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College 101: A Girl's Guide to Freshman Year

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College 101: A Girl's Guide to Freshman Year is a comprehensive and authentic guide for girls to everything related to the college process. Unlike other college guides, College 101 is written from the honest, humorous, and relatable first-person perspective of a young woman who recently experienced the process, while also offering the advice of experts and unique experiences of other college-aged women. This guide shows girls what to really expect from the college planning process as well as their first year of college, including pro tips and common pitfalls to avoid. From test-taking tips, to finding the right college for you, to how to make the most of your freshman year, this book answers all young women's questions, including those they didn't even know they had! Presented in a dynamic and varied format, College 101 imparts seriously valuable information and secrets about the process in an extemporaneous and entertaining way.

200 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 2014

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About the author

Julie Zeilinger

3 books22 followers
Originally from Pepper Pike, Ohio, 19-year-old Julie Zeilinger is currently an undergraduate at Barnard College, Columbia University. Julie is the founder and editor of the FBomb (thefbomb.org) a feminist blog and community for teens and young adults who care about their rights and want to be heard.

Julie has been named one of the eight most influential bloggers under the age of 21 by Woman’s Day magazine, one of More Magazine’s “New Feminists You Need To Know,” one of The Times' “40 Bloggers Who Really Count,” and one of the Plain Dealer’s “Most Interesting People of 2011.” She has contributed to the Huffington Post, Feminist.com, Skirt! magazine, and the Cleveland Jewish News, among other publications.

Julie’s new book “A Little F’d Up: Why Feminism is Not a Dirty Word” was released in May 2012 by Seal Press.
Julie is a wary optimist who loves chocolate and hates people who speak two inches away from her face. In her spare time, Julie enjoys discovering new haunts for a superb Sunday brunch.

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5 stars
16 (22%)
4 stars
25 (35%)
3 stars
22 (31%)
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5 (7%)
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2 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews
Profile Image for Jaina Rose.
522 reviews65 followers
September 24, 2017
This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

I figured that, as a high school graduate getting ready to head off to college next year, I was the perfect person to read and review College 101. I may not be able to judge the quality of her advice against personal experience, but I can describe how this member, at least, of its target audience responds to the book.

Unfortunately, I have to report that I really didn't like it that much. Some of Zeilinger's advice is helpful, especially her comprehensive to-bring checklist and her detailed descriptions of financial tips and advice/resources for anyone who suspects they may have been assaulted. But, and I couldn't find a way to say this that wasn't really awful, Zeilinger is just way too feminist-focused to write a college guidebook.

And for the record, I say that as a feminist.

The thing is, men and women really aren't that different. When I picked up College 101, I barely processed (and definitely care) that it was addressed solely to girls. But it's a really big deal to Zeilinger, and she's constantly talking about how we women "owe it to our grandmothers" to do well in school because they fought for our right to attend it, and how any bad thing that happens to us–ever!–is definitely the result of sexism. I don't know about you, but my first thought when another woman is rude to me is not "oh, it's not her fault, she's just responding to the sexist pressures placed on women that force them to push others down to get ahead." I think "that woman is responsible for her own actions, and she is choosing to be a jerk to me." Also, Zeilinger talks a lot about how terrible and sexist it is that a lot of women feel pressured to do it all–to look good, get good grades, and balance school and a social life. Yeah, sure, it can suck sometimes. But does she think guys don't face those same pressures? Hello?

She also goes into way too much detail about sex, and sexual freedom and sexual experimentation for my taste. I'm all for letting people make their own choices, but my choices do not involve sexual activity and so I really don't enjoy reading so much about it.

