Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds

By Gray, Mary W. | Academe, May/June 2002 | Go to article overview

Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds


Gray, Mary W., Academe


Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds

Richard J. Light. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001

MARY W. GRAY

It is a pleasure these days to find a book about teaching and learning that makes no reference to technology and does not suggest that faceto-face contact with students is best avoided in favor of some version of distance learning. Richard Light's Making the Most of College uses the words of students themselves to advise other students, faculty, and administrators how to "make the most of college." Much of what is said is familiar to experienced faculty members-- small classes, study groups, one-on-one contacts for research projects, student participation in and outside of the classroom help students learn. What is new is that many of the insights are backed up by in-depth interviews with some 1,600 students, many at Harvard University, but some from institutions of all types.

The essence of Light's message to students and faculty is that what students need is to make links between the academic and the personal, but above all, they need to get involved. For an undergraduate contemplating medical school, such a link could be experience working in a hospital; for a political science student, it could be organizing a renovation effort for a housing project, only to see it fail through union opposition. Light argues that engaging in extracurricular activities can lead to better academic performance and a more satisfactory college experience even if the activities are not connected to the student's academic interests. He cites the experience of a shy Pacific Islander who became the drum carrier (a nonplaying role) in the Harvard band, and points out that there are 168 hours in a week, none of which needs to be devoted to being a couch potato. But there are limits to how much time can be devoted to nonacademic pursuits, as he acknowledges in reference to intercollegiate athletes. Moreover, his subject population appears to consist almost entirely of students going directly from high school to full-time collegiate study. Not for him the single mother balancing a full-time job, child care, and a near full-time academic load!

The immediate reaction to what Light says is to assume that what works in the ratified atmosphere of Harvard may have little universal relevance. He repeats, more often than necessary, that the advice given by the students he interviewed has broad application in higher education. That is true of much of what they say, but the fact remains that for sheer ability and commitment to intellectual exploration, most students are not equal to those with whom Light has worked most closely. And most faculty do not have as much time as they would like to put into practice his proposed means of helping students make the most of their time at their institutions. For example, he speaks of meeting one on one with students at the beginning of each year to explore in depth their backgrounds and aspirations. But what if twenty or more students were depending on him each term for advice and guidance? And what about the faculty member who has two or three classes of more than a hundred students each semester, plus maybe, just maybe, the treasured small seminar so productive for student learning? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.