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Campus Life Exposed: Advice from the Inside Paperback – August 25, 2000

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Editorial Reviews Review

Harlan Cohen, author of the syndicated "Help Me, Harlan!" advice column, comes to the aid of rising freshmen with Campus Life Exposed. Cohen goes beyond credits and blue books to delve into the real life problems that have been sent to him by his college-aged readers. The hurdles facing new students are gathered into chapters like "Finding a Date on Campus" and "My Disgusting, Angry, Irresponsible, Alcoholic, Pot-Smoking Roommate" and illustrated by a few selected columns. The book is engagingly chatty, and Cohen is unafraid to dig into his own experiences to make his points. In fact, he makes a special point of exposing college's dirtiest little secret: it is entirely possible that freshman year might suck. Cohen goes into the possible reasons for said sucking, and suggests ways of getting around them. While Campus Life Exposed definitely comes down on the side of common sense--there is an extended section on STDs and a graphic cautionary tale on binge drinking--it never makes the mistake of getting preachy. Cohen acknowledges that most kids cutting loose on a college campus for the first time are going to do a little experimenting, and that college is a time for making mistakes. He also suggests that students who make those mistakes write in so he can share their hard-won wisdom in the next edition. --Ali Davis

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Peterson's; Original edition (August 25, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0768904986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0768904987
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,024,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Harlan Cohen is a New York Times bestselling author of five books, a professional speaker, and a nationally syndicated advice columnist.

He is author of Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (While Fully Clothed & Totally Sober) (St. Martin's), The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College (Sourcebooks), The Naked Roommate: For Parents Only (Sourcebooks), Dad's Pregnant Too!: A guide for expectant fathers and their partners (Sourcebooks), The Naked Roommate's First Year Survival Workbook (Sourcebooks), and Campus Life Exposed: Advice from the Inside (Peterson's).

Harlan has been a guest on hundreds of radio and television programs, including the Today Show. He has been featured as an expert offering advice in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition, Real Simple, Seventeen, Psychology Today, and hundreds of other publications. He is a professional speaker who has visited more than four hundred college campuses. His "Help Me, Harlan!" advice column is distributed by King Features Syndicate.

Harlan is a singer/songwriter best known for "The Chlamydia Jive." He is the founder of the websites,,,, and,. You can follow him on Twitter @HarlanCohen and find him on Facebook at: You can reach Harlan by e-mail at Harlan lives in Chicago, Illinois, and is married to his wife, who rejected him via an online dating site before falling in love with him following an unexpected encounter at Mailboxes Etc..

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "queen_daniella" on August 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this book for my son and he never put it down. He's not a reader, but he couldn't stop. He was anxious about going away to school, but after reading this book he seems completely at ease. The author writes a syndicated column that runs in college newspapers everywhere and uses letters from current college students and some personal stories. His writing style is smart, honest, and funny.
When my son put the book down, I picked it up. It was fun to think back to college and see how things have changed. The sex, STD, and drug chapters were a little shocking, but it's happening and I'm glad there's finally a book out there. I'm getting a few more copies to give to my friends kids as going away gifts! thanks Harlan
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is very hard to grade. It has excellent aspects, such as its candid descriptions of the very real dangers of campus life (STDs, drugs, alcohol, date rape, depression-driven actions, and theft). The cover photograph is brilliantly funny. Some of the letters and advice from those who wrote to him are very good. On the other hand, the book's style is very repetitive (you will hear Mr. Cohen's story about his girl friend in high school, his loneliness at Wisconsin, and so forth ad nauseum). Mr. Cohen has little training for his calling of providing advice, and primarily encourages people to communicate and to seek professional help. The biggest weakness is that Mr. Cohen almost totally ignores issues related to academics. He basically encourages you not to get so drunk or over-drugged that you don't make it to class. Most students leave college with overwhelming debt burdens. The book fails to provide any financial advice for dealing with that issue. While this book will prepare you for surviving the worst that could happen to you in college, it fails to prepare you to capture the best.
The book primarily focuses on the topics of coping with loneliness, making friends, getting dates, handling roommate problems, sexual relations, avoiding sexual relations, avoiding and handling STDs, drinking, drugs, sexual assault, and a tiny smidgeon about academics. Most students will find these issues relevant, because their lives will touch in these areas. I would encourage people to read this book, because it will probably help prepare them for a situation or two that they will run into. The book will be most valuable if read during the summer before starting college.
On the other hand, the opportunity to write the definitive guide to attending college remains. I hope Mr.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ranee Stevens on August 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
The most anxious time for a teen is the weeks leading up to college. The teen has a million questions with no one to answer them honestly. Part of the reason is that no matter one's experience in college, within one week exposed to the real world, college seems to be a utopian universe that will never be again.
"Campus Life Exposed" gives college freshman the answers they need. The author's quirky sense of humor and excerpts from his nationally syndicated column "Help Me Harlan," provides unprecedented insights into the beauty and horror of the first year away from home.
The book isn't just about school, sex, drugs and drinking. Harlan addresses how to deal with annoying roommates and how to overcome loneliness. He gives useful tools to help a depressed or abusive friend.
Cohen's writing style is straightforward. He uses comical antedotes from his own college experiences peppered by a sarcastic wit that has made Help Me Harlan a hit on college campuses.
Be sure that although the soon-to-be freshman will learn from Cohen, he/she will also be entertained by chapters titled "Sex Souvenirs On Campus" (the STD chapter) and "My Disgusting, Angry, Irresponsible, Alcoholic, Pot-Smoking Roommate."
Give this book to a friend before school starts and reduce the chances that his/her first semester will result in poor grades, date rape, an STD, alchohol poisoning and/or a drug overdose.
Also, give it to someone who could use a good laugh before starting school.
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