What to Do When You Don’t Like Your College Professor

Odds are that at some point during your years as a college student, you’re going to have to take a class that is taught by a professor you don’t really like.

This often happens when you get into your major classes and only one professor teaches the subject that you need to complete your degree.

You literally spend your entire college career stalking RateMyProfessors.com and talking to other students to see which professors they would recommend, but then the schedule for next semester comes out and you find out that you HAVE to take this professor’s class.

Talk about a bummer!

What to Do When You Don't Like Your College Professor | Being a good college student means dealing with difficult classes, and sometimes tough professors. Here are my tips for making sure you maintain your sanity while also getting good grades in your college classes.

Although this may not be the most ideal situation, the reality is that you either deal with the professor or you don’t graduate…

The second option doesn’t really work for me so we’re going to focus on the first one.

Here are my tips for what to do when you don’t like your college professor:

Establish Your Presence Right Off the Bat

Depending on what you’ve heard or read, there could be a variety of reasons that you don’t like your college professor:

  • They teach in a monotone voice and never include the class in a discussion
  • They’re a harsh grader
  • They seem very biased and stuck in their ways

The list goes on and on.

No matter what your reasons are for not liking your college professor, you won’t be doing yourself any favors if you don’t at least show up to class, ask questions, and introduce yourself.

I think some college students forget that professors are people, too… They’ve probably had plenty of students sit down in their class that they didn’t like, but that doesn’t mean that they stopped showing up!

Give them the benefit of the doubt and at least make your presence known. Reach out every once in awhile, establish a connection, and show them that you are determined to be a good student.

You may actually be surprised by the end of the semester and find that the professor you once disliked is actually a great educator who simply has a unique way of teaching or getting a point across.

Ask Them to Clarify the Things You Don’t Understand

A lot of college students don’t like the way certain professors teach.

That’s completely understandable since we all have a different way of learning and taking in information.

Unfortunately, class schedules don’t always allow you to sign up for a professor you know you would learn from, so you have to be flexible and adjust.

One of the best ways to do this is to reach out to your professor and ask them to clarify things to you that you may not have understood during the lecture.

I actually did this with one of my professors because she liked to jump all over the place sometimes during her lectures.

When it came down to actually writing big papers, I really didn’t know what she wanted (and I knew she was a hard grader), so I went to her office and asked her what she expected.

This was literally the best thing I could have done for myself because she came across totally different in our one-on-one session than she did in lectures!

I could have kicked myself for not going to her office sooner…

Sometimes we need to make those extra steps in order to get through tough courses with hard professors.

What to Do When You Don't Like Your College Professor | Being a good college student means dealing with difficult classes, and sometimes tough professors. Here are my tips for making sure you maintain your sanity while also getting good grades in your college classes.

Respect Differences and Know that It’s OK to Not Agree with Everything They Say

I remember sitting in one of my freshman classes feeling completely upset because both professors I had seemed like they were purposely saying statements that I disagreed with.

That was a silly assumption to make, but that was the reality I was facing at the moment.

I dreaded going to that class and even made it a point to avoid those professors later on because I felt entirely uncomfortable.

What I wish I knew then was that this was actually a great opportunity for me to expand on my own ideas and to stand up for the things that I thought were right.

I feel like if I would have taken that class today, I would be much more open to the material they were presenting because I would be able to respect that we all have different viewpoints and come from different places.

Too many college students get to a point where they don’t like their professors because of comments they make or things they stand for.

At the end of the day, we’re all human and we all have our opinions… Just because you don’t agree with your professors doesn’t mean you are being shunned or looked down upon. In fact, you may find that your professor’s views actually help you validate your own!

Try to see these differences with an appreciative eye and see how your views about your professor change.

Focus on Doing Your Best Work

It may seem extremely challenging to perform your best when you don’t like your college professor, but trust me when I say this is something that is going to come up over and over again throughout life.

There will always be someone you don’t get along with the best, but you can’t let that stop you from reaching your end goals.

I’ve got some great posts with college tips to help you refocus your energy so you spend less time disliking your professor and more time investing in the work at hand:

Have you ever had a professor you didn’t like? What did you do to remedy the situation?

Previous Story
Next Story
  • Madison Carter
    September 15, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    This post was a great idea! I think it’s so important not to let that stand in your way of succeeding. You aren’t going to like every teacher but since you’re only in the class for four months, you can probably make it through anyways. Personally, I would never alter my schedule because of a teacher but there are a lot of people that do. If I was the type of person that was super bothered by disliking the teacher, I would make decisions based on rate my professor before I even registered for classes.

    • Tori
      September 15, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Madison! I used Rate My Professor a lot when I went to college, so I definitely agree that using that before registering classes can help you avoid taking a class with a teacher you might not like. Unfortunately, there still always seems to be one required class taught by only one professor, and sometimes that’s the professor you’ve been trying to avoid. Like you said… it’s only 4 months!

  • Day
    March 2, 2018 at 12:26 am

    And sometimes there is a such thing as a plain ol’ BAD professor. Probably not going to do any good telling them to their face that they absolutely suck. When course evaluation time comes, however, use it! Chances are you could be sitting through a crappy class because the last person that went through failed to write an honest critique.

    • Tori
      March 5, 2018 at 5:17 pm

      I agree about course evaluations. It’s important to be honest!

  • Laurence
    May 5, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    Hi Tori,
    Thanks for writing this article (I appreciate it’s a few years old though still relevant). I have been having second thoughts about starting a degree course in college due to the experience I had with certain lecturers and after reading your article it has given me another perspective and also another possible approach.
    Thanks for your help. Laurence : )

    • Tori
      May 10, 2019 at 7:14 pm

      I’m so glad to hear, Laurence! I try to remind myself that we aren’t always going to like everyone we deal with in life, but there’s something we can still learn in the situation. Wishing you all the best!