The transition from high school to college is probably one of the first major life changes you’re going to face; you may be moving away from home and you’ll have greater freedom, but you’ll also have bigger responsibilities and many of your decisions from this point forward will greatly impact your future. It would seem, then, that you should take time and care in choosing your college and learning the ins and outs of the university system, culture, and politics. Here are seven books to help you become an expert:
1. College Admissions Together: It Takes a Family by Steven Roy Goodman and Andrea Leiman
Leiman (a psychologist) and Goodman (an educational consultant) provide a comprehensive overview of the admissions process and how to maintain a healthy, thriving family relationship throughout, including tips for teens for handling the stress and tips for parents about learning to let go.
2. Campus Life by Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz
An examination of university subcultures over the last few decades, from the fraternity-style life which tends to devalue academics to the serious student who sees college as a means to an end (success and power in adult life), Horowitz’s book enlightens the future student on the current culture and just how it came to be this way.
3. Standardized Minds: The High Price Of America’s Testing Culture And What We Can Do To Change It by Peter Sacks
Sacks discusses America’s obsession with standardized measures of intelligence and how harmful they’ve been in the education system. His book is certainly helpful for a young student worried about not being “good enough” based on a test score.
4. Beyond College For All: Career Paths for the Forgotten Half by James E. Rosenbaum
Maybe you aren’t planning to go to college. Rosenbaum looks at the reasons that high school in America doesn’t lead to adults ready to proceed in the workforce immediately as it does in Japan and Germany. He considers the merits of vocational and technical training as being equally (or more) useful as college to prepare young adults for the workforce.
5. Are You Smart Enough?: How Colleges’ Obsession with Smartness Shortchanges Students by Alexander Astin
Another treatise on quantifiable measures of intelligence (such as standardized testing) and how they are inadequate as accurate assessments. Astin’s book is a call to action to the current university culture and an encouragement to budding young adult learners.
6. Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities by Craig Steven Wilder
Wilder provides an overview of slavery’s connection with the development (both literally and figuratively) of America’s colleges and universities. One cannot contemplate higher education without also contemplating at what cost that opportunity was created.
7. The Thinking Student’s Guide to College: 75 Tips for Getting a Better Education by Andrew Roberts
Roberts details the many decisions a student will face during their undergraduate and graduate studies, from selecting a college to choosing a major, to making an impression on faculty, and even onward to applying to and succeeding at graduate school. His review is comprehensive, and any student would feel much more at ease after reading this one.
Whether you’re deciding which college to attend or whether to study at a technical college or trade school, you’ll find the above books to be excellent resources for you. Good luck in your studies!
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