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Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds
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Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds

3.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  137 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Why do some students make the most of college, while others struggle and look back on years of missed deadlines and missed opportunities? What choices can students make, and what can teachers and university leaders do, to improve more students experiences and help them achieve the most from their time and money? Most important, how is the increasing diversity on campus cul ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 30th 2004 by Harvard University Press (first published 2001)
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William Lawrence
Dec 15, 2010 William Lawrence rated it it was ok
While there is some great general advice for college students in this book, (like time management, organization of work, selection of courses, and study habits), I think this book is more for the student of education and teaching rather than the general college student. College teachers may benefit from this book; there are a few new little tricks revealed. I particularly liked the chapter on writing where Light shares statistics from the Harvard study e.g. 83% of the undergrad students wrote 60 ...more
Apr 22, 2014 Jeanne rated it it was amazing
This is both an easy and a thoughtful read. Most of the interviews are with Harvard students, so some recommendations are inappropriate, but many are spot on and things to consider implementing. His conclusions are farther ranging than this--including advising, mentoring, ethnic and religious diversity, class structure and process--but end with faculty and administration "should make a thoughtful, evidence-based, purposeful effort to get in each student's way. In fact, shaping a certain kind of ...more
Marie desJardins
This book includes interviews and survey data gathered from undergraduates at Harvard (and perhaps other universities as well; the book mostly seems to be about Harvard students, but at one point, the author mentions that he visited 90 other schools in the course of doing his research). It talks about the undergraduate experience from a variety of perspectives -- academics, mentors/advising, diversity, etc. There aren't any grand or deep lessons to be learned, but it's an interesting view inside ...more
Sep 26, 2008 Carla rated it it was amazing
This is a highly readable book about some very interesting research conducted by a Harvard professor. Richard Light interviewed scads of Harvard undergraduates to suss out what made a difference in their college experience. His results, though applicable at other college (and even my independent school world), have prompted significant changes in programs, advising/mentoring and teaching at Harvard. A lot of the findings are what you would expect but there are several surprises. This book should ...more
Oct 29, 2014 Mckinley rated it really liked it
Blend of practical, theoretical and experiential. While student would gain from this, it is well suited to professors and teaching faculty.

See also What the Best College Students Do by K Bain. And You're on Your Own (But I'm Here If You Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years by M. Savage.
Apr 02, 2014 Jared rated it liked it
Lots of good advice.
Aug 26, 2013 Zoe rated it it was amazing
Even though I was already a college student, I still decided to read this. It does offer some insightful tips & tricks, & I agree with others (that Harvard is not the same as other colleges, especially public colleges). I feel like I will use some of the techniques mentioned when I go back to school. I think advisors/counselors would find this book helpful in freshman seminars/orientations.
Jenna Cooper
Apr 05, 2013 Jenna Cooper rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I would definitely recommend this to someone going into college, at least for the first half (it gets a little redundant in the diversity chapters). However, this was a three-star for me personally, because:
a)I'm not a college freshman/entering college.
b) Everything he said I've already learned at work, so it was nothing new.
Aug 08, 2014 Jocelyn rated it liked it
Shelves: pedagogy
How to get your $225,628* worth? Students have a few suggestions. Take courses with professors who teach you how to think. Choose a good advisor. Create. Use extra-curricular activities to develop your values and find your passion. Get to know students from all different kinds of backgrounds.

*The author teaches at Harvard.
Jun 04, 2015 Sam rated it liked it
There are many parts of this book that lost me a little. A lot of parts are kind of repeated, but I enjoyed reading this book. It interviews lots of Harvard students showing how they succeed in college. It gives you many tips on how to approach college, with most of the book being on diversity.
Jul 21, 2009 Joanie rated it liked it
"College" should be replaced by "residential school" in the title. Very applicable to a secondary boarding school setting. Made me think about teachable moments in and out of the classroom.
Oct 01, 2015 Eleana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, sept_15
pretty good. i won't pretend to know anything about harvard courses but it would have been an even cooler book if there was more data on the arts but okay
Mar 26, 2010 Andy rated it it was ok prepared for A LOT of text that reads like a novel. It would be a good book for you if you're into that sort of thing!
Apr 04, 2008 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yes
Great book on college and what they can do to make college a conducive learning experience
Mills College Library
378.19809 L7237 2004
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