Thursday, May 13, 2010

9. My College Tips

Parker, James. My College Tips. ISBN: 0-9705214-5-6. Walden House. First Edition, 2000.

Critical Evaluation
James Parker has a successful career in the computer science industry, but that wasn't always the case. It was a long road for Parker to get to where he is today, and along the way he learned a thing or two about being a successful college student. Parker took the long road through college, taking eight years to finish his undergraduate degree. He has taken this experience and channeled it into a no nonsense guide for potential college students. Parker doesn't pat teens on the back in this book and tell them that everything is going to be all right, he presents the harsh realities of bad decisions, but also provides encouragement by reinforcing the idea to keep trying.

Parker encourages students to balance career choices with potential salaries, and to find a balance between money and happiness. Parker gives the kind of advice that college counselors and school officials wont give. Several sections in My College Tips give students hard advice, like deferring tuition payments, not taking your advisor's advice, and petitioning your grade if you think you deserve a higher mark. Parker also offers creative advice on ways to make money during college by starting your own business. He encourages students to babysit, start a lawn service, sell art, and build websites. Another interesting aspect of this book is that Parker gives advice on how to find that special someone. He gives dating advice for both men and women, and even offers advice on how to lose that 15 pounds before spring break. The book is graphically dull, incorporating tacky clip art and minimal design elements, which is a shame, because the humor presented in Parker's writing could have been highlighted with proper illustrations and graphics. Overall, this book will give students the hard facts that other college advice books lack, but at the cost of looking boring and unattractive.

Reader's Annotation

College can be a tough road if you don't know what you're doing. For students nervous about making the wrong college decisions, author and long time student James Parker, is here to make life a little easier with his advice book My College Tips.

Author Information
James Parker is what you might call a professional student. In his undergrad career he attended five different colleges, changed his major several times, and finally graduated after 8 years of continuous education. After receiving his B.S. in computer science from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, Parker went on to pursue his masters degree in the same field.

Parker has always considered himself to have a creative business mind, and in pursuing his computer science degrees he also minored in entrepreneurship. His entrepreneur spirit is what led him to pursue publishing his college advice book My College Tips. Parker currently works as a project manager for technology company The Tennessee Base Authority


nonfiction, college prep

Curriculum Ties
college prep

Book Talking Ideas

What mistakes did the author of this book make that you hope to avoid?

Reading Level

Grades 7+

Challenge Issues

Reason For Selection

I wanted to include a couple of books on college advice for teens in my blog because not only are they relevant for teens, but also for myself as a college student. I liked the idea of Parker's My College Tips because it is written from the perspective of an unsuccessful student who made all the wrong decisions. Parker attended 5 different colleges before he graduating with his undergraduate degree. A veteran student like Parker is a great resource for teenage readers.

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