One of the common mistakes that prospective college students make is to assume a passive stance toward their college experience: [What can this college do for me?] Adele Scheele's basic message in this lively and informative book is a very different and empowering one: [What can I do that will enrich my college experience and enhance my career development?]
Taking a proactive stance toward one's higher education experience not only opens doors and widens one's range of options; it also changes the individual by developing new knowledge, new skills, and new perspectives. Scheele thus likens the college and graduate school experience to a kind of laboratory, where the student uses all of the available resources—people, programs, and facilities—as tools for learning and creating opportunities.
In putting forward her many creative suggestions for how to take charge of your own higher education experience, Scheele makes an important point that most students are probably only vaguely aware of: our educational system tends to encourage student passivity and conformity through its regimented system of uniform curricular requirements, course assignments, testing, and grading. Classroom teachers are well aware of this problem, whereby many students seem content merely to comply with whatever it is that they think their instructor expects— no more, no less.
Scheele's basic point is that this kind of passivity and compliance on the part of the student represents a wasted opportunity to learn, develop, and prepare for the future beyond college.
Scheele's many specific suggestions can be especially valuable for commuter students and for that substantial majority of college students who attend large public institutions. Thus, while passive or reticent students who attend small private residential colleges may be [noticed] by fellow students or by faculty or staff, who might subsequently encourage them to become more engaged, such students can spend four or five years