Book by: Malcolm Kahn and Sue Kahn
Review by: Heather Valentine
Academic Advisor, College of Health Professions
Armstrong State University
College Success and You offers a fresh approach to exploring common issues for first year college students as well as discussing tips to help students with success in the classroom. This book is meant to be used as a textbook in a first year seminar class, but can also be beneficial in other settings as well. It engages the student using several techniques to cover a variety of topics, which could benefit students regardless of their preferred learning style.
Dividing the college experience into five main areas from the basics of college life to deciding on a major and career path, this book has a broad array of helpful information for new and even returning students. While many first year experience textbooks focus primarily on academic related topics, such as selecting the right major, study tips, and test taking strategies, this book also speaks to personal matters. I found the section about financial issues as well as the chapter about emotional challenges to be particularly useful. These are two important areas for first year students that often don’t get addressed.
Each chapter begins with a self-assessment which creates a great opportunity for discussion in the classroom. There are several activities in each chapter that help students gain a better understanding of the learning objectives for each chapter. While many of these activities are done alone, some activities require interaction with others on campus. There are also online activities that get students to access important information available on their school’s website or to seek out information on other websites. Another valuable part of each chapter are the case studies. They give real-life examples that students can relate to. This is especially helpful in settings where students don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal experiences with their classmates.
Towards the end of each chapter, there are tips and ideas for students in online classes to consider. Since more students are taking at least one online class during college, this can be especially valuable. In addition to the textbook, an optional premium website/app can be purchased that offers a discussion board and other resources. An eBook option with the app is set to be available this summer. I think this book is best used in a classroom setting but there are enough relevant exercises in the book that it could be adapted to a completely online first year seminar class.
While the book is geared towards students in a first year seminar class, academic advisors can also benefit from this book. There are several activities that can be used with individual students and their specific needs. Having a few copies on hand as a resource for students would be a great idea. Sophomores, juniors, and even seniors could benefit from many of the sections such as financial literacy, study strategies, and career preparation.
College Success and You Achieving Your Goals (2015). Book by Malcolm Kahn & Sue Kahn. Review by Heather Valentine. Erie, PA: Larson Texts. $79.99. ISBN 978-1-9382-6015-5