This book might better be titled College — A Guide to Building Your Resume. The author’s degrees and experience are in business fields, and this shows in the selection of topics. Hence there are two chapters on how to invest money during college, one on starting your own business, and another three on money management. The longest chapter on academics is devoted to “Learning Beyond the Classroom,” which the author extols because it is an antidote to all those irrelevant and boring lecture classes, and it is a great resume builder. To be fair, a career-oriented, have-fun approach to college is reasonable. This approach is certainly encouraged by high tuition levels and universities’ ever-expanding credentialing power.
Who is such a book for? A student who is at sea, because they have no idea what they want to do or what interests them. This book could provide some encouragement to such a student. It certainly gives a sense of the many possibilities to be found at a university. So I might buy a copy for a student graduating from high school. On the other hand, the book may seem overwhelming to a student who does not have the flexibility, or time to spend, that the author assumes they have. The author encourages students to avoid complicating relationships or working too much, but to engage in extra-curriculars and travel. A student with free time may be common among “first-time-in-any-college” students, but I suspect less so among the student body as whole.
Where the book disappoints me is its advice about academics, which is unexceptional and short. For example, the list of how to get the most from your course (and professor) mentions be on time, sit up front, ask questions, visit the professor often, and finally… take notes. An interesting idea, that. There is a brief discussion of how to improve one’s writing, but there is no discussion of mathematics. This surprised me, since mathematics can be a stumbling block for many students.
Reviewed by John Curran, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Eastern Michigan University. Dr. Curran and coordinates the actuarial science program at Eastern Michigan. Dr. Curran worked for a Wall Street firm for several years before obtaining his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Brown University.