Basically, I gained a little bit of new information from College 101 but I didn't agree with a lot of the author's attitudes and outlooks so my enjoyment of the book was marred by that. It could be better for other readers, I don't know, but I for one will keep an eye out for another college guidebook–maybe one that's not addressed just to girls this time.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.
Profile Image for 2rengirls1.
69 reviews8 followers
June 21, 2016
Eh, I got to Chapter 6 (I think?) and gave up. It was alright, nothing amazing.
Profile Image for American Mensa.
943 reviews45 followers
December 7, 2018
As a seventeen-year-old girl quickly approaching college, I am constantly looking for any sort of honest information on college. College 101: A Girl’s Guide to Freshman Year by Julie Zellinger provided me just that. This book was a refreshing source of information that was very revealing of the (sometimes harsh) realities of the infamous freshman year of college. This book is a great quick read that provides insightful tips and anecdotes on what freshman year is like and how to survive it.
The book is organized into seven different sections, each focusing on a different aspect that is important to the college experience. Zellinger covers moving in, academics, health (for the mind, body and soul), debt, social life, and what college is really like and how to cope with it. While doing this, the author focuses on how these situations affect women in a modern society.
Overall, the most valuable part of this guide for me was the sections that covered social life and academics. In these two sections, Zellinger highlights the importance of balance and making informed decisions, as well as how to be reasonable with your expectations for yourself. Additionally, Zellinger provides great advise on how to handle the transition between high school and college. After reading this novel, I would highly recommended it for high school age girls and their parents.
Grace P., Age 17, Mensa 76
Profile Image for Vava.
165 reviews
May 5, 2017
I was pleased to know that I will be receiving the revised edition of College 101 as I have a soon-to-be college bound kid. So when my copy finally arrived, I devoured it in one sitting.

The book is written by Julie Zeilinger who graduated from Barnard College in 2015. Hence, she offers fresh, straight-forward and helpful advice for incoming college freshmen. Among the tips she shared that I found useful are:

*tips on what to pack
*the different types of roommates
*study skills
*taking care of your whole self (mind, body, heart)
*advice on obtaining loans and scholarships
*common misconceptions about college life

This book isn't a comprehensive coverage, rather, it gives readers no-nonsense, bite-sized advice on how to navigate college life. I will happily give this book to my daughter so she too can read it. I'll just make sure to read chapter 4 (Mind, Body and Spirit) with her, as sensitive topics such as sexual health and abusive relationships are discussed.

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. Thank you to Prufrock Press for my copy.
Profile Image for Eden.
366 reviews6 followers
July 3, 2017
I highly recommend that any young woman who plans to attend college reads this book; especially helpful for those going into junior or senior year of high school or freshman year of college. There is good (and somewhat unfiltered - not cookie cutter like most other college guidebooks) advice throughout the book, but the most important, relevant, and applicable to all young women is chapter 4: Mind, Body, and Spirit - How to keep (all parts of) yourself alive and well, as it covers food and nutrition, eating disorders, social pressures, depression, sexual health, abusive relationships, bystander intervention, and sexual assault and rape.
Profile Image for Abigail.
150 reviews
April 22, 2021
It took me about two weeks to read but that is only because I was really busy. As a junior in high school, college is on the mind. And this book really helped to grab some of my fears and help me work through them. It gave me different ideas for experiences, possibilities, and feelings. It made me so much more excited for college and for the freedoms that come with it. I certainly feel more prepared and more at peace with leaving for college now.
Fair warning: the book does swear and it does have an open conversation about sex. These aren’t things that bother me (in fact, I appreciated the honesty), but I know some people don’t enjoy those elements.
Profile Image for clara.
53 reviews
August 9, 2019
Surprisingly empowering and feminist?? I'd def recommend if you have a plane flight and nothing else to read and will be starting college soon.
Profile Image for Liz.
342 reviews20 followers
May 21, 2017
So since this is the summer before I enter college, I’ve been looking for books about college- either to inspire or inform me. This one was a little inspiring and definitely informative.

I feel like the title and cover of this book makes it seem like something an up-tight aunt will give to her niece for graduation, thinking it will stress studying and sororities. And while Zeilinger definitely talks about both those topics, she is also incredibly frank and forward about all aspects of college. She doesn’t shy away from talking about masturbation, sexual health, depression, and none of the things your aunt or any of the people who try to give you college advice would mention.

