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College Success Books

For quick reference, here are links to related books we have reviewed:

We know you have worked too hard getting to this point to allow a bad first semester or – worse – year to derail your dreams. Fortunately, there are people who have been down this road before you, and who have written up their advice and insights on how to succeed during your first year at college. The following DVDs and books have received favorable recommendations from our previous clients.

Major in Success: Make College Easier, Fire Up Your Dreams, and Get a Very Cool Job by Patrick Combs

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People seem to either love or hate this book. We're among those who admire it. It treats college as a means to an end – the end being to get a good start on achieving your life and career goals. This book can be like having a good, smart friend on paper who can remind you of 'what it's all about' when things are tough, and help you keep motivated and working hard. Granted, it is a self-help book, and is written in a style that will annoy anyone who just doesn't like that genre. ("Fluff" is a word that comes up a lot in critical reviews of the book.) That said, we think that Major in Success presents a useful outlook on the college experience and gives useful advice on how to weather the storms that inevitably come up during those years.

How to Become a Straight-A Student by Cal Newport

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We're not going to tell you there is an "easy" way to earn straight As, but this book does a great job of explaining why straight A college students focus more on studying smart than studying hard. We recommend it because it also shares useful strategies that don't require you to cram study 20 hours each and every day of the semester.

How to Study in College by Walter Pauk

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First of all, this 11th edition book is quite expensive and, like its predecessors, is not written in the same light, humorous tone of so many others we've reviewed in this genre. Nonetheless, it is packed with great advice that can help the very ambitious student acquire the study skills necessary to graduate at or near the top of their college class.

While we believe it's worth the money (when you consider the results so many of its followers achieve), we encourage you to look for a much lower priced used previous edition that has essentially the exact same information. Finally, we don't advise "renting" the book on Kindle as you will likely want to take notes and refer back to those notes throughout your academic career.

Been There, Should've Done That: 995 Tips for Making the Most of College by Suzette Tyler

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This is a quick, easy, and very useful read for anyone heading off to college. It gives quotes from students and recent graduates on things they're glad they did, and things they would have done, 'had they only known then what they know now.' We don't know of a better source for first-hand advice on how to avoid common pitfalls of the freshman experience, ranging from the merely annoying (buy textbooks before classes start, to avoid unbelievably long lines) to the profound (how to know when you're in over your head in a course and better off dropping it).

Navigating Your Freshman Year (Students Helping Students series) by Allison Lombardo

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Like Been There, Should've Done That, this book contains information from students, for students. However, it covers different kinds of problems, and gives more comprehensive information and advice. Navigating Your Freshman Year addresses topics like understanding financial aid, managing debt, living with a roommate, and managing the academic and social environment of college. The book has an especially useful section on the ins and outs of transferring from one school to another, starting with how to know when it's time to think about transferring and continuing with information and advice on how to manage a transfer. This book is worth both reading and keeping on hand, throughout your college years. It gets consistently high marks from readers.

The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College by Harlan Cohen

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This sixth-edition book has garnered a lot of favorable feedback from our clients and, upon reviewing it, we were quickly able to discern why. The tone is light and humorous but there is plenty of good insight into many crucial topics including relationships, succeeding in the classroom, Greek life, getting involved on campus and roommates.

For Parents

Don't Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money by Helen E. Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller

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This book is a very informative, comforting and fun read for parents that are worried about how to combine their emotional and financial support for children who are beginning to more aggressively assert their independence. The authors have personally been through this process and their personal experience really shines through.

Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger

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This sixth edition book, written by a psychologist and a college administrator, has been a best-seller among parents for many years. It gives an overview of the psychological and emotional processes involved on both the parent's and student's side when a child leaves home for college. It also discusses issues that have been in the news and that concern parents seeing children off to a college environment – drug and alcohol use, personal security, and eating disorders – and gives guidance on how to recognize what's normal behavior and what's not. This book is especially valuable in assuring parents (and students, too) that what they go through during this period isn't strange or dysfunctional, and that they're far from alone in experiencing it.

I'll Miss You Too: An Off-to-College Guide for Parents and Students 2nd edition by Margo E. Woodacre Bane and Steffany Bane

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This book's mother-daughter author team is very similar to Letting Go, in both the ground it covers and the audience it's written for. However, it takes a more nut-and-bolts view of the process than the other book does. Letting Go talks about the psychological process of separation; You're On Your Own talks about dismay at realizing there's no one to leave notes on the refrigerator door for any longer. The book walks parents through the seeing-your-child-off-to-school process chronologically, starting with the high school senior year with many helpful tips on how to preserve, or even strengthen, your bond.

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