Book Reviews

Book by Johnnie C. Smith
Review by Kim Wright
Academic Advisor
Woodbury School of Business
Utah Valley University

Succeed Indeed is a short, easy-to-read book focused on helping first-year students succeed in college through the guidance and support of college personnel such as instructors, administrators, coaches and advisors.

Many new college students must learn to be responsible for themselves for the first time in their lives and become overwhelmed. Smith understands the challenges new students face and has put together simple strategies based on her academic success and academic boot camp models that are designed to help ensure students’ college success.

Each chapter is geared towards creating a structured environment for new students so that they start college on the right foot. One of the most important steps is a required orientation that covers “…expectations, rules and guidelines of the institution…“ (p. 7). Not only does Smith note that academic advising is a crucial element in students’ academic careers (p. 12) but she also covers the important topics of tutoring, studying and communication.

The strength of the book is in its simplicity and relevancy. I was able to read the book in a very short time and it was easy to go back and reread sections for clarification. Smith showed genuine concern for the success and growth of first-year students. Her ideas are clearly presented and she provided samples of the forms used to help students document their progress. She provided an example of how this program was implemented with at-risk student athletes and how the program helped these athletes maintain their eligibility to play. The samples and forms provided throughout the book will help readers build upon these models.

The book’s strengths are also its weaknesses: its lack of depth is due to its simplicity and I was left wanting more. I had hoped to find information that would apply to working with larger groups of students. Unfortunately I don’t see this book as being practical for use with large student groups. For instance, my university has about 1,000 freshmen just in the school of business; I cannot imagine meeting with each one on a weekly basis to check class assignments and grades. This would make me a helicopter advisor – doing for students what they are capable of doing for themselves. While I think first-year students need more attention and guidance to help ensure their success, holding their hands may hurt them in the long run. Still, I found this an excellent book for advisors of student athletes or other specialized student populations who need a more on-hands approach to advising.


Succeed Indeed featuring Academic Boot Camp. (2011) Book by Johnnie C. Smith. Review by Kim Wright. Indianapolis, IN: Sheldar Group, Inc.  80 pp., $15.00 (paperback), ISBN-13: 978-0-9801927-3-5

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