The Secrets of College Success

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If you’re currently a college student, or plan on being one, you need to check out this book. Written by award-winning professors Lynn Jacobs and Jeremy Hyman, it’s loaded with insider information that only professors know—but few are willing to reveal. The over 600 tips in this book will show you:

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If you’re currently a college student, or plan on being one, you need to check out this book. Written by award-winning professors Lynn Jacobs and Jeremy Hyman, it’s loaded with insider information that only professors know—but few are willing to reveal. The over 600 tips in this book will show you:

  • How to pick good courses and avoid bad professors

  • How to develop “college-level” skills and habits that’ll put you ahead of the pack

  • How to get through the freshman comp, math, language, and lab science requirements—in one try

  • How to figure out what’s going to be on the tests, and what professors are looking for in papers and presentations

  • How to pick a major you’ll really like—and be good at

  • How to get the edge for graduate school—or the inside track to a really good job

  • And much more.

The tips are quick and easy-to-use, and the advice is friendly and supportive. It’s as if you had your own personal professor guiding you on the path to college success.

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  • The Secrets of College Success
    The Secrets of College Success  

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Wife-and-husband coauthors Jacobs (art history, Univ. of Arkansas) and Hyman present the second book in their "Professors' Guide" series and cover some of the same territory as their first effort, Professors' Guide to Getting Good Grades in College. The sections on picking courses, the importance of attending class and taking good notes, how professors grade, writing a great paper, and acing exams will look familiar to readers of the first book. The style is also similar—lots of easy-to-read lists interspersed with tips and pointers and sprinkled with what adults think of as "kidspeak" (sweet, bummer, and texting abbreviations like IOHO and BFF).Verdict Though this book does not break new ground in the popular college prep genre, it is a well-organized, quick read. Not likely to be examined cover to cover by your average 18-year-old, it will be appreciated by keen yet nervous soon-to-be college students and their parents.—Sara Holder, McGill Univ., Montreal
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Full of practical and easy-to-implement tips, this handbook is written in brief segments, perfect for the short attention span of the YouTube generation. While covering the basics found in other "how to be successful in college"-type books (study skills, time management, test-taking tips), this one also has sections on other issues that students will likely face: how to get into a closed class, studying abroad, working with a professor, and getting one's money's worth. Topics are approached with humor, but there is a serious undertone throughout: college is expensive, so their philosophy in a nutshell is to do the work, make the grades, and graduate. This book deserves a place in high school libraries across the country. Many students are college-bound with no real idea what to expect once they enter the realm of higher education. Secrets would be a great tool to incorporate into an adviser/advisee program for students on a college track. Learning to implement some of the tips will make them more successful in college, and they will likely reap benefits during their high school tenure as well.—Gina Bowling, South Gibson County High School, Medina, TN
From the Publisher
"If I had my way, I’d give this book to every single college student, of any age, and make them read it. A book that moves from ‘How to Turn a B into an A’ to ‘10 Surefire Ways to Piss Off Your Professor,’ is beyond just ‘helpful.’’ It is ‘the Missing Manual’ for turning a merely ‘okay’ college experience into a delicious adventure. I laughed, I took notes, I loved every page. And I’m not even in college. If you are, don’t even think about not buying this book. It will be the best thing you ever did for yourself."
—Richard Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute?

"Along with shower flip-flops and a very loud alarm clock, this book should be on every freshman’s college packing list. The professors have outlined solutions for all the major fears that students face when they start college."
—Marjorie Savage, parent program director, University of Minnesota and author of You’re on Your Own (But I’m Here If You Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years

"Psychologically sound tips for thriving, not just surviving, in college. Lynn’s and Jeremy’s tips will make your college experience a spectacular success."
—Chuck Snowden, director of honors program, University of Wisconsin

"Clear, practical, comprehensive — and caring. These authors want you to succeed. Listen."
—Judy Genshaft, president, University of South Florida and past president, American Council on Education

"Riddled with humor and witty in presentation, this lighthearted "easy read" could be the most helpful, honest resource for today’s college student."
—Scott H. Reikofski, director, fraternity/sorority affairs, University of Pennsylvania

"The Secrets of College Success needs to be required reading for anyone starting college, regardless of age. A great source of practical advice that could mean the difference between success and failure."
—Eduardo J. Padrón, president, Miami Dade College

"The students who are most successful in college are those who are most prepared. The Secrets of College Success reveals what students need to know from the perspective of the professors who teach them. It pays to know the rules of the game before you play."
—George R. Boggs, president and CEO, American Association of Community Colleges

"This volume provides a banquet of tips. Easy to read, easy to locate what you need, this book will be helpful throughout your undergraduate years. I highly recommend it."
—Sharon J. Hamilton, professor and former director, Indiana University Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching

