructor Quality, and Difficulty, Classmate Quality will be rated on a normal four point scale with additional comments. The Penn Labs team hopes this will allow students to avoid classes with the most annoying classmates.

"The idea started last year, when I took a political science seminar and ended up hating every person in the class," Penn Labs team member Greg Bondi (E'18) said. "I talked to a lot of people and they had similar experiences in other classes. Although they might have loved their professor or the subject material, a lot of them called their classmates whiny, pretentious, or even misanthropic."

Sensing a need for a rating of classmate annoyingness, Bondi took the lead in soliciting unofficial ratings from each course last semester. "The level of response was really surprising," he admitted. "I mean, some people basically used our survey as a diary." He showed us one particular scathing review of sociology course.

My classmates are insane. You'd think that an introductory sociology class would have chill students with something mildly intelligent to say. Ha! Think again! One-quarter of the people in this class are premed and swarm the front of the room like stressed, vicious wasps every time a test is handed back. Another quarter have never gone to a school that's less than 90 percent white people in their entire lives and it shows. Another third is always high. Then there's the rest, like me, who are just trying to fulfill a sector requirement with a fun, interesting class and got screwed over. If I have to listen to another frat guy in a Canada Goose jacket give his opinion on the role of family in the lives of people in the lowest income brackets, I'm going to scream and never stop screaming.

Look out for the Classmate Quality rating when you're registering for courses this week!