How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You're There)

How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You're There)

How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You're There)

How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You're There)


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The first practical guide of its kind that helps students transition smoothly from high school to college

The transition from high school—and home—to college can be stressful. Students and parents often arrive on campus unprepared for what college is really like. Academic standards and expectations are different from high school; families aren’t present to serve as “scaffolding” for students; and first-years have to do what they call “adulting.” Nothing in the college admissions process prepares students for these new realities.

As a result, first-year college students report higher stress, more mental health issues, and lower completion rates than in the past. In fact, up to one third of first-year college students will not return for their second year—and colleges are reporting an increase in underprepared first-year students.

How to College is here to help. Professors Andrea Malkin Brenner and Lara Schwartz guide first-year students and their families through the transition process, during the summer after high school graduation and throughout the school year, preparing students to succeed and thrive as they transition and adapt to college. The book draws on the authors’ experience teaching, writing curricula, and designing programs for thousands of first-year college students over decades.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250225184
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/23/2019
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 320,415
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Andrea Malkin Brenner, PhD taught in the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at American University for over 20 years. She created and directed AU’s award-winning first-year experience program and consults with colleges that wish to create their own first-year transition courses.

Lara Hope Schwartz, JD teaches in the Department of Government at American University School of Public Affairs (SPA) and is the Director of the Project on Civil Discourse. In teaching law and government, she draws on her experience as a legislative lawyer, lobbyist, and communications strategist in leading civil rights organizations.

Table of Contents

An Introduction for Students 1

We Need to See Other People: A Letter to Parents and Families 5

A Guide to This Guide 8

Part I The New College You

1 Your Identity: Is Reinventing Yourself a Real Thing? 11

2 Doubling (or Tripling) Down: Sharing Your Living Space 31

3 Beyond icebreakers: Getting to Know Your College Peers 42

Part II College is School

4 What Do You Want from Me? Academic Standards 55

5 Going Pro: Professionalism in College Academics 72

6 Get to the Point: Read and Study with Purpose 84

7 There Are No Bad Writers, Only Unpersuasive Papers: College Writing 93

8 Know Your Network: Academic Support 103

Part III Take Care of You

9 Eat, Sleep, Pray, Play: Wellness 121

10 Health 101: Access to Care in School 137

11 You Are Your Own Safety Net: Staying Protected in College 156

Part IV The Resident Experts

12 Key Players on Campus: Staff and Administrators 169

13 Not So Scary After All: Professors 176

Part V Money Talk

14 You're Not a Loan: Paying for College 189

15 Your Life's Transcript: Financial Literacy 197

16 Turns Out, There's a Math Requirement: Understanding Budgets 210

Part VI Life beyond the Classroom

17 The Lay of the Land: Your Campus 223

18 After the Activities Fair: Involvement and Community Responsibility 230

19 Work It: Career and Internship Resources 247

20 Act Locally: Your New College Town 258

Part VII Your to-Do List

Do This. Now. Seriously. 271

Know and Do Before You Go 272

Make Your Smartphone Smarter 277

Boost Your Browser: Bookmark These Sites 278

Acknowledgments 279

Notes 283

Index 285

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