How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You’re There), by Andrea Brenner and Lara Schwartz (2019)


How to College: What to Know Before You Go (And When You're There), by Andrea Malkin Brenner and Lara Hope Schwartz

If your teen is planning post-secondary education this fall, buy this book right now. What a great resource for a young adult who is eager, nervous, terrified or super-confident about this exciting new stage in life! I worked in student services at The University of British Columbia for nearly 10 years, and this book, written by two professors who have worked with thousands of first-year students, perfectly encapsulates what new students need to know. First, it’s different from high school in so many ways! Learn how to approach a prof in a professional way. Get a planner and use it. Make and stick to a budget. Make sure you know how to do your laundry, clean your room, and book a medical appointment. Join a club and make some friends.

Do your readings. Study a bit every day. Ask questions. Sleep. Get up on time. Get help when you need it (we all do). Explore your passions. Have a Plan B. Call home. It’s done in a way that helps teens make a successful transition from high school to university or college, by working on life skills bit by bit in the three or four months before they actually start classes, and once they arrive on campus. There are checklists that will keep eager kids busy, and will get lazy ones moving by telling them to do this now, or get this done at some point over the summer. The tips are good – attend a lecture at the library on a subject you know nothing about. Find grocery stores near your campus. Read the syllabi for the classes you are taking. Look up the student code of conduct. Understand what plagiarism is at university. Talk to your parents now about money, communication, and what to do if you get sick. And at $20 Canadian or less for a print copy, it’s a bargain, though be aware it’s an American publication so some financial and medical bits are not relevant or correct for Canadians. Aimed squarely at first-year students, there is a lot there for second-years and higher, and parents will benefit from reading it too, though remember, this is the time for your teen to learn to be an adult. Highly recommended. My thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the advance reading copy provided digitally through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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