top of page

Praise for How to College

"Based on their knowledge as college professors, Brenner and Schwartz have written THE go-to guide for making the transition from high school to college. Their comprehensive, practical approach breaks down the myths of going to college and details every aspect of the college transition. Practical advice and examples make it easy for college goers to communicate with roommates, staff and college professors to present their best, professional self as they start the next chapter in their academic career. How to College illustrates the differences between high school and college, and helps readers understand the academic expectations of college faculty. College goers are directed to myriad campus and electronic resources that support students when they need help with classwork, managing their time, resolving conflicts, and creating balance in their lives. Practical tips on what to do the summer before college, upon arrival, and during the first semester set this guide apart from others."

-Todd A. Olson, PhD, Vice President for Student Affairs, Georgetown University


"How to College gives high school students the edge in making a smooth and successful transition to college, and should be required reading for all high school students (and those who support them) planning to go to college! Students who follow the advice in this guide are sure to make an easier college transition and will excel in college."

-Robert Hradsky, EdD, Senior Associate Vice President and Dean of Students, Syracuse University


"As a professor, I dream of having first-year students arrive with the knowledge so accessibly outlined in How to College. The book covers everything from engaging in class discussions to attending office hours—even writing a professional email. A student who comes in already working on these skills is poised to thrive in my classes."

-Angie Chuang, Associate Professor of Journalism, University of Colorado Boulder 


"How To College is an excellent roadmap for all students making the significant, challenging and exciting transition to college. This easy to read book provides practical and comprehensive recommendations that can make an often daunting experience more manageable and less threatening.  Having been a student affairs professional for over thirty years, I found myself constantly nodding as I read about the wide ranging issues addressed in this book, each presented in a way that encourages new students to understand the multitude of resources available to them as they learn to advocate for themselves and assume greater responsibility for their lives as young adults. Understanding that each student is on their own respective journey, the authors astutely provide detailed suggestions for many of our marginalized populations, as well, such as international students, disabled students, and LGBTQ students. 

I see this book having so many applications.  It would make a great gift for any soon-to-be college student, as a common read text for an entering first year cohort, or as a guide for developing an effective and comprehensive first year experience course."

-Steve Sutton, EdD, Vice Chancellor, Division of Student Affairs, University of California Berkeley

"Offers practical advice for students as they make the transition from high school to college. Despite my experience in higher education, I could see myself reading How to College with my sons when they begin their collegiate experience and reviewing the checklists of things to know, do and discuss before you go with them. The authors have gone beyond the information covered in a traditional campus orientation and addressed topics that students often learn about when it is too late."

-Keith B. Humphrey, PhD, Vice President for Student Affairs, California Polytechnic State University


"As a high school senior, I can confidently say How to College is a must-read for any new college student. The helpful tips, descriptive checklists, and advice give the reader insight on how to plan for the transition between high school and college. After reading the book, I feel better prepared to manage change, independence, and academics simultaneously."

-Anna O’Keefe, current student, Villanova University


"How to College is a fantastic resource for incoming and first year students. Recent high school  graduates will find the detailed guidance—on everything from how to take notes on assigned readings to living on a budget—indispensable. How to College will help students familiarize themselves with the adjustments and independence that lie ahead and encourage important conversations with families and peers, in addition helping them start on the right foot academically. What a gift!"

-Sarah Sobieraj, PhD, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Digital Sexism Project, Tufts University


"Whether you’re confident or terrified at the prospect of the transition to college, How to College contains nuggets of wisdom and important reminders that will help you navigate this life milestone. This invaluable and reassuring advice ranges from the skills you should learn and the connections to make before your first day, to the inevitable troubleshooting needed during college. The tone of the book carries that authority and the warmth, concern and affection they clearly feel for young adults at this pivotal stage of life. If every incoming college student read and followed the advice in How to College, campuses would be harmonious and productive places—and the next generation of young adults would be well-prepared to be responsible, contributing neighbors and citizens. A truly comprehensive book for the rising college student."

-Katherine Reynolds Lewis, independent journalist, author, and speaker


"How to College should be a required read for anyone entering college for the first time. Brenner and Schwartz have helped provide answers to the questions new students ask, the questions new students wish they had asked, and the questions new students don’t know to ask in this easy to read, digestible book."

-Gretchen Metzelaars, PhD, Senior Associate Vice President, Office of Student Life, Ohio State University


"How to College is the best college prep guide I've ever encountered, equally strong in both breadth and depth. For breadth, the book covers every relevant topic I could have imagined for such a guide, and many that I honestly would never have thought of; all will be very helpful for rising college students and their families alike. And for depth, to cite just one example with which I'm very familiar, the section on college writing is stronger than many entire books dedicated to that subject, and would be a vital aid for students entering first-year writing classes."

