Book by James Williamson, Debra McCandrew & Charles Muse
Review by Tyrone M.Smith
Sophomore Counselor, EOF Program
Monmouth University, West Long Branch, N.J
Roadways To Success is the written equivalent of a GPS navigation system. The book covers l every facet of the college experience; primarily the first year experience. The text outlines issues that all college students face be it time management, diversity awareness, learning styles, communication, and a whole host of other first year student concerns while simultaneously providing tips and strategies for handling these various issues.
An underlying lesson of the book is dealing with the transition from high school to college. As noted by Hunter et al. (2010) “Without transition, going to college is simply a change in venue. With transition, going to college is letting go of the old self and coming to a new definition of self with the new experiences and insights of college taken into account.” (p68). The text provides excellent examples of common college student pitfalls and ways to avoid them; as each chapter begins with a detailed anecdote of a college student making a mistake that relates to the subject matter of the chapter.
This book has two very important functions. First, it provides an excellent frame work for anyone who may be teaching or constructing a first year seminar or pre-freshman college course. Second, it acts as a de facto training guide for advisors or academic counselors who are new to the field of college advisement. When properly utilized the text can be adapted to guide advisors down the known path of questioning in order to help them better serve their student base. It should be expected that anyone who uses this book considers providing appropriate supplemental material for the students whom they instruct or advise.
The authors of the book clearly have a strong grasp of higher education issues faced by college students as evidenced by the in depth detail provided from chapter to chapter. However it must be noted that the amount of detail provided makes it easier to identify the weakest chapter of the book, chapter 10- Health and Wellness: Mind, Body, Spirit. College Advisors are aware of how much work goes into helping students who might be suffering from depression, addiction, or any other non academic related mental health issue. This particular chapter too easily breezes through these serious college issues while expecting the student to recognize and treat the aforementioned problems.
Roadways To Success has too many positives to simply be ignored. The issues addressed in this text all have an effect on student retention. Advisors should know how important retention rates are to their position and institution, therefore this is definitely a book that should be a resource of any college advisor or academic counselor.
Hunter, M.S., Tobolowsky, B.F., Gardner, J.N., Evenbeck, S.E., Pattengale, J.A., Schaller, M.A., Schreiner, L.A., & Associates. (2010). Helping Sophomores Succeed: Understanding and Improving the Second-Year Experience. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Roadways to Success (5th Edition) (2012). Book by James Williamson, Debra McCandrew & Charles Muse. Review by Tyrone Smith. 336 pp. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, One Lake Street, 201-236-7000. $59.80 (paperback). ISBN: 978-0-13-231745-0