Landin, J. M. (2016) Dr. Landin’s 89 essential tips for new college students (2nd ed.). Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 104 pp. ISBN: 9781523664214
Reviewed by: Amanda Tuscan
Academic Success Coordinator
School of Business
Fairmont State University
Close your eyes. If you can, recall your very first day of college. Were you nervous? Scared? Excited? Probably all of those things and more. Dr. Landin’s 89 Essential Tips for New College Students provides excellent, easy to enact tips for new students starting their educational journeys.
In Dr. Landin’s 89 Essential Tips for New College Students, Landin breaks the tips into easy to follow categories covering the overall college experience, learning strategies, communicating with faculty/staff, social life, money management, and safety. Most tips are no longer than half a page; the tips on studying and tackling projects are only two pages in length. The tips are written in a friendly tone so students, as if the student is getting advice from a trusted mentor or family member rather than an academic. An Editing Examples page, Spending Chart, and Eco-Friendly Living are all examples of the appendices that are further helpful to students at any level of their collegiate career. Today’s students often have societal pressures to be perfect, but this book starts off with Tip 3: You WILL Mess Up. “Yes, at some point in the next four years, you will put ‘having fun’ before ‘academics.’ You will utterly screwing up cooking or paying bills on time. You will fail a class. You will lose a scholarship. You might get yourself in a dangerous situation…Do not give up. Keep trying and keep moving forward” (p. 4-5).
One critique of the book is the author’s suggestions not to use digital textbooks or use laptops in classrooms to take notes. While arguments can be made both for and against the use of technology in the classroom, many of our universities libraries are switching to an ever digital catalog and schools should have support services in place to assist in the digital transition. A useful approach, other than suggesting not use these items, would be strategies to help students use technology in the classroom wisely.
Given the state of discourse on some college campuses, the book’s tips discussing “Challenge Your Beliefs” (p. 11) and “See in greys (not black & white)” (p. 13) are especially appropriate. These would serve as a good topic starter for bringing these up in the classroom. The book does not openly nor directly discuss diversity challenges students may come across. While the previous tips lightly address how to have an open mind, what is provided might not be enough of an opening on campuses where diversity may be lacking.
Dr. Landin’s 89 Essential Tips for New College Students would be a perfect graduation present for any incoming freshman. The book would also be useful supplemental book in a First Year Experience course/program. Ease of reading and low price point ($6.99 on Amazon) make it accessible to most students. Parents of students would even be a good audience for this book as well for it creates an opportunity to talk to their student about taking over some of the expenses as the student moves on in their college careers (p. 70). As the book ends, what’s your 90th tip?