-Ben Railton, PhD, Professor of English Studies, Fitchburg State University


"This is required reading for every college bound student and their families. Drawing from their own vast experiences, the authors clearly map the path to flourishing in college, offering rich and accessible exercises that promote best practices for success.  The first of its kind, this book will not only prepare students for their first year, but will also equip them to excel throughout their college career and beyond."

-Jennifer Rothchild, PhD, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Minnesota, Morris


"How to College is a must read…This book goes beyond how to achieve academic success!  It focuses on how to thrive throughout the whole college experience; managing finances, self-care, and being engaged. The book focuses on what students should know, do, and discuss with their family immediately following their high school graduation, to ensure a smooth transition into their first year of college. By being informative, as well as entertaining, the authors do a fantastic job of portraying the true college experience so that students entering college for the first time are prepared for what to expect from college life. For students graduating from high school, this is the book to read the summer before your first year of college, if not sooner."

-Lynn M. Roeder, PhD, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students, East Carolina University


"How to College is a great and practical resource for students as they prepare for their undergraduate career. Written directly to our incoming students, it provides many ways to help students "live, learn, and grow" while in college. As a former first generation college student and as a college administrator with over over eighteen years spent on college campuses, I can confidently say How to College is timely, relevant, helpful, and comprehensive.  From how to navigate conversations with family, to classes, papers, internships, roommates, involvement—and everything in between—it breaks down the issues I see students facing every day, providing incoming students with the tools, questions, and insight to help them be successful through their college transition and career."

-Danielle Morgan Acosta, PhD, Director of Student Affairs, Florida State University

"How to College builds a critical foundation for how to adult.  Beyond its academic success models, this exemplar resource embeds core tenets that teach our students how to become productive, contributing, and compassionate adults. Rather than simply receiving education, students learn how to create an optimal college experience, through focus on academic achievement, wellness, mentorship, social support, and clarity of purpose. With its contemporary attention to the cultural and social worlds of today’s college students, this expansive guidebook gives promise for tomorrow’s global citizens."

-Jennifer Fish, PhD, Professor and Chair, Women's Studies, Old Dominion University


"Provides students with practical advice and thought-provoking, timely issues to consider before embarking upon their new journey as a college student. The book is easy to read and covers a wide range of topics from study habits and writing an email to mental health, safety, and sexual misconduct. Sprinkled throughout are the voices of current college students, campus staff, and administrators who offer information, insight, and wisdom. The tone light, but serious—a recommended resource for high school students, high school counselors, and even anxious parents and family members!"

-Donna A. Lee, M.Ed, Vice President for Student Affairs, Macalester College


"Relevant, timely, and insightful. A modern guide to all the things you didn’t know to ask about before going to college. With advice about tackling course readings, meeting your new roommate, and making the most of online apps to support your success, this book is a great primer for any high school graduate heading off to college!"

-Rachel E. Aho, MS, Associate Director of Housing, University of Utah


"How to College adds a unique and useful look at the transition from high school to college. It is both thorough and accessible – covering topics ranging from college-level academic expectations to forming relationships to understanding finances, all in a style that is direct and user-friendly. The suggested exercises provide great strategies for both preparing and managing the transition to college. While valuable for any student who wants to make the most of their first year in college, it will be especially valuable for first generation students who may be learning alongside their families just how college works."

-Heidi Levine, PhD, Vice President for Student Development & Planning, Simpson College


"A comprehensive resource which will be valuable to transitioning high school grads and college freshman, as well as their parents, high school counselors, and college staff. It breaks this very complex time into many topics and offers manifold practical suggestions for each component. I plan to recommend it to parents and to fellow counselors."

-Christine Ransom, Retired public high school counselor, Hudson Valley, NY


"How to College gets it right! Navigating college, and doing it successfully can be a challenge, but this book is like having a personal guide. I've worked with many college and university orientation programs, and How to College is a perfect companion for students as they enter their new campus communities. This practical book fits right into gap recognizing the agency of students as young adults, while also providing step-by-step instructions for them on engaging critical campus resources."

-Alan Mueller, EdD, Assistant Dean of Students, Salem College


"As a counselor who works with first-generation-to-college students, helping guide them to and through college, I check in with each of my college students once or twice a month. This book covers all of the topics we speak about most frequently. College students are learning to navigate college and adulting at the same time, and How to College provides practical, sound advice as well as assurances to readers that they are not alone! From tips on self-advocacy and dorm life to college writing and managing personal finances, this book should be on every rising college freshman’s summer reading list!"