"Accessibly written and logically organized, there’s something here for everyone. This handy volume will help students focus on what it takes to be successful."
—Peter H. Quimby, deputy dean, Princeton University

"This book provides sound advice in a great format on how to get the most from your college education, starting on Day 1 of your freshman year."
—Martha O’Connell, executive director, Colleges that Change Lives

"High schools focus on getting their seniors TO college but they rarely teach them how to get THROUGH college. Professors Jacobs and Hyman fill this gap with a series of high energy, digestible and practical tips that any student can master in one sitting. This book should be required reading for every college-bound student so that they will be equipped with the "under-the-hood" expertise they need to succeed in h0000igher education."
—Keith W. Frome, chief academic officer, College Summit Inc.

"The Secrets of College Success is an easy-to-read, highly informative book. In my experience, many students come in to Stanford unprepared for the realities of college life. With bite-sized and digestible tips, this book provides substantial advice applicable to any college student."
—Kamil Dada, president

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470874660
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/26/2010
  • Series: Professors' Guide Series , #1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Lynn F. Jacobs is professor of Art History at the University of Arkansas. Jeremy S. Hyman is founder and chief architect of Professors' Guide content products. Between them, they have over 40 years of teaching experience at eight different colleges and universities. Additional tips are available at, at, and on Twitter at @professorsguide.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

Top 10 Reasons to Read This Book xv

The Professors' Guide Icons xvii

1 This is College

10 Things You Need to Know About College (but Probably Don't) 2

What's New at College? Fun Facts 6

The 14 Habits of Top College Students 8

The 11 Secrets of Getting Good Grades in College 11

6 Things You Didn't Know About Grading (but Really Should) 15

12 Ways to Get Your Money's Worth out of College 18

The College Student's Bill of Rights 22

2 In the Beginning...

7 Things to Do the Summer Before College 26

15 Things to Do the Week Before College 30

Do's and Don'ts for Picking Your Courses 34

No Room at the Inn? What to Do When You're Closed out of a Course 37

10 Questions to Ask Yourself the First Week of Classes 39

Warning! Bad Professor Ahead 42

3 Skills 3.0

Top 10 Time-Management Tips 48

Why It's Never Good to Procrastinate 52

The How Not to Study Guide 55

10 Secrets of Taking Excellent Lecture Notes 59

15 Ways to Read Like a Pro 63

15 Strategies for Painless Presentations 67

Running Scared? How to Build Your Confidence 71

4 Forced Labor

10 Ways to Whip the Freshman Comp Requirement 76

10 Tips for Taming the Math Requirement 80

Top 10 Tips for Mastering the Foreign Language Requirement 84

10 Ideas for Learning to Love the Lab 88

10 Tips for the First-Year Experience Course 92

How to Take Courses on the 'Net-for Free 95

5 It's Showtime!

12 Tips for A+ Test Preparation 100

"So What's Going to Be on the Test Anyway?" 105

Top 13 Test-Taking Tips 108

10 Tips for Writing the Perfect Paper 113

Top 10 Ways of Making the Leap from a B to an A 117

16 Techniques for Doing Research Like a Professor 118

6 Partnering with the Professor

15 Ways to Make Your Professor Love You 125

The 15 Secrets of Going to See the Professor 129

Etiquette for E-mailing Your Professor 134

10 Surefire Ways to Piss Off Your Professor 137

Top 10 Things Professors Never Want to Hear (and What They Think When They Do Hear Them) 141

7 Emergency 9-1-1

10 Things to Do When You Can't Keep Up with the Lecture 144

Top 10 Signs You've Been Cutting Too Many Classes 148

Bombed the Midterm: Now What? 149

7 Best Last-Minute Strategies for Saving Your Grade 152

10 Signs You're in Real Trouble at College 156

What, Then, to Do? The 7-Step Approach 159

8 The Second Half of College

How Not to Pick a Major 162

13 Skills You'll Need for a Career-and How to Get Them at College 167

Top 10 Myths About Study Abroad 171

Transfer Tips-from Community College to 4-Year College 175

Thinking About Grad School? The 10-Step Program 178

10 Tips for Finding a Job 183

9 The End-and the Beginning

Got a Tip? Join the Community! 189

Acknowledgments 191

Web Resources 193

Index 195

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2012


    I saw this book recommended in the National Catholic Register in their issue on which colleges were truly Catholic they listed books for the "college bound" to look at and this was one of them very handy tips in it there is some coarse language implied in the work also a scrutinous eye is called for in a few instances when the authors hint at their ideas on morals however it was informative and helpful for me as a high school senior!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2012

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