Evaluation in the Wild: Why the Bachelor Needs an Evaluator


Three Simple Steps for a Better Bachelor Success Rate

Three simple steps for a better Bachelor success rate

By Laura Sundstrom

Ok. I admit it. I watch The Bachelor. And I love it. I know, I know...as an educated, feminist woman, I shouldn’t love a show that promotes outdated gender and racial norms. But the drama is just so good!  And a good reminder that even though I may have struggles in my life, they are nowhere near as bad as what these people think are problems.

As I have been watching this past season that ended a couple of weeks ago, I can’t help but think… The Bachelor needs an evaluator. Now you might be saying, “But Laura, love isn’t something that can be evaluated.” And that may be true, but if evaluative thinking and principles were applied to a situation like The Bachelor, it could lead to more successful outcomes.

Here’s why. If you look at the track record for The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, it’s not that great. For the couples on The Bachelor that ended the show together, only 17% are still together (and that’s being generous). And for The Bachelorette, it’s 43%.

There is just so much information coming at the Bachelor or Bachelorette, with 30 people interested in dating them. So here’s how I would help the Bachelor and Bachelorette use evaluative thinking to improve their outcomes.

Step 1. What do you want at the end of this?

Just like we do with any evaluation, I would start by helping the Bachelor or Bachelorette articulate what it is they are actually looking for. Often, you will hear the Bachelor or Bachelorette talk about wanting to “settle down and start a family.” But they rarely talk about what that actually looks like for them and the characteristics they are looking for in a potential partner. They need some probing questions to dig deeper:

  • What does family look like for them?

  • What expectations do they have for themselves and their partner?

  • What does it mean to “settle down?”

So before even starting the season, I would sit down with the Bachelor or Bachelorette and map out what they wanted at the end of this experience and what they need to know from their potential partners along the way to reach that end goal.

Step 2. Ask the right questions

Then, I would coach the Bachelor or Bachelorette on asking the right questions to get the information they need about their potential partners. I can’t tell you how many times this past season I heard the Bachelor, Colton Underwood, say something along the lines of, “I feel like I have a really good gut instinct.” But your gut doesn’t always tell you what you need to know. If Colton is relying on his gut, but not actually gathering the information that he decided he needed to know in step 1, he might end up misguided. Or at the very least confused.

One of the ways I might go about doing this is by creating a rubric of the types of characteristics they are looking for in their potential partner and what those characteristics look like if they are “ideal,” “acceptable,” or a “deal breaker.” For example, if the Bachelor or Bachelorette is looking for someone with a sense of humor, we might then figure out what an “ideal” sense of humor is for them - is it sarcasm? Is it “dad jokes?” Then look at what is an “acceptable” sense of humor - it may not be the most perfect sense of humor for the Bachelor or Bachelorette, but it’s not something that completely repulses them. And then what would be a deal breaker for the Bachelor or Bachelorette in a sense of humor?

Sample “sense of humor rubric” for Bachelor/Bachelorette




Dad jokes

Deal Breaker



Step 3. Test it in the real world and make sense of what you learn

After we have created that rubric of characteristics unique to the Bachelor or Bachelorette, we would sit down and figure out how to actually test it out. It is unlikely that one of the potential partners on the show will meet all of the “ideal” characteristics laid out, but what is the right mix to look for? Is it ok to have one or two deal breakers if the rest of the characteristics are ideal? Does the Bachelor or Bachelorette want to look for a potential partner that is “acceptable” in most characteristics, with a few “ideal” characteristics?

Then the Bachelor or Bachelorette goes to test it out! Here are some further questions we would explore:

  • What about the rubric is working well for them? What isn’t?

  • Are there characteristics that come up in some of the potential partners that the Bachelor or Bachelorette didn’t even previously think they wanted?

This is where we can sit down and make sense of what the Bachelor or Bachelorette is learning about their potential partners and reflect on how that does or doesn’t fit into the rubric we created at the beginning of the season. This rubric can then also help the Bachelor or Bachelorette make decisions about who to keep and who to send home each week. Of course, the rubric would then need to be locked in a high-security, secret location that only the Bachelor/Bachelorette and evaluator could access for the entirety of the season. We don’t want anyone cheating their way into the Bachelor’s heart.

Ultimately, it will help them make their final decision about who they want to spend their life with. Hopefully, because they have gone through this process of clearly articulating what they are looking for and their ideal characteristics, their choice in a life partner is successful.


Laura Sundstrom, MSW | Evaluator

Laura specializes in building evaluation capacity, helping clients understand the “why” behind evaluation tasks, and leaves an impressive trail of evaluation skills wherever she goes.