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Thinking Student's Guide to College

New book aims to help undergrads “suck the juice” out of their academic life

January 14, 2011
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Most undergraduates don’t understand what makes a university tick and, thus, don’t make the most of their precious college years, according to a book by a Northwestern professor who decided to to share critical insights to counter that reality.

The book by Andrew Roberts, associate professor of political science at Northwestern University, is titled “The Thinking Student’s Guide to College: 75 Tips for Getting a Better College Education.”  

Roberts’ students, who, after four years of higher learning, realized they should have done something different, inspired him to write the book. “Some students managed to suck the juice out of their college, while others were left with the rind. The aim of this book is to show you how to find the juice.”

Understanding what motivates professors and the role that research plays in lives of faculty and their respective institutions, for example, is key to not getting lost in the system, Roberts argues. This inside look offers concrete tips on choosing a college, selecting classes, deciding on a major, interacting with faculty, finding the most valuable resources an institution has to offer and applying to graduate school.

With tips such as “Take as Many Small Seminars and as Few Large Lectures as Possible” and “Visit All Your Professors during Office Hours at Least Once,” the book offers insights on how to get personalized attention from professors, make lasting academic connections and leave college with new ways of viewing the world.

“If all you want out of college is a diploma and a good time, this book isn’t for you,” Roberts said. “This is for students who want to leave college a different and better person.”

Topics: People