Book Review: THE HER CAMPUS GUIDE TO COLLEGE LIFE

Her Campus College Guide coverAuthors: Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, Annie Chandler Wang, and Windsor Hanger Western

Number of Pages: 304

Publisher: Adams Media

Release Date: April 4, 2015

“From dating to internships–everything you need to know about college.

Get ready for the best years of your life! Written by the experts behind Her Campus, this college guide is bursting with insider tips to help you navigate classes, relationships, and all your extracurriculars–including parties and Greek life…”

–  read more of this excerpt on its Goodreads page!

*** I received this review copy from Her Campus in exchange for an honest review.***

I was ecstatic when I first learned that Her Campus was publishing a book about college because I’ll be graduating high school this June. I’ve never read a guide to college like this before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Her Campus Guide to College Life is a great book, although I have a few critiques that I would like to mention.

For me, the tagline and synopsis were sort of misleading. I initially got the sense that this book would mostly focus on relationships, dorm life, etc. While those topics are discussed eventually, the first one hundred pages or so of this book concentrate on safety and health. These are very important topics, however they felt out-of-place in a book with such an upbeat, cheerful cover and synopsis. (Yes, I know to seek help right away if there’s an emergency- now bring on the dorm advice!) The first half of this book read more like a general safety and wellness handbook than like a guide to college life, in my opinion. Safety is extremely important, but that’s not why I decided to read this book.

Another critique I have is that it seems to assume that the reader is a female with a certain sexuality: heterosexual. Nowhere within its pages does it discuss how to deal with sexuality or what it’s like being part of the LGBTQ+ community on a college campus. All of the dating and relationship advice it gives is blatantly and directly aimed at heterosexual relationships. As a straight female this wasn’t an immediate issue for me, but it is still a bit worrying. Much of this book would have been redundant and irrelevant for a collegiate of a different sexuality. Perhaps that isn’t the demographic they’re trying to reach, which is fine because Her Campus is ultimately a business and they can address the audience on which they choose to focus. However, it would have been nice to see this book mention diversity on college campuses, not only in areas such as sexuality but also in race, nationality, etc.

For all of my critiques of this guide, I really did enjoy reading it. Fortunately, the second half of this guide was much better than the first half! It went into thorough details of how to deal with various roommate issues, balance a social life with academics, foster healthy relationships (romantic or otherwise), get jobs and internships, and more. The advice was sound and it goes into very specific details regarding how to deal with numerous cringe-worthy situations that any collegiate may encounter. This was what I originally had in mind when I first started reading this book and I was glad to see that it at least covered these topics.

One of the more surprising chapters was the one about how to use social media appropriately and effectively. It gives the usual advice of not posting anything inappropriate that you don’t want potential employers to see, but is also discusses how to use social media to your advantage when trying to get a job or internship. Social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn can be used to connect with these employers and show them your desirable qualities relevant to the workplace. I really liked how it emphasizes LinkedIn, because I think it is a valuable social that not enough people take advantage of.

Overall, this book is a great source of general advice for girls about to enter college. I don’t think it would be very helpful to someone who is already in college, but perhaps there are some pieces of information that even a seasoned collegiate would find valuable. It is written in a colloquial yet professional way and had a fun, upbeat tone even when discussing the rather not-so-fun topics. Although I was disappointed with the first half of this book, the second half improved immensely and made it a definite worthwhile read. I feel like it has prepared me to take on any problems that may arise as I embark on my college experience!

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) 3 out of 5 smileys

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes! I would recommend this book to any girl going off to college for the first time. It certainly helps to allay some of those nervous butterflies!

If you’d like to purchase The Her Campus Guide to College Life, you can do so on the Her Campus website. 

What advice do you have for incoming college freshman? Have any good recommendations of college guide books like this one? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: THE HER CAMPUS GUIDE TO COLLEGE LIFE

  1. Great review, just wanted to wish you the very best of luck with college 🙂 My main tip would be not to worry if it takes you a while to settle in. It took me a long time, as I went in knowing nobody, but I got there! 🙂

    Like

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