Cover: Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds, from Harvard University PressCover: Making the Most of College in PAPERBACK

Making the Most of College

Students Speak Their Minds

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Product Details


$20.00 • £16.95 • €18.00

ISBN 9780674013599

Publication Date: 05/30/2004


256 pages


[Making the Most of College] is receiving excellent reviews both inside and outside academe. Already, at least seven colleges have ordered copies by the hundreds and, in one case, thousands. The title was recently No. 12 in’s educational books category… Mr. Light’s recommendations sound straightforward enough: Encourage collegial work. Urge students to get involved in extracurricular activities. Foster and promote diversity. Get students to form study groups. The list goes on. Scholars and administrators who have read the book say it is the research behind such recommendations, not just the personal touch, that makes Mr. Light’s work valuable.—Alex P. Kellogg, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Harvard Professor [Richard Light] reveals secrets from his 10-year study of successful students. [Making the Most of College] offers practical advice to school administrators, parents and, most importantly, to the students themselves.—Alisha Davis, Newsweek

Based on 10 years of interviews with Harvard students, the book distills their wisdom and quotes them liberally on such matters as choosing classes, studying, diversity on campus, and the importance of writing… What they have to say would apply on most campuses. These are people who talk thoughtfully but approachably about managing their time and making connections with others. Many make it clear that they’ve confronted their share of self-doubt and missteps… A good read for students, teachers, and parents.—Amelia Newcomb, The Christian Science Monitor

Light’s conversational, easy-to-read book is a primer for students and families investing in college and hoping to get their money’s worth. Some schools, such as the University of Washington, have distributed it to all incoming freshmen.—Robert A. Frahm, The Hartford Courant

The book recounts…in 100-some excerpts from interviews with Harvard College students…revealing vignettes about how undergraduates make the most of their precious hours inside the classroom and beyond. Because the stories convey in students’ words how they study, learn, and react to their peers within a residential college, it is memorably unlike anything else parents, students, soon-to-be undergraduates, and educators have read.—John S. Rosenberg, Harvard Magazine

Light, a Harvard professor with 30 years of experience teaching at the college level, explores those elements of college life that make it an enriching experience for students…[and] offers specific suggestions from students on how to deal with typical situations… Parents and students either in college or headed there will find this book a valuable resource.—Vanessa Bush, Booklist

Valuable and practical… An outstanding publication dealing with education and society. Filled with advice and illuminated by real stories of students’ self-doubts, failures, discoveries, and hopes, [this] book is a blueprint for academic success… Students’ actual responses are woven throughout, creating a revealing text unlike anything else parents, children, matriculating freshmen, and educators have read. This rich account of college life is recommended for all.—Samuel T. Huang, Library Journal

Some useful themes emerge from [Light’s] decade spent interviewing more than 1,600 undergraduates: in-class and out-of-class experiences are significantly connected; strategies successful in high school don’t always work well at college; good advising is crucial; students must ask for help when they need it; ‘students are enthusiastic when classes are structured to maximize personal engagement’ and they enjoy interdisciplinary courses. There are some surprises, too: students Light spoke with demand high writing standards and favor unpredictability in their professors’ political opinions. A major portion of the book argues that the benefits of diversity on college campuses have been underestimated and that awkward culture clashes can ultimately provide a positive, if at the time uncomfortable, learning experience.Publishers Weekly

Making the Most of College is an excellent book which will be of practical help to students and teachers alike. It shows close attention to the ways students learn; what they tell the interviewers, the author’s own experience and that of other teachers together provide a rich account of the college experience. I will buy the book and use it, and be grateful to Richard Light for his sensitivity and creativity as a teacher and teacher of teachers.—Martin Trow, University of California, Berkeley

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