September 9, 2011

Thriving at College by Alex Chediak

If you could give a college freshman any one piece of advice what would it be?

My little sister starts her freshman year on Monday and I've been thinking about that question a lot this summer. A couple of months ago I was asked to review a copy of Thriving At College and thought, oh this would be a perfect present for my sis. I'd planned to not only read the book but to take notes in the margins with my own insights. Join study groups. Go on road trips. Take fun classes. Don't take an 8AM class. Things like that.

So I opened the book with pen in hand and got ready to write these inspiring notes that I knew my sister would appreciate when she got homesick or needed some loving advice. It didn't work out so well. While Thriving at College was full of good information, it wasn't really what I thought or hoped it would be and not a book that I'll be sending to my sister to read.

Thriving at College is structured in four main sections - College Matters, Relationships Matter, Character Matters, and Academics Matter. Within each of these four sections are subsets of information surrounding a specific common college mistake, things like chucking your faith, distorting dating and romance, living out of balance, and wasting opportunities. There really is a lot of great information contained within each of these sections, and I completely agree with avoiding each of these mistakes.

However, other than making college students aware of these common mistakes (which is great), I didn't really see any practical ways to avoid these mistakes. I was expecting something more similar to 7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens - principles with tools for practical application. Also, I found that there was way too much text that made me just want to skip sections completely. I would have preferred more images, charts, bullets, or other things to break up the continual copy. This book was written for beginning college students who have plenty to do already, they need something short and sweet that will give them practical and useful ways to make it out in the real world.

So overall, good information but not my favorite way of sharing it with readers. 3 stars.

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in return for my honest opinion. This is it.

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