Review by Sybil L. Holloway
Center for Counseling and Human Development
Life During College is an easy-to-read book with practical information on a variety of topics. Its target audience is new college students.
The book’s 34 chapters contain much breadth and little depth. Material is nicely organized and the three or four main points of each chapter are highlighted at the beginning for easy reference. By keeping chapters short and language simple the authors are able to effectively reach their intended audience.
On the dedication page is the following: “This book is dedicated to you – the new college student. We hope this book provides you with the tools and resources that will allow you to make informed and educated decisions. Decisions that will provide you with the academic, personal, financial, and professional success you deserve.” (p. 5)
A good overview of college life is provided and all of this information – academics, housing, social issues, health and safety, money issues, career selection – can seem overwhelming to the recent high school graduate. However, if taken in small doses over time as needed, there is much to be learned in this book.
In particular, I like that half of the book is devoted to “Achieving Academic Success” and “Becoming a Successful Student”. Among other topics, these sections cover selecting a major, choosing classes, taking notes, studying effectively, dealing with exams and grades, establishing and accomplishing goals, managing time, developing a positive attitude, and staying healthy. Since students’ main responsibilities in college are academic, this amount of coverage is appropriate.
However, I disagree with some of the generalities made. For example, in an earlier section the authors talk about different kinds of instructors – teaching assistants, adjuncts, and professors of various ranks – and use a classification system that is not applicable to all institutions. My own institution is proof that not all full professors have doctorates, that tenure status does not apply only to full professors, and that a promotion to a higher rank does not automatically accompany the receipt of tenure.
This book’s strength lies in its user-friendliness, and its weakness lies in its superficial coverage. Fortunately, it addresses the most important areas, provides good advice, and lists resources for additional information. College students will relate well to the book’s format. Perhaps, in keeping up with our technological age, books such as this should also be made available on-line since college students spend so much time logged onto their computers. Electronic versions of books would reach a wider audience of today’s college students who primarily rely on the Internet for information.
While students are the main beneficiaries of Life During College, advisors may also find this book useful in their work.
Life During College: Your Guide to Success, 2nd Edition (2005). Review by Sybil L. Holloway. Alexandria, VA: Life After Graduation, 192 pp. $15.95 (paper). ISBN 0-97009446-9