College Survival

college dorm

Reading my way through the education section of the Fulton County Public Library, I have shared books about many aspects of education. To this point all blog entries have been about mandatory educational requirements. For students going off to college after high school life is about to take a drastic change. These students are walking into unknown territory which can be exciting, thrilling, terrifying, and awkward all at the same time.

There are so many good books on this aspect of education that I couldn’t decide which few to review! Therefore, I’m going to share a couple of groups of books that I found helpful.

Just as incoming college freshman have done all of their lives, they must get prepared for “back to school.” Unlike they’ve done all of their lives, this time “back to school” not only means new clothes, shoes, and school supplies, it also means dorm or apartment supplies. This can be overwhelming for some students. Fortunately, those who have gone before them are full of advice. Some even write books like:

The Everything College Survival Book    Ready for College

The Everything College Checklist Book

These books all contain the types of information you might expect in a college preparedness book: how to study, how to manage time, how to strive for balance with a study schedule and a social life, finding friends, getting involved in campus life, etc. All of the above books have great information of this type and all would be helpful if you happen to be entering college for the first time.

Let’s face it though, there can be college situations that are well awkward to deal with. A student may be living with a total stranger or strangers who may be very different from anyone he or she has ever known. There are books to help both parents and students through this new environment. A parent wants to make sure their college student is as safe as possible while away at college and may have questions that could be awkward and embarrassing for the student. A college student may encounter very awkward situations in the dorm, with roommates in an apartment, or on campus. The following two books are recommended for such happenings:

Sex, Drugs and Flunking Out

The Naked Roommate

Both of these books will answer questions that you may not feel comfortable asking and/or help a student and parent to navigate sticky situations when one must speak up. They can at times be both funny and serious.

There can be a dark underside of college as evidenced by this book:

The Shadow Scholar

This is an interesting and eye opening book. While the majority of college students do their own work, we need to be asking some serious questions about our colleges and universities. The book is entertaining and funny, but brings up many valid points as well.

If you went to college, did you have some awkward moments? Did you have any surprising roommates?



College Entry / Graduate Tests


In the United States certain tests and test scores are required for college admission. The most popular of these tests seem to be the Scholastic Aptitude Test (better known as the SAT) and the American College Testing (better known as the ACT). Interesting facts about both tests can be learned by following the above links to Wikipedia and reading about them. Students must pay to take these all important tests and the most common test takers are Juniors and Seniors in high school. As you might expect there can be tremendous pressure on students to perform well on these tests. Obviously the higher a student scores on the test(s) the better chance of getting into the college or university of his/her choice.

Because of the importance of these tests, it is becoming even more important for students to prepare for them. Obviously by paying attention in their high school courses and maintaining a high GPA, this increases the likelihood of doing well on the tests. However, if a student wants to get higher scores on the tests, he/she must find other ways to study for them. This is where Fulton County Public Library can help. The library has all sorts of study resources. Some of the ones I checked out to peruse are:

Barron's SAT

Inside the SAT

There are many more of these types of books. Some have actual practice tests that you would use a pencil and a piece of paper to practice with. Some have have CD Roms that are tutorial or that allow you to take the “online” version of the test for practice. You can even find kits to help you study. I found this one:

Picture These SAT WORDS in a Flash

This particular kit has 200 vocabulary flash cards. The kit makes a humorous pun using a vocabulary word and illustrates it with a funny picture. Here is an example:


The flip side of the card has the definition of the vocabulary word and three examples of its use in a sentence.

There are resources for students with Learning Disabilities:

SAT Strategies for Students with Learning Disabilities

There are very similar resources for the ACT as well. Below is just one example:

Cracking the ACT

As you can see (and possibly as you may have noted previously), this study resource is an older 2016 edition. Many libraries are beginning to move away from this sort of dated material due to many resources going digital, but Fulton County Public Library does order some things like this upon patron request. Even dated study guides can still help you to study. You would see similar types of questions if you try to stay within a couple years of the current year.

The library closest to you may have quiet zones or even rooms available for students to come and study, do the practice test, or in some cases allow students to come and take the actual test with a proctor provided by the library (all services offered by Fulton County Public Library). This is particularly an increasing event with graduate students. Thanks to technology some students are able to take their tests almost anywhere on computer (which the library can also provide if needed),  monitored by camera and an onsite proctor who views the test taker remotely. Libraries and technology are definitely merging.

Getting through college entrance exams is a huge accomplishment, but what comes next? Some students have an idea of what they would like to study in college, but many do not. For those students who don’t yet know what they want to be when they grow up, there are books like:

Book of Majors

Again, these may be somewhat dated sitting on library shelves, but similar (and more up to date) online resources are available. The ideas remain basically the same. There may be majors of interest the student hasn’t considered and what major a student wants to pursue may influence the college choice. Obviously a student has to go where the course of study is offered.

Having made it this far, a student has passed college entry exams and chosen a major (hopefully). Now it’s time to think about if a student wants to try to “Clep out” of a particular class. There are, of course, books to help students study for these tests as well. CLEP stands for College Level Examination Program.

CLEP Study Guide

There are usually requirement classes in college. For instance, most colleges require some basic math or English courses. If a student is strong in a particular area, he or she may opt to take the CLEP exam. If passed, the student gets credit for the class without having to actually take it. This can save both time and money if the student successfully CLEPs out of classes.

After a student has jumped through all of the hoops and tests and has actually finished college, he or she will then decide whether or not to pursue graduate school. If the answer to that question is yes then, of course, there will be more studying and another test. Study materials can still be found at the library to help study for the Graduate Record Exam (better known as the GRE). A few examples of these types of books are below:

6 GRE Practice Tests


After completing the GRE, students will decide whether or not to pursue a Doctorate program. Testing, working on a thesis, and the actual coursework is generally quite unique to the area of study. However, the library can still help by providing a place to study, ordering specialized books or acquiring them through the consortium.

Learning is a lifelong process and we never stop learning. The next time that you need or want to study a particular topic/subject, the library will be there to help accommodate your needs, even if they are unique.

Did you have to take any of the tests mentioned? Did you know the library had these study resources? Have you used these types of resources from your library?