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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2008
First of all, I would like to point out that I just graduated from high school and will be a freshmen next year. I bought this book in hopes that it would help with the anxiousness I was feeling regarding the transition to college. I'm glad to say that after reading this book, I felt far more prepared for college than I did before I read this book.
What I liked most about this book is that the authors found and interviewed students from all types of colleges across the US. Students from small colleges, large colleges, public colleges, private colleges, and anything else in between. Many of the students gave the same or similar recommendations/suggestions. Some people may find that repetitive or redundant but I found it reassuring. It was reassuring to know that students from completely different colleges agree on certain aspects of college life. There were some opinions that were opposite and some people may find that it is strange for authors to give contradicting information. I, however, found that each person who gave their opinion also explained their reasoning behind their opinions. This made it easier to pick sides and pick who you really agree with.
The reason I gave this book a 4/5 instead of a perfect score was because it lacks the authors' opinions. The authors of the book were the ones who interviewed the thousands of students and I'm sure that not everything that was said by the students made it into the book. If the authors had given their opinion as well, and maybe summarized or pointed out specific things they noticed in what the students said, then that would've left me with more of a satisfying feeling after reading the book. When I finished the book, I was unsure as to what exactly it was the authors wanted me to get from the book.
Overall, in found this book extremely insightful. It help me calm so of the nerves I was feeling about going to college. If you or someone you know is about to head off to college, I would definitely recommend this book. Everyones says that you're supposed to hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and expect the unexpected. This book definitely helps you prepare for the worst and allows you to expected some of the things that would've been unexpected.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
If I were 18 years old and about to go off to college I would consider this an interesting book to read. I would devour it in one gulp racing from one quote to another, from one bit of dubious advice to the next at breakneck speed. In fact to save a few bucks I might read it while hanging out at Borders. Would I be any the wiser or better informed? Would this book actually help me to survive my freshmen year?

Actually it might. Although the advice is almost random, and sometimes contradictory, and coming from people who went to very different schools with very different environments, from a heartland state university to Harvard, from people who have no money to the very rich, there is some advice somewhere in these pages I suspect that will help just about every freshman.

As an old foge who hasn't seen hallowed halls in decades, this book provided not usable advice, but a kind of window into the mind of today's college student. I learned--no surprise really when you think about it--that one of the things that people going into college worry about today is gaining that "freshman 15"--that is to say pounds of fat. The main debate seems to be around whether cafeteria food is edible or not or how many days in a row you can subsist on pizza and beer. "Amy," from Princeton University says, "The freshman 15 happens to everyone, and don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise." (p. 156) Best advice in the food category came from Chavon Mitchell, a Xavier grad, who wrote, " friend and I would scour the campus paper and fliers for events with free food...We would end up at academic speeches, random barbeques, or various group meetings, none of which we belonged to or knew anything about...We ended up eating for free at least three to four times every week...."

Okay, forget food. How about academics? Oops--21 chapters and none on academics. But no problem, "Hundreds of Heads" publishers have another book that covers this. It's called "How to get A's in College--Hundreds of Student-Tested Tips."

Wait, there is a chapter on studying. Some good advice: "Sleep a lot. And always go to class." -Sarah, Georgia Tech grad. "Flirt with the professors. It comes in handy when you need to be late on your term paper because you partied all weekend." --from an anonymous University of Georgia grad. Another U of Georgia grad named Jen says, "Buy beaten-up, used books that have been highlighted and have notes in the margins: Instant Cliff's Notes!" (p. 126) But J.T., a University of Florida grad cautions, "Be careful when buying used books. The person who had the highlighter before you may have been an idiot." (p. 137)

All right let's get to the advice on partying, which is why you're here in the first place. The chapter is entitled, "Parties 101: How to Have Fun & Be Safe." It comes right after the chapter on "Going Out, Getting Serious: Dating and Sex." Be safe? I guess they mean, don't chug-a-lug Jack Daniels or do not go into the ghetto for weed. Or speed kills (it does). Or maybe it's this from "Anonymous": "Girls, be especially careful of what you drink while at clubs or house parties, because an uncovered drink could mean a lost night and a trip to the gynecologist the next day."

The chapter on choosing classes is good, but I wonder about this advice from "S.P.": "Fall in love with someone in your class right away, T.A., professor, whomever. You'll be hard-pressed to skip class. If there is no one in your class to love, then pick someone to hate and show up every day to make his or her life a living hell." (p. 107)

There's a chapter on dorm life and one on choosing or living with a roommate. One girl (Heather Pollock from a Cal State U--it doesn't say which one) had a roommate that was "A Goth lesbian. She would sit on the patio, smoke a pack of cigarettes an hour and cry about how some girl had screwed her over." Melanie from Penn State says, "The worst thing that happened with my roommate [was] She decided to tap dance at 7 a.m. to get back at me because I kept her up at night." Hmm...seems fair.

