Friday, August 11, 2017

College 101: A Girl's Guide to Freshman Year, Revised Edition by Julie Zeilinger, 2017

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College 101: A Girl's Guide to Freshman Year is a comprehensive and authentic guide for girls to everything related to the college process. Unlike other college guides, College 101 is written from the honest, humorous, and relatable first-person perspective of a young woman who recently experienced the process, while also offering the advice of experts and unique experiences of other college-aged women. This guide shows girls what to really expect from the college planning process as well as their first year of college, including pro tips and common pitfalls to avoid. From test-taking tips, to finding the right college for you, to how to make the most of your freshman year, this book answers all young women's questions, including those they didn't even know they had! Presented in a dynamic and varied format, College 101 imparts seriously valuable information and secrets about the process in an extemporaneous and entertaining way.
(207 pages)

I figured that, as a high school graduate getting ready to head off to college next year, I was the perfect person to read and review College 101. I may not be able to judge the quality of her advice against personal experience, but I can describe how this member, at least, of its target audience responds to the book.

Unfortunately, I have to report that I really didn't like it that much. Some of Zeilinger's advice is helpful, especially her comprehensive to-bring checklist and her detailed descriptions of financial tips and advice/resources for anyone who suspects they may have been assaulted. But, and I couldn't find a way to say this that wasn't really awful, Zeilinger is just way too feminist-focused to write a college guidebook.

And for the record, I say that as a feminist.

The thing is, men and women really aren't that different. When I picked up College 101, I barely processed (and definitely care) that it was addressed solely to girls. But it's a really big deal to Zeilinger, and she's constantly talking about how we women "owe it to our grandmothers" to do well in school because they fought for our right to attend it, and how any bad thing that happens to us–ever!–is definitely the result of sexism. I don't know about you, but my first thought when another woman is rude to me is not "oh, it's not her fault, she's just responding to the sexist pressures placed on women that force them to push others down to get ahead." I think "that woman is responsible for her own actions, and she is choosing to be a jerk to me." Also, Zeilinger talks a lot about how terrible and sexist it is that a lot of women feel pressured to do it all–to look good, get good grades, and balance school and a social life. Yeah, sure, it can suck sometimes. But does she think guys don't face those same pressures? Hello?

She also goes into way too much detail about sex, and sexual freedom and sexual experimentation for my taste. I'm all for letting people make their own choices, but my choices do not involve sexual activity and so I really don't enjoy reading so much about it.

Basically, I gained a little bit of new information from College 101 but I didn't agree with a lot of the author's attitudes and outlooks so my enjoyment of the book was marred by that. It could be better for other readers, I don't know, but I for one will keep an eye out for another college guidebook–maybe one that's not addressed just to girls this time.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

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