By Maria Rainier
Now is that time of year when high school seniors make their final decisions about where to apply to college.
Reading an extensive amount of literature can help cultivate a young student’s mind so that he or she can have the “smarts” to get accepted into the college of his or her choice, but literature can also help prepare college-bound students for what their new life will be like once they step on campus. While non-fiction books are fun to read, they are also typically an exaggerated and embellished representation of what “real” college life is like. Thus the non-fiction selections listed below can be some great reads for high school seniors who will be starting college next fall. They may also be able to take off some of the edge—college can be a very daunting experience.
That Book about Harvard: Surviving the World’s Most Famous University, One Embarrassment at a Time
This light-hearted and funny autobiography tells the (mis)adventures of author Eric Kester during his first year at the prestigious Harvard University. Like most incoming freshmen, Kester struggled finding his identity, learned that he actually needed to study to pass college exams, and experienced his first heartbreak. While it may just sound like run-of-the mill college stuff, the book is actually filled with oh-so-many funny and embarrassing moments. It’s definitely a page turner. Kester is also a resident writer at the popular site CollegeHumor.com.
My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student
If you can’t beat them, join them—that’s what anthropology professor Rebekah Nathan decided to do when she just couldn’t understand why her students acted the way that they did: they refused to participate in classroom discussions, ate breakfast at their desks, and rarely finished reading assignments. So to get in the mind-set of her students, Nathan decided to “become” a student for several weeks. She enrolled in classes, lived in a dorm, and even ate in the dorm dining halls. Soon she discovered that being a student isn’t all that easy in this new day and age.
College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be
Last but certainly not least is College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be–a historical narrative that explains how the idea of “college” first manifested and how it has changed throughout the years. It’ll make college readers appreciative of the opportunities they are given as well as open their eyes to a few flaws of the higher education system. The book’s author, Andrew Delbanco, is a humanities professor at Columbia University.
Maria Rainier is a contributor to www.onlinedegrees.org, a website that helps alternative learners evaluate their different schooling options. She encourages your comments and questions.