• John G. Stackhouse, Jr.

Read These Books to Succeed at College/University This Year

I’ve been teaching study skills seminars in one form or another for many a year. I took a study skills course myself when I was a master’s degree student because I felt that my skills weren’t up to the increased challenges at that level of ediucation (and they weren’t). I’ve since read dozens of books and articles on study skills of various sorts and I enjoy passing on what I’ve garnered from them through these seminars, through individual counseling, and now through this blog.

I have two fabulous nieces and one fabulous son starting undergraduate work this fall, so here are my initial recommendations to them.


And then here’s one more, the smallest of the four, and one I wish I’d read much earlier than I did:

(Seminary and graduate students–or, as our British friends say, postgraduate students–can benefit from most or all of these books as well. And sometimes, as in my case, one has to be at this level of schooling to appreciate fully that one’s skills aren’t up to snuff.)

I recommend students buy all four books, so they can mark them up and have them at hand for reference as the months go by. But I also recommend that they read them selectively, using the table of contents as their guide and reading only the chapters that seem important to them at a particular time. (I tell them not to feel that they have to read them all through! That’s one of the most basic lessons of true research: Read only what you need to read in order to get done what you want to get done. No one will give you a prize for reading whole books, so read whole books only when you want to or have to.)

What books do you like to recommend to freshmen–and to others facing the challenge of postsecondary education–and why?

UPDATE: My next Study Skills Seminar will be offered on Friday, November 11, at Regent College: 1:00-4:30 p.m. More information will come as the event nears. But because I’m on sabbatical leave this academic year, I can’t guarantee there will be another offering in Winter Term. This might be it until Fall 2012.

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