Back To School Reading // The One Book Rec I Always Go To

This fall will be the first year that I’m not scrambling to go back to school. I don’t need to take advantage of back to school sales or clamor to get the best class time slots (I haven’t done that in years, but bear with me).

It’s rather bittersweet. Now I feel the nostalgia as I drop niece #1 at school and I think back to new backpacks and pencils. However, I’m sure many of you aren’t staking down the halls or courtyards of elementary schools. You’re probably maneuvering through high school or treading through college or thinking about heading back. If that’s the case, I have just the book recommendation for you!

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In some cases, people would say that I took a rather unconventional way of getting my college degree, but when it’s all said and done, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

One I graduated from high school I knew I wasn’t ready for a shiny four-year institution and I was definitely not ready to leave home. I decided to go to a community college instead and it was probably one of the best choices I made.

And that’s where my book recommendation comes in. Probably one of the best book purchases I made during my four years of college was *drum roll* The Community College Advantage: Your Guide to a Low-Cost High-Reward College Experience by Diane Melville.

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What’s so great about this book is that Melville knows what she’s talking about because she experienced it herself. There’s no talking down in this book. It’s straight up advice and a guide to how to succeed in your community college.

The book is divided into sections with essential how-tos and when certain things need to be done i.e. transferring, etc.

You should definitely check it out if you’re interested in going to a community college (incoming freshman), are already in community college, or thinking about going to a community college after being at a four-year institution or returning to school. So, pretty much anyone and everyone!

Tips & Advice For A Successful School Year (AKA Things You Should Consider Doing)


  • Learn/Know what kind of learner you are and determine the best study methods for you
  • Come prepared for class by either having homework and assigned reading done and/or with a mind ready to snatch up all the info your teachers and/or professors will be sharing
  • Take notes
  • Keep an agenda/planner for your assignments, jobs, events, etc. This will be your best friend and will help you out in determining how much time you spend on each thing you do
  • Don’t forget to apply for FAFSA every year

High School

  • Start your college search or start thinking about what you want to do after you’ve graduated from high school. Once you graduate, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go straight to college. Explore your options
  • Pin point early which teachers (including club advisers) you would like to get recommendation letters from. Many scholarships, internships, and college applications ask for letters. You could also consider community members from local organizations that you’re a part of (like church) or your boss
  • Keep up on assignments.
  • If you find yourself stuck or falling behind, talk with your teachers or a teacher you trust to help you out.
  • Find a club or sport you like and take part.


  • Register for classes early to get the best times that work for YOU.
  • Read the class syllabus and plan your semester accordingly. Check out and know the office hours for your professor because you’ll probably need them some time in the future.
  • If possible, take remedial classes (like math or reading/English) during the Summer or Winter semesters so you can take the classes you really want during the Fall and Spring.
  • Look and know where the advising center, career center, tutoring center, media/library centers are on campus. Also check out where the counseling center is as well. They’re super helpful.
  • Don’t forget your agenda/planner!
  • There are a ton of clubs on college campuses! Find all the ones you might enjoy and give them a shot. Introduce yourself. Make friends. No one will fault you if you decide to stop going.
  • Join honor societies
  • Develop relationships with some of your professors, especially the ones in the fields you’re interested in. They’ll have the answers to most of your questions and will help you if you hit any bumps in the road.
  • The above note will also help you when you need more letters of recommendation. You’ll need those for scholarships and if you’re thinking about going to grad school.
  • If you’re at a community college, consider applying for and graduating with your Associate’s Degree before transferring to a four year school.
  • Note: All these tips above are applicable to students at a community college or vocational school as well as students at a four year school.

This post is a lot longer than I intended. But I hope some of these tips are useful to you. Have a great school year and good luck!


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