Book by: Lana W. Jackman, Ph.D. & Philip S. Jackman
Review by: Kyle Bures
Teaching & Learning Center Coordinator
Neosho County Community College


A brand new student steps foot onto a college campus. Four years later, that same student journeys across the stage at graduation to collect their diploma. Although ideal, and a reality for some, the unfortunate truth is that many college students, especially those identified as first-generation, encounter a number of obstacles along the way which may result in attrition or delayed graduation. Fortunately, many of these same obstacles could easily be avoided with a little help from friends.

The College Success Diet is designed as a how-to guide for students in navigating their college experience through the utilization of a team-based approach, accomplished throughout the book by highlighting key offices on campus that students will benefit from establishing a relationship with. The authors also use a unique metaphor, diet and fitness, to parallel college success, with the goal of the book to reduce weight (anxiety) and develop a fit approach to success.

Although the e-book has obvious utility for seminar and orientation courses, it serves as a helpful handbook for advisors as well. It reminds advisors how important their role is in assisting students from admission to graduation, and that they are part of a larger team of professionals available. It serves as an important reminder that although higher educational professionals may be keenly aware of the benefit of students interacting with various offices on campus, students themselves may be largely unaware until a conversation is initiated. 

With regard to advising issues specifically, the authors address key ways in which FERPA and ADA regulations at the collegiate level are commonly misunderstood, and how they differ from the student experience in K-12. The authors also maintain a firm tone with regard to student accountability in the advising process, being especially transparent in relaying the importance of students understanding the variable caseloads some advisors may hold.

New advising professionals can especially benefit from the resource by challenging themselves to identify and familiarize themselves with the departments discussed in the book that are available on their campus. For those departments not present on their campus, advisors can challenge themselves further to seek out support resources available within the surrounding community to have on hand for referral purposes. The e-book also has practical application for advisors who use a group-advising approach, as a reference for a workshop presentation, or as assigned reading for an advising caseload.

As an e-book, the authors provide added utility for students and advisors alike by frequently linking to outside resources for additional information, guaranteeing the authenticity of the information and reducing the potential for locating inaccurate resources. However, this feature may be rendered useless should the link location be altered in any way. The College Success Diet also takes on an informational and conversational tone that, at times, was perceived as perhaps too informal and juvenile in its approach, which may turn away some readers. Regardless, the authors’ empathy and ultimate goal of providing an informational resource carries through.

The College Success Diet: The Insider’s Guide to Educational and Career Success. (2015). Book by Lana W. Jackman, Ph.D. & Philip S. Jackman. Review by Kyle Bures. Cambridge, MA: Melange Information Services, Inc. 95 pp., $8.99 (e-Book) 

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