Book Reviews

Book by Peter Feaver, Sue Wasiolek, & Anne Crossman
Review by Jill Flees
Advising First Academic Advisor
Florida State University


Although this book is geared toward incoming freshman, it can serve as a valuable resource for academic advisors. From a holistic or developmental advising approach, the lessons and tips provided throughout the chapters will challenge advisors to look beyond class schedules and major selection assistance. While there is obviously more than one path to college success, unlike most books of this nature that tend to tell students what not to do and fill chapters with horror stories, this book explores common successes and failures and what students can do to survive the transition to adulthood while in the college bubble.

It is very common for a student to approach an advisor with questions pertaining to roommate conflict, family issues, or joining organizations. This book can assist advisors in understanding how to start those conversations and what resources might assist the student in overcoming these obstacle. If an advisor wanted to reference this book as a resource during an advising session, the subheadings within each chapter make it easy to quickly navigate through various scenarios.

From an academic standpoint, one of the strongest aspects of the book was encouraging students to treat a transcript and/or resume as a personal narrative of their educational journey. The authors challenged students to create a narrative that showed interest, depth, and engagement and gave multiple examples how a future employer could perceive certain academic situations. It also gave students suggestions to strengthen their personal journey should an unsuspecting semester of poor grades come to fruition.

The only limitation I found in this book was the four year timeline in the last chapter. While a majority of the book highlighted extra-curricular activities and building relationships, the timeline was solely academic based. It appeared to be constructed for a student that started college from day one with a solid academic plan and intentions to continue education at the graduate or professional level. I think freshman students, especially those feeling discomfort in navigating the major selection process, may feel overwhelmed by the academic benchmarks set by the authors.

While I do not foresee myself referencing the book during an advising session, it has challenged me to review my advising approach and identify how I can provide alternative suggestions to overcoming student obstacles from various perspectives. Even for a veteran advisor, campus culture is constantly changing and it is important to stay abreast of trends and themes among incoming students. 


Getting the best out of college: A Professor, a dean, & a student tell you how to maximize your experience (2008). Book by Peter Feaver, Sue Wasiolek, & Anne Crossman. Review by Jill Flees. New York: Random House, Inc. 264pp. $14.95, ISBN # 978-1-58008-856-5
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