-Jennifer Schwartz, JD, Counselor, Collegiate Directions, Inc.


"As a Dean of Students, I would highly recommend How to College for new, returning, and transfer students. Regardless of year, this text covers important areas such as the importance of connecting with faculty, in and out of the classroom, and being involved on campus, which we know enhances students' retention at all class levels. Notably, How to College serves as great primer for first generation college students. Specifically, the book touches upon aspects of identity, finding one's voice, and self-care which are instrumental and vital to these students' lived experiences in higher education."

-Juan R. Guardia, PhD, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, University of Cincinnati


"As a first-generation college student turned college administrator, I believe How to College offers valuable insight for students and families choosing to embark on higher education and entering their first year. The authors offer curricular and co-curricular success tips through practical exercises addressing time management, engagement with professors and campus administrators, financial literacy, wellbeing and involvement outside the classroom. Additionally, How to College provides a beneficial guide full of important resources and information to set the foundation for success at the collegiate level for both the student and their families alike."

-Jonathan A. McElderry, PhD, Assistant Dean of Students and Director, Intercultural Center, Wake Forest University


"A detailed guide on how to navigate college experiences and beyond. The authors provide a blueprint for 'potential college students' that ensures successful achievement outcomes. A valuable resource for all parents and students who are considering college as the next step!"

-Cynthia B. Bragg, PhD, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, Morgan State University


"As a senior in high school excited for the future, but also anxious about what the future holds, I found How to College to be an excellent book to read. Not only does it address the questions and anxiety surrounding entering college as a first year student, but it also suggests different tasks to practice to help make you feel more prepared and confident. I really liked how the authors remind incoming freshman that older students and professors have been in our shoes and are more than willing to answer any questions we may have. This book is a welcome companion to help ease freshman year jitters."

-Madison Ades, current student, Indiana University Bloomington


"How to College provides parents and students with the prompts to engage in critical conversations regarding their transition to college life. It will open a door for topics that can be difficult to navigate and provide context for typical situations first year students encounter. Its a great supplement to the resources your college will provide and can prepare you to ask the right questions to get the answers you need to set you on a path for success."

-Rachel A. Beech, EdD, Assistant Vice President, Admissions, Outreach and Transition, California State University, San Bernardino


"This is an ideal read for families that have an upcoming or recent first-year student. With helpful tips like planning in advance for how often and through what means you will communicate to self-assessments that prompt students to reflect on why they are embarking on their college journey, this text is filled with valuable insights from seasoned professionals in the field of college student success. As a former director of orientation and first-year experience programs, I would call How to College a must read for students and their families as part of their preparation for college."

-Jennifer Latino, EdD, Senior Principal Strategic Consultant, Ellucian

 Former Assistant Vice President for Student Success and Director, First-Year Experience, Campbell University


"The transition to college can be a confusing and overwhelming experience for students and their families. This valuable book strives to both minimize that stress and provide a path for students and their families to follow. Written in a practical, straightforward manner, Brenner and Schwartz share their wisdom and experience in a way that brings clarity to the processes and highlights the skills and behaviors that students need to know. Further, they highlight how to find and access support systems, and how to care for yourself in this new environment. This is an important guide to help students and their families get ready and be successful in college."

-Craig Elliott, PhD, Assistant Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services, Samuel Merritt University


"This book offers the best explanation/guide I’ve seen on what students can expect to encounter academically in college. Combine that with the lessons on money, time and self-management, extracurricular/civic-engagement experiences, navigation relationships with family, friend back at home and new friends found at the university and you have a comprehensive guide that can help help even the most anxious student prepare for what will helpfully be one of the best experiences of their life!"

-Matthew J. Kirk, M.Ed, Associate Director of Tiger Alliance College Preparation and Outreach, Clemson University


"Before I started college I had no idea what to expect or how to prepare myself, and my first semester was very tough because of that. This book puts everything about college into perspective; it makes it much more approachable and more importantly makes it seem a lot less scary. I wish I had read this book before I started college."

-Jackson Hall, current student, University of Maryland


"How to College is a timely and needed book for families, students and university administrators. The book provides a comprehensive set of recommendations for how students can take agency for their learning and college experiences. Throughout the book, the authors do a very nice job of illustrating the myriads of ways high school differs from college. The book is written in a language that is accessible and fun to read. I found the book to be very practical and it universally applies to the student experience.  As an administrator in a college setting responsible for facilitating students transition to college, this book will serve as a key resource. It is a must read for all students and families. The sections related to imposter syndromes resonated very much. By writing the book, the authors have masterfully demystified the college experience."

-Fanta Aw, PhD, Vice President of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence, American University 

bottom of page