Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tom Joyner Presents: How to Prepare for College

by Thomas and William LaVeist
Foreword by Tom Joyner
Tom Joyner Foundation and Amber Books Publishing
Paperback, $15.00
144 pages, Illustrated
ISBN: 978-0-615-27097-5

Book Review by Kam Williams

“What I like about this book is that it shows you the steps you need to take to get into college and it applies to almost everyone. Whether you’re in elementary school or in the work force considering enrolling in a college or university, this book has something you can use. Everything from raising a college-bound student to life after college is covered.”
-- Tom Joyner in the Foreword (page xi)

When should parents begin thinking about their children’s higher education? Probably practically from birth, given the financial and academic building blocks involved in successfully achieving that goal. This the thinking which inspired Thomas and William LaVeist to write How to Prepare for College, a primer published with nationally-syndicated DJ Tom Joyner’s stamp of approval.
They authors believe that “preparing for college should begin while the child is in the womb.” Thus, it comes as no surprise that their handy how-to book opens with a step-by-step guide delineating which skills a kid is expected to master at each grade level from Head Start through senior year of high school.
Key grade school level advice includes “Read! Read! Read!” and a suggestion that “Parents should dedicate a part of the day or evening when they can read together with their children.“ As for junior high, they point out that “Taking the right courses for college begins in middle school and must be taken very seriously.” And as for high school, they indicate that “Advance Placement (AP) courses improve students’ chances of getting into college because they give students an early start on college level work.”
Among critical questions raised are whether to take the SAT or the ACT standardized test, whether to attend an HBCU (Historically-Black College) or a mainstream university, and whether or not to apply early decision. Then, there are a couple of chapters devoted to paying for college and applying for financial aid. Once admitted, a freshman might do well to heed the tips in the section about studying, time management and extracurricular activities.
In sum, How to Prepare for College is packed with practical advice likely to be of most value to folks unfamiliar with the process. Still, it is even recommended for those with college degrees already, since they might rely on it as a periodic reminder of what tasks need to be addressed on behalf of their children.

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