Book by Halonen, Jane S. and John W. Santrock
Review by Sarah J. Malcolm
The College of Arts & Sciences
Academic Advisor
Kent State University

Do we need another book geared toward helping new college students adapt to college life? I say only if that book speaks to college students in a non-condescending manner as it provides relevant and useful skills to a diverse student population. Connections to College Success meets these challenges without missing a beat; it covers topics ranging from study skills and time management to drugs, alcohol, and sexual activity.

A university orientation instructor or academic advisor will find this book a great professional resource. Organized into twelve chapters, this text can be incorporated easily into an existing orientation curriculum or used as the foundation for a new program.  Academic advisors will find that the exercises are easy to understand and easily adaptable for individual or group advising sessions.  

Organized around “Six Strategies for Success,” this book emphasizes much of what instructors and advisors seek to teach students: how to take responsibility, set goals, develop a set of personal values, think and learn, build self-esteem, and explore careers (p. xi).  Authors incorporate the “Six Strategies for Success” throughout the text as they provide opportunities for reflection on the strategies.  The topics covered in each chapter are relevant to today’s student. Easy-to-understand questions help students organize their thoughts and goals around the theme of each chapter instead of just checking for comprehension.  

One of the best features of this book is that it acknowledges diversity; the authors accomplished the difficult task of writing a book for new college students that is relevant to more than just the “traditional” college student. Non-traditional, returning, commuter, as well as traditional college students are featured. Topics, activities, and quality illustrations address the issues of all students.  For example, the chapter entitled “Manage your time,” addresses time management issues applicable to all student types. The authors encourage students with families and/or jobs to factor in how their additional responsibilities may impact their personal time management goals.  They even offer strategies for arranging childcare and developing a support system (p. 19).  

Students will feel at home using Connections to College Success as an orientation textbook. The authors incorporate photos of all kinds of college students including pictures of students with jobs and with their children.  Students and instructors alike will appreciate that the authors recognize that there are many different learning styles. Each chapter includes an explanation of the topic, two or three ways to approach the topic, and a variety of activities that encourage students to apply materials to their own set of goals.

I strongly recommend this book to any advisor or instructor involved with new and first-year students. The attention paid to differing learning styles and diverse student populations reminds us to be cognizant of the issues faced by our students while providing strategies for incorporating these diverse issues into our classrooms and offices.

Connections to College Success. (2007). Book by Halonen, Jane S. and John W. Santrock. Review by Sarah J. Malcolm. Boston: Thompson Learning, 136 pp. $23.95. ISBN # 1-4130-2265-0.
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