Book by Stephen V. Piscitelli
Review by Sybil L. Holloway
Center for Counseling and Human Development
Bloomsburg University

I was initially drawn to this book by its title and emphasis on choices because this is the empowering framework I use with my students.  Next, I was attracted by the vast amount of material covered with an ongoing theme of personal wellness.  Choices for College Success is a thorough user-friendly workbook full of practical and engaging exercises that accompany chapters packed with expert information and suggestions.  Although an online supplement – MyStudentSuccessLab – is available, I did not have access to that portion so this review will focus only on the printed material in the book.

Piscitelli addresses a variety of success factors in this book.  He goes beyond just the academic realm and branches out into the personal realm.  “The Six Dimensional Wellness Model” incorporated throughout the chapters comes from the National Wellness Institute and includes Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, Social, Occupational, and Spiritual dimensions of a person’s life.  Choices for College Success shows how to organize, prioritize, and set and achieve goals by making meaningful choices so that one can have balance among these various dimensions.

This book, an updated and expanded version of Piscitelli’s Rhythms of College Success: A Journey of Discovery, Change, and Mastery, may be used in a classroom setting or at home.  It is nicely structured for active engagement by the student reader, and includes a pre-assessment, content section with “Choices” activities, and a post-assessment for each chapter.  Student voices are heard throughout the book as “Student Spotlight” stories and, at the end, the reader is asked to create his or her own “Student Spotlight” story.  Instructor resources are provided.

Specific content covered includes Transitions, Balance, and Organization; Organizing Time, Space, and Money; Motivation and Goal Setting; Critical Thinking and Learning Preferences; Class-Time Listening and Note-Taking Skills; Out-of-Class Strategies for Notes Review and Textbook Reading; Test Preparation and Memory Skills; Test Performance; Information Literacy; The Many Faces of Civility; Treating Yourself with Respect; Financial Literacy; and Exploration of Majors and Careers.  These chapter titles reflect the breadth of material and a holistic approach to wellness.

There are many strengths of this book – its friendly tone and helpful and thorough content as well as its many real-world examples (including that of the author who made a successful college major change), relevant quotations, and interactive practical exercises.  There is also a useful Glossary at the end.

Choices for College Success was a joy to read and I highly recommend it to others in an advising role and to college students, especially those in their first year.  This book contains lots of sound advice and practical strategies that will put students on a good path to success – if they make appropriate choices in the many aspects of their lives.


Hettler, B. (2009).  “The Six Dimensional Wellness Model”.  National Wellness Institute. www.nationalwellness.org/index.php?id_tier=2&id_c=25 (accessed July 8, 2009).

Piscitelli, S.  (2008). Rhythms of College Success:  A Journey of Discovery, Change, and Mastery.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Choices for College Success (Second Edition) (2011). Book by Stephen V. Piscitelli.  Review by Sybil Holloway. Boston:  Pearson Education, Inc.  330 pp. $50.40. ISBN # 978-0-13-700751-6
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