Books to Change Your Life
Both students' and parents'
Book One: Get College Smart®
This book guides you in powerful ways “to learn” — to succeed in college and the workplace.
About the Book
- The Book’s Style
Chapters are short… and broken into bite-size sections. Written very conversationally. Dr. Bob talks directly to readers. Lots of Stories. And packed with valuable tactics.
- “Learn About Yourself”
A Questionnaire, Learn About Yourself, kicks off each Strategy. (Check all that apply; Rank these items, etc.). The questions help you define your current thinking or habits. With them in mind, you can compare what you do now to what the Strategy recommends.
- Dr. Bob coaches you on why and how to use the Strategy
You’ll see its advantages. You can start right away. You’ve got all the information you need. You’ll get better and better with practice.
- “Be College Smart®” Info
These highlighted sections mark insights and quick tips throughout the chapter.
- Learn from “Student Stories”
Based on fictional students, these stories show how common student habits create serious consequences.
- Listen to Dr. Bob: A “post-game analysis” of the Student Story
Dr. Bob explains, step by step, how a common behavior backfires. He then explains how using the Strategy avoids the problem.
Your roadmap to success in the 21st Century
- The pace of innovation is accelerating — your brain needs to be a strong, versatile “muscle.” Brain-building is like body-building. Different exercises build different muscles in your body. Different kinds of courses build different kinds of strengths in your brain.
- When you leave school, employers will need efficient learners. Learners are critical to keeping pace as the world and technology accelerate. You’ll need to learn many, many, kinds of new things in a career. Did you know? The job you may hold may not exist yet! If you’re a learner, you’ll be “ready.” You’ll transition smoothly into the workplace. You’ll simply apply your College Smart® Strategies to your new job.
- Heed this warning. Students often complain, “This course is a waste of time. I’m never going to use this.” Ask any adult: Later in life, so-called “useless” information can become unexpectedly valuable.
Just the book for students, parents, principals, teachers, advisers, and counselors.
How the book worksDon’t know how to go about learning? Or how to advance your methods? The College Smart® book gives you:
- A new way to think about learning.
- 12 Strategies for success. (Use them in the workplace, too.)
- Ways to get more done in less time.
- Great results!
College Smart® Practical Tips for Parents
Start Early: How Early? Researchers Say Middle School.
- Be a story-teller. Adults are busy, but don’t be too busy to have conversations with your child. How? Casually tell stories that deliver underlying lessons. Think of them as modern fables. An example: Did you know, great-great grandpa Leo left Canada to move to Minnesota to “find work.” He didn’t even speak English! Tell the story. Do you think it was a hard decision to make? Do you think he was afraid? Why story-telling? It’s indirect — making a point without being heavy-handed. Appropriate human interest stories from “The News” can also model good and bad behavior.
- Again, reserve some time. In Middle school, use what I call “academic bonding:” how to take an interest in your child’s “work” at home. You’re not judging. You’re listening. Create this comfortable habit early. Talk about the work together. Let your student explain “how it’s done” (a math problem)… or why a historical event was so important. You’re letting your student “teach you” for a change.
- Congratulate success. But… DON’T praise the GRADE. ALWAYS PRAISE the WORK that earned the grade. Learning takes effort. Talk about what your student did to learn the material. It’s a tactic he/she might want to repeat or build on in the future. Knowing how to learn is a life skill. It opens doors — long after that high grade has been forgotten.
- When your child starts high school, your student will face enormous changes. In mid-summer before freshman year, you might talk informally about how different high school will be. Talk about how high school “works.” Moving from classroom to classroom – a larger setting – many more students – making new friends – learning from different teachers… with different teaching styles – keeping track of multiple assignments – making daily decisions on study. Perhaps share stories of your own, your spouse, or your friends: both successes and “unhappy endings.” Again, these stories, like fables, subtly “teach” lessons. Don’t preach.
- Researchers say that freshman year in high school is a predictor of freshmen year in college. Consider the many similarities with college. To quote the research: “factors such as effort, behavior, and attitude, for example, are influencing grades. The biggest benefit is that a successful freshman year smoothes the way for future success in high school and after.1Jaschik, Scott, Study finds that ninth grade marks predict college enrollment and success. Inside Higher Education, September 25, 2017. The authors of the report are John Q. Easton, vice president of programs at the Spencer Foundation; Esperanza Johnson, a program associate at Spencer; and Lauren Sartain, senior research associate at the University of Chicago Consortium.
Why? During Middle School, students are beginning to develop habits they carry into high school. If these habits are the College Smart® Strategies, your student will be well-positioned to succeed in both high school — and college.
High school is a Big Change for your student.
By introducing College Smart® tactics before high school, you’ll be giving your student the opportunity to use those 4 years to practice to for college.
Book Three: Start College Smart®
Arriving on campus can almost feel like crossing the border into a foreign country. This book maps out college life.
While the list below may seem long, it really lists only a few examples.
- Adjusting to campus life. How to find friends — and choose good ones. Dealing with romantic relationships. Roommates. Staying safe on campus. Where to go when you need serious help.
- The many ways college differs from high school. This isn’t just “more school.” You’re on your own, making your own decisions that will have consequences: good or bad.
- Far more personal responsibility. Excuses are useless. Saying “That test wasn’t fair — it was too tough.” (The truth? You didn’t study enough.) Or another excuse: “I’m just not good in that subject.” (No, it simply takes more effort for you.) Ask your teacher to recommend a tutor – sometimes an older student who “majors” in the subject. Some campuses have a Tutoring Center. But get help. The course will only become more difficult. Drop the course? Many students would. However, they will most likely delay their graduation and add cost to their degree.
- Out-of-class time — it’s not “free” time. Students who misunderstand this get into big trouble. This time is meant to be used to study/read assignments, not spend hours sitting around in the Union or being trapped in a digital trance.
- Decide on a “major” before it’s too late. Yes, it’s scary. But delaying postpones graduation and increases college costs. The book tells you how to find an area of interest and then narrow it down.
- How learning transfers to life. Here’s what this phrase means. An example: biologists dissect to understand “how things work.” Historians dissect major events to identify causes and mistakes. Someday, you may find yourself dissecting sales figures to find out which models of a product don’t sell well and why.
- How to develop the mindset and personal traits needed to succeed in college — and carry them into the workplace.
Remember the adjustments students had to make in high school? Once again, big changes. Mixing with huge numbers of students with many different backgrounds. ALWAYS going to class — even 8:00 a.m. classes. Even classes that don’t track attendance. Juggling short- and long-range assignments. Making good decisions everyday about study vs. leisure-time.