Some of the advice is repetitive, most girls who are picking up this book on their own to prepare for college already know the basics of contraception and drinking and how to study. The good stuff in this book though is when Zeilinger gets in to the myth of college being the best years of your life. She talks about how hard it is to make friends, how cliques do still exist in college, and the rape crisis on college campus. Zeilinger’s frank and helpful advice is what sets the book apart from other college guides. She acknowledges that college will probably be difficult at first, that you will probably have a hard time adjusting. And not just the adjusting that all adults seem to describe as “Oh, you’ll miss home the first few days, but after that you’ll be too busy to care.” Zeilinger is incredibly aware of how college actually feels, probably because she wrote the book while still in college.

Zeilinger is also a great example of a feminist role-model. Her book is empowering and she doesn’t bash any kind of girl. I think both a girl who is planning to join a sorority and join millions of extra-curriculars and a girl who is terrified of even speaking up in class could get a lot out of this book. There are a few parts where you’ll probably roll your eyes and say “I know this stuff”, but if you can make it though those parts, you’ll really learn a lot from the rest.
Profile Image for Jessica.
1,071 reviews215 followers
August 6, 2016
This guide is important. And I mean important.

I won this novel in a giveaway and originally entered it so my cousin would have this on hand when she starts university in the fall. Which she will -- but, until then, I decided to give it a read for myself first. And in doing so, I have to admit, this how-to-guide is worth checking out even if you're already attending university.

It's the perfect gift for a younger sibling or relative.

College 101 is not your average guide -- and that's what makes it perfect for its target audience. Julie Zeilinger is honest and her no-bull-shit tone of things is what will serve as the perfect platform for those who read and get the feel of things to come as they enter this next chapter of their life.

There are many things readers will already know within the pages, but I still think it is a very important read. Zeilinger is an important voice for women -- and I, for one, see great things from her in the future. So many great things, so keep an eye out for her and buy this handy guide for somebody or yourself.

While you're at it -- check her out on her website.

Honestly, she is amazing and that is all that can be said at the end of the day.
23 reviews
April 23, 2014
This book was purchased for me as a gift by a family member who I thought I was "in for a rude awakening" come the fall when I will be going to college. Before reading College 101, I didn't even realize how many different facets to the college experience (freshman year in particular) I was unaware of. It's safe to say this book has definitely taught me everything I need to know in terms of how to cope with various situations as well as ways to ensure I am making the most of my time in college. The honest, "real-talk" feel of this book makes the advice given much more trustworthy because it sounds as if it is coming from a friend, not a disembodied author who went to college in an entirely different era. The interspersed feminist comments and occasional rants give this book an incredibly empowering effect, one that will help any girl feel more confident when going off to college. I would definitely recommend College 101 to any girl about to enter her freshman year, a recent college applicant, or even someone who is trying to decide whether or not they want to attend college. I hope you find it as enjoyable of a read as I did!
Profile Image for Suzy.
29 reviews
July 14, 2014
To start off with, this has a very strong feminist perspective throughout. A lot of the information is common sense, or had been taught throughout my years in school (which I understand, may not have been the case for all). A lot of the information was repetitive, but it is well researched, providing statistics, helpful links and tips in an easy to read manner. I love that the author placed an emphasis on breaking down the ideal "perfect" college experience, and instead encourages one to reach out and just try one's own best.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
144 reviews6 followers
June 17, 2014
I entered this giveaway as a gift to a cousin going away to college and of course I just had to read it first to make sure it was a great gift idea, definitively a great idea. This book not only goes into the fun and exciting parts everyone talks about when going away to school but it also goes through the negative experiences. It gives advice and cold, hard facts. I would recommend this to all those about to commence their college life.
Profile Image for Ariel.
93 reviews
April 14, 2016
This book was really helpful. I am going off to college in a few weeks and this was the first college prep guide that i have read which was written by someone who had recently gone through school, and whose writing was specifically aimed at girls. i liked Julie's voice while reading. It didn't feel like a boring college book that you feel obligated to read because your mom told you to, I actually wanted to read what she had to say.
Profile Image for Len.
235 reviews28 followers
April 20, 2014
I entered this giveaway hoping that this would be appropriate as a gift for a young friend. It looks really worthwhile,, so I'll be giving it away soon!
Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews

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