Penn annually ranks among the top 10 universities for undergraduates and is renowned for its Ivy-League-branded academic rigor. But not everything at Penn is equal. For God’s sake, there’s a class at Penn about wasting time on the Internet. The difficulty of a student’s education depends on the major, the class and of course the professor.

Some professors drill students with hours of homework and force them to write term papers. Others don’t take attendance and let students use notes on multiple choice final exams. (They’re really easy.)

So, which of the City Six Philly colleges has the easiest profs? And which university’s students prefer easy professors over challenging ones?

To answer these questions, Billy Penn examined the “easiest” rating for Temple, Penn, Drexel, La Salle, Villanova and St. Joseph’s on the popular website Rate My Professors. Reminder: This is for fun and for bragging rights. Rate My Professors does not constitute a scientifically-sound survey.

Percentage of easy professors by school

Professors on Rate My Professors are given a rating of one to five for easiness. For each school, we calculated how many professors were given between a four and five for easiness and then divided that number by the total number of professors reviewed for that school.

With 28 percent of rated professors earning at least a rating of four for easiness, La Salle has the easiest professors. There’s little difference between Temple, St. Joseph’s and Villanova, with Drexel having slightly fewer easy professors. 

Penn, with about 18 percent of its professors considered easy, likely has the most challenging professors and not just because of it has the lowest share of easy professors. This is because the easiness rating is based on students’ conceptions. They are rating a professor’s level of ease based on their own intelligence and the other professors they’ve experienced at their respective institution. La Salle might have some really easy professors or the smartest students in Philadelphia who don’t find professors to be challenging. 

Penn, by metrics of high school GPA’s and ACT/SAT scores, has the smartest student body of these schools. The fact that these Penn students consider fewer of their professors to be easy than the other five schools means Penn probably has some seriously tough profs.

Likability of professors versus likability of easy professors

Professors appear to be well-liked at all six of these universities. Students at Temple, La Salle, Penn, Drexel, Villanova and St. Joseph’s give an overall rating for an average professor at their institution of at least 3.59.

The most-likable professors, however, are the easy ones. We compared the overall rating of an average professor to the overall rating for a professor with a four or higher in easiness and found that the overall rating for easy professors was higher at five of the six universities. (Temple is not included for likability of easy professors because its dataset was way too large to calculate). 

When it comes to preferring easy professors, the universities are not equal. Those overachieving Penn kids have the smallest difference in overall rating for an average professor versus and easy professor, at .11. Basically, they don’t want an easy professor any more than they would an average professor.

That’s not the case with St. Joseph’s or Drexel. Their favorability of an easier professor — with a rating .58 higher than the average professor — is five times greater than Penn’s.

Mark Dent is a reporter/curator at BillyPenn. He previously worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where he covered the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State football and the Penn State administration. His...