Yes, there is a chapter, more or less, on how to deal with helicopter moms. It's called "Family Ties: Keeping in Touch & Setting Boundaries." I knew I had hit the mother lode of insight into parent/student relationships from the student point of view when I read the first three bits of advice: "My relationship with my parents has improved a lot over the phone versus in person." -Chana Weiner Bernard College; "The thing with parents is that, nine times out of ten, they love you and they want to help you. If they get a little protective when you go away, it's because they don't know how to deal with it. Help them through it. Be patient with them." -B., George Washington University; "I have caller ID on my cell phone. If my parents call, I can see it's them and let it ring. But they e-mail every day, too. They don't do IM because I haven't taught them that yet and they haven't figured it out. They say, `When you talk to people online, what does that mean?' And I say, `Oh, I just e-mail them."

Come to think of it, maybe this book would be a good read for parents.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2006
This book makes me feel like I have a thousand friends to call for advice. One person suggests that Freshmen should check out I had no idea that that existed. There's also advice on how to study, where to meet new friends, partying etc. The book's pretty funny, too.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2006
This is the best gift for a high school senior. The new one is even better than the last edition....
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2008
I read this book as a college senior, and was hit with a wave of "Wow, this would have been so helpful to have three years ago!" This book is stellar - real advice that is, admittedly, all over the board. Since the book is made up of tidbits from hundreds of people, some of it is in direct conflict with itself! But that's the beauty of it - there's plenty to every side of all the arguments in here.

Does this book tackle touchy subjects like drinking, sex, and questionable academic practices? Yes, of course. But that's because these are things students have to deal with at every college - from the most conservative Christian school to the biggest party school. If you are a parent and you don't think your soon-to-be-college-freshman child can handle it, then you are simply sending them to school unprepared. These are topics they will have to deal with no matter what - why not read this book, have your kid read the book, and then discuss the topics afterward?

The reason this book didn't get the 5th star is that I don't feel it tackles money topics very well. That's, of course, a limitation of the people that were interviewed for the book. But I feel like more needs to be said about how to budget, spend responsibly, and prepare for real-world finances. If you're giving this book as a gift to a soon-to-be-freshman, supplement it with a beginning financial book, as well.
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33 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2007
The cover and title of this book are fun and enticing and immediately caught my eye at the bookstore - thinking of my daughter who is completing her senior year of high school. I flipped through some pages and the quotes and suggestions seemed thoughtful and interesting. When I got home, I took a closer look and noticed the chapters titled: "Going out, hooking up, dating and sex" and "Parties 101: How to have fun and be safe". I immediately flipped to these chapters to see what advice would be offered to my teen and was surprised to find - as is stated in the editorial review posted on this sight - not only mixed messages, but a real sense that drinking and hooking up were natural parts of the college experience. Of course, reality is that these things do tend to be part of the college experience, but as adults, producing books for guidance for teens, it would seem we would serve them better by presenting a message of discouraging these activities. This book does not do that. In fact, one message sent in the book is "As long as you're staying on top of your work, you're not partying too much". Hmm...not the attitude I want my daughter to learn. While I did find some parts of the book interesting and sometimes amusing - I will be returning this book and looking for one that provides a better message to my daughter.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2006
It's great to get so much advice from people who have recently gone through freshman year of college (much better than books written by school counsellors or authors who haven't been in college for 20 years).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2008
Once I took a minute to adjust to the different voices and seemingly different tactics that varied from page to page of this advice book. I fell in love with it!

There is guidance for every type of Freshman entering college and this book treats each reader as an individual. One size does not fit all and this book has more than enough to fit any need.

A great overview of the complexities and variations that freshmen will face when they go away to college for the first time.

A great book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2010
Last year, one of my co-workers and I picked up this book in a trash-to-treasure program we did for our first year students in the residence halls: either someone hated it and didn't want to pass it on to anyone they knew, or had their fill and wanted to pass it on to someone else to read. I read it as a Senior RA and got a LOT out of it.

Why is this a great book for RAs? I read it the summer before I became the Senior RA of our complex after a year in a very stereotypical freshman residence hall thinking "I have to know how to get inside these kids' heads and see where they are coming from!" This is the perfect book to do that. I came back to this job after one and a half years completely refreshed and ready to tackle anything because I had put myself in a vulnerable position, the first year student mindset. It helped me be a lot more sensitive to the issues they are dealing with, or avoiding, and some of the stupid stuff they think and silly reasoning they give for different things they do. I know, that is a terribly vague description, but if I name all of the stuff I've seen and dealt with we'd be here all day.

Bottom line: I agree with other reviewers who said the book should not be taken seriously as a be-all, end-all of freshmen advice booklets. If you want that, you should look elsewhere. But if you want an HONEST glimpse into the minds of a lot of the freshmen that live in our halls, this is definitely the book for you. As a parent, a student, a past freshman or a soon to be freshman, there is certainly a great deal of humor and light-heartedness here for you. As an RA: be prepared to accept this text as a reality of what you will deal with. I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend it to first and second year RAs! Happy reading!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
It's fun to read and is a good resource from real students who have been through their college freshman year! I've already bought it for four recent high school graduates. I think it's the perfect graduation gift.
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