Book By: Holkeboer, Robert and Walker, Laurie
Review By: Jessica L. Stone
Academic Advisor, ACCESS Center
Southern Oregon University, Ashland


Holkeboer and Walker provide much needed insight into the sometimes confusing and overwhelming world of college. Traditional college freshmen, first-generation students, and non-traditional students will all benefit from the collective knowledge gathered in this workbook. The helpful tips, exercises, strategies, and assignments can help all these student groups navigate through the feelings and experiences that can occur during this transitional time.

Each chapter in this well-written book stands alone. Advisors will find that these chapters address the typical topics covered in advising sessions. Topics range from student responsibility to college resources to study skills -- topics all new students should explore during their first terms. Authors address these topics in an approachable and understandable way as they encourage students to acclimate and make better choices. 

A highlight of this workbook is a great overview of the libehttp://www.wadsworth.com/ral arts and their relation to general education. The authors relate the basic skills expected of college graduates from an employer’s perspective to the skills taught within courses in their educational programs. In one chapter, authors address advising and make the point that not only must students keep their own records, but institutions must provide students with a comprehensive list of student rights and responsibilities within advising.

Each chapter provides students with time to reflect on their behaviors, create opportunities for new experiences, and establish goals within a comprehensive plan for academic success. Activities appeal to a variety of learning styles; some are designed to stimulate in-depth student discussions while others promote individual student reflection through the use of web searches, journaling points, and goal setting. Practical ideas are presented to assist with topics such as money management, roommate disagreements, and decision-making.     

Advisors will find this book useful as a reference for study skills workshops, orientations, or individual advising sessions. While the text is most applicable to first-year students, advisors also will find it helpful with those academically at-risk, non-traditional students, or in peer advisor training.

One disappointment is that, while this workbook is a good introductory book for new students, it provides few citations for advisors seeking more information regarding the ideas presented. Since this is the 4th edition, this text has been revised for today’s students and issues and the work is of good quality.  Overall I enjoyed this book and am considering using it as a text for my peer advising class.                  


Right from the Start: Taking Charge of Your College Success, 4th Ed. (2004). Book by Holkeboer, Robert and Walker, Laurie.  Review by Jessica L. Stone. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Co. 306 pp. Price $55.95. ISBN 0-534-59967-2.

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