The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Tess Hamre and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Survival Secrets of College Students Review by Donna Campos

Mary Kay Shanley and Julia Johnston
Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
250 Wireless Blvd.
Hauppauge, NY 11788

This conveniently sized book of 5 1/4 x 7 inches contains a multitude of comments from college students. These comments are intended as advice to graduating high school seniors heading off to college. The book's 261 pages are divided into twelve chapters, each dealing with an aspect of college life: from the last summer you spend at home to what to pack, how to study, how to deal with roommates, and how to schedule courses. The back cover of the book--with references to parties, sex, and drugs--gives a glimpse into what the interior will contain. The enclosed information is proclaimed to be just what an incoming freshman needs to survive and flourish in college.

Throughout the book there are blue highlighted boxes entitled "Get This!" "Did We Mention That," "20/20 Hindsight," and "Believe It!" These include various pointers, true-life stories, and/or humorous anecdotes about college life. The book also includes several Top Ten rankings of colleges in such areas as safety and best housing. Well organized and often humorous, the book moves along smoothly and is a fairly easy read.

There is considerable humor within the pages and quite a few worthy tips and words of wisdom based on experience. In the chapter about the last summer living at home before beginning college, references to parents and how to deal with them abound. One heartfelt piece of advice was to send letters to friends over the summer before saying "Good-bye," because you will write things you would never say in person. Including siblings in activities that you all enjoy and reassuring them that you will return were good suggestions. We were glad to see some serious advice about determining who you really want to be and then deciding to be that person when you attend college. It was disappointing, though, that in their humor the authors included the options of being a party-er, nudist, good girl, or Bible-thumping Christian.

There were helpful tips on how to pack, how to reach out and build new friendships, and how to stay safe and healthy at college. The authors even cover the decision whether or not to join a fraternity or sorority, presenting both sides of the issue. Financial advice was also included. Young adults are inundated with credit card offers, and the authors give advocate budgeting and careful spending.

Despite the good points to be found throughout the book, there were many other comments that were completely inappropriate and inaccurate. Parties, alcohol, and pre-marital sex are portrayed as common experiences for every student. The parental role is ridiculed, and students are even encouraged to lie to their parents. Discussions of homosexuality, sperm donations (as a source of extra income), and masturbation were all completely unnecessary, in our opinion. The constant references to drinking, partying, and "hooking up" with sexual partners make no mention of consequences. And the implication is that every college student is drinking, or should be.

Although Survival Secrets of College Students has some helpful points, you have to read through too much garbage to get to those points. I would not offer this book to any graduating high school senior. It glamorizes a party lifestyle and portrays parents as people who love you but should be dealt with at arms length and with little regard for their advice or experience. The book closes with an Epilogue, and the major point there is that both student and parents will change during the freshman year of college. Mistakes will be made, and you will learn from them. This is very true and good advice, but our opinion is that parents should offer this advice directly to their children without subjecting them to the non-Christian beliefs in this book.

Product review by Donna Campos, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2007