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How to College

“The section on college writing is stronger than many entire books dedicated to that subject, and would be a vital aid for students entering first-year writing classes."

-Ben Railton, PhD, Fitchburg State University

The transition from high school—and home—to college can be stressful. Students and parents often arrive on campus unprepared for what college is really like. Academic standards and expectations are different from high school; families aren’t present to serve as “scaffolding” for students; and first-years have to do what they call “adulting.” Nothing in the college admissions process prepares students for these new realities.

As a result, first-year college students report higher stress, more mental health issues, and lower completion rates than in the past. In fact, up to one third of first-year college students will not return for their second year—and colleges are reporting an increase in underprepared first-year students.


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How to College is here to help. Professors Andrea Malkin Brenner and Lara Schwartz guide first-year students and their families through the transition process, during the summer after high school graduation and throughout the school year, preparing students to succeed and thrive as they transition and adapt to college. The book draws on the authors’ experience teaching, writing curricula, and designing programs for thousands of first-year college students over decades.

“This book offers the best explanation/guide I’ve seen on what students can expect to encounter academically in college.”

-Matthew J. Kirk, MEd, Associate Director of Tiger Alliance,

Clemson University

Lara signing a copy of How to College with Andrea Malkin Brenner

With co-author Andrea Malkin Brenner at the First Year Experience Conference book signing, February 2019

"The taxonomy of clear distinctions between high school and college academic work is the best framework I have seen for grasping these transitions – which are critical to student adjustment and success in college."

-Todd A. Olson, PhD, Vice President for Student Affairs,

Georgetown University


COVID-19 Orientation and

Summer Bridge Toolkit 

featuring How to College

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