This handbook is a quick read composed of 119 pages, broken into 4 sections (Campus Life, Academic Success, Social Skills, and Financial Aid), which are then sub-divided into between 10 and 14 two-page spreads. The color scheme is simplistic, varying from duo-chrome to more thoroughly multi-colored pages with a hefty use of symbols and base images interspersed. Lists, highlighting, strategic spacing, and a variety of font styles are also utilized to prevent blocks of text from becoming too daunting. The presentation is pretty straight-forward and effectively factual.
In this reader’s opinion, the best advice to be had can be found on page 55, which consists of paper-writing tips. Speaking as someone who’s gone to college twice, I can say with some confidence that the information here would have saved me a great deal of needlessly expended time and grief (had I been privileged with it up front rather than muddling my way through trial-and-error.)
Note: While it may initially seem as though the book’s advice on Spring Break is entirely vacation focused (appealing only to the more fiscally endowed students), this is later amended on page 38, where tight budgets and alternative options are taken into consideration.
There are a few minor drawbacks to this book, and how much they matter to readers will no doubt vary widely:
* Although there are plenty of practical step-by-step instructions, there’s little explanation offered as to why certain things should be done. (Example: In the section explaining how to do laundry, it’s stated “Don’t forget to clean out the lint trap!” But it does not mention that failure to do so may result in a serious fire hazard.) Those who prefer to be given the reasoning behind directives will need to supplement with their own research.
* While the target audience is fresh high school grads, the casual assumption of alcohol intake is laid on pretty thick. There is some definitely necessary and prudent advice on taking care when one does choose to drink (i.e. avoiding drugged drinks and the physiological factors to consider in preventing alcohol poisoning), but there’re also two-page spreads dedicated to teaching the rules to 4 of the more popular drinking games and ‘12 Tips For Hosting A Memorable (killer) Party.’
* Faith-based clubs and organizations of any sort are completely left out of mention, though it’s reasonable many students may find this a desired part of their college connectivity and social support structure.
A sufficiently solid choice for recent high school grads and/or reluctant non-fiction instructional readers, as well as a potential quick refresher for all those pressed-for-time parents.