Synopses & Reviews
Why do some students in the United States make the most of college, while others struggle and look back on years of missed opportunities? What choices can students make, and what can teachers and university leaders do to improve more students' experiences and help them make the most of their time and monetary investment? And how is greater diversity on campus--cultural, racial, and religious--affecting education? How can students and faculty benefit from differences and learn from the inevitable moments of misunderstanding and awkwardness?
Two Harvard University Presidents invited Richard Light and his colleagues to explore these questions, resulting in ten years of interviews with 1,600 Harvard students. Making the Most of College offers concrete advice on choosing classes, talking productively with advisors, improving writing and study skills, maximizing the value of research assignments, and connecting learning inside the classroom with the rest of life.
The stories that students shared with Light and his colleagues about their experiences of inspiration, frustration, and discovery fill the book with spirit. Some of the anecdotes are funny, some are moving, and some are surprising. Many are wise--especially about the ways of getting the best, in classroom and dormitory, from the new racial and ethnic diversity.
Filled with practical advice, illuminated with stories of real students' self-doubts, failures, discoveries, and hopes, Making the Most of College presents strategies for academic success.
Making the Most of College is an excellent book which will be of practical help to students and teachers alike. It shows close attention to the ways students learn; what they tell the interviewers, the author's own experience and that of other teachers together provide a rich account of the college experience. I will buy the book and use it, and be grateful to Richard Light for his sensitivity and creativity as a teacher and teacher of teachers. Martin Trow, University of California, Berkeley
[Making the Most of College] is receiving excellent reviews both inside and outside academe. Already, at least seven colleges have ordered copies by the hundreds and, in one case, thousands. The title was recently No. 12 in Amazon.com's educational books category...Mr. Light's recommendations sound straightforward enough: Encourage collegial work. Urge students to get involved in extracurricular activities. Foster and promote diversity. Get students to form study groups. The list goes on. Scholars and administrators who have read the book say it is the research behind such recommendations, not just the personal touch, that makes Mr. Light's work valuable. Robert A. Frahm - Hartford Courant
Light, a Harvard professor with 30 years of experience teaching at the college level, explores those elements of college life that make it an enriching experience for students...[and] offers specific suggestions from students on how to deal with typical situations...Parents and students either in college or headed there will find this book a valuable resource. Vanessa Bush
The book recounts...in 100-some excerpts from interviews with Harvard College students...revealing vignettes about how undergraduates make the most of their precious hours inside the classroom and beyond. Because the stories convey in students' words how they study, learn, and react to their peers within a residential college, it is memorably unlike anything else parents, students, soon-to-be undergraduates, and educators have read. Booklist
Some useful themes emerge from [Light's] decade spent interviewing more than 1,600 undergraduates: in-class and out-of-class experiences are significantly connected; strategies successful in high school don't always work well at college; good advising is crucial; students must ask for help when they need it; 'students are enthusiastic when classes are structured to maximize personal engagement' and they enjoy interdisciplinary courses. There are some surprises, too: students Light spoke with demand high writing standards and favor unpredictability in their professors' political opinions. A major portion of the book argues that the benefits of diversity on college campuses have been underestimated and that awkward culture clashes can ultimately provide a positive, if at the time uncomfortable, learning experience. John S. Rosenberg - Harvard Magazine
Valuable and practical...An outstanding publication dealing with education and society. Filled with advice and illuminated by real stories of students' self-doubts, failures, discoveries, and hopes, [this] book is a blueprint for academic success...Students' actual responses are woven throughout, creating a revealing text unlike anything else parents, children, matriculating freshmen, and educators have read. This rich account of college life is recommended for all. Publishers Weekly
Based on 10 years of interviews with Harvard students, the book distills their wisdom and quotes them liberally on such matters as choosing classes, studying, diversity on campus, and the importance of writing...What they have to say would apply on most campuses. These are people who talk thoughtfully but approachably about managing their time and making connections with others. Many make it clear that they've confronted their share of self-doubt and missteps...A good read for students, teachers, and parents. Samuel T. Huang - Library Journal
Harvard Professor [Richard Light] reveals secrets from his 10-year study of successful students. [Making the Most of College] offers practical advice to school administrators, parents and, most importantly, to the students themselves. Amelia Newcomb - Christian Science Monitor
Light's conversational, easy-to-read book is a primer for students and families investing in college and hoping to get their money's worth. Some schools, such as the University of Washington, have distributed it to all incoming freshmen. Alisha Davis - Newsweek
What choices can students in America make and what can teachers and university leaders do to improve more students' experiences and help them make the most of their time and monetary investment? Two Harvard University presidents invited Richard Light and his colleagues to explore these and other questions, resulting in ten years of interviews with 1,600 Harvard students. Filled with practical advice, Making the Most of College presents strategies for academic success.
2000 Virginia and
Warren Stone Prize, Harvard University Press
2000 Virginia and Warren Stone Prize, Harvard University Press
About the Author
Richard J. Light is Professor in the Graduate School of Education and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Harvard Graduate School of Education, John F. Kennedy School of Government
Table of Contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Powerful Connections
- 3. Suggestions from Students
- 4. The Most Effective Classes
- 5. Good Mentoring and Advising
- 6. Faculty Who Make a Difference
- 7. Diversity on Campus
- 8. Learning from Differences
- 9. What College Leaders Can Do
- The Assessment Project