Almost anytime someone successful is interviewed and asked questions about their daily routine; they almost always mention how much they read. Reading is crucial because it’s a great way to gain knowledge that you can use in your own life. Thanks to the internet and social media, there is a lot of content vying for your attention. However, nothing beats a book written by an experienced author who is sharing practical advice they have already learned.
Of course, saying you are going to start reading more is great, but where does one begin? There are a ton of books out there to choose from, and it can get overwhelming. Furthermore, there are plenty of college-based books as well. That might seem like the right place to start, but it really depends on what you need to learn. Starting college means beginning a new chapter of your life and starting your journey towards becoming an adult in the real world.
Therefore, this post will provide five suggestions on what books to read before starting college. The list was created based on several factors. First, I have conducted years of research to learn what skills first-year college students are lacking. Second, I chose books that will help you begin to develop skills that will help you in college as well as life afterward. Lastly, I wanted to suggest books that you, as a high school student, wouldn’t think to read or may not even know about.
The Compound Effect
The Compound Effect is written by million-dollar business owner Darren Hardy. In this book, Darren breaks down how repeating small habits each day can lead to significant long term results. He covers topics such as work ethic, positive mindset, eating habits, time management, and much more. This book is engaging because he uses practical examples that you can relate to your own life.
How Can It Benefit You?
Before starting this book, you should write down three habits you need to break and three habits you want to create in order to be more successful at college. For example, habits you want to break could include procrastination, eating junk food, or lack of motivation. Habits you want to create could consist of planning for the week, managing your time better, or staying calm during stressful situations. Keep these habits in mind as you read the book. By the end, you will have the advice and processes you need to implement them into your life.
Start With Why
Start With Why is written by a popular motivational speaker and best selling author, Simon Sinek. What started as a simple Ted Talk has become a rallying cry for so many people and brands around the world. Its primary focus is on helping you figure out your “why.” Why are your goals what they are? Why do you get up every morning and try to achieve them? By starting with and remembering your why you can remain on course and put purpose behind everything you do.
How Can It Benefit You?
As a high school student, you should be focusing on why you are going to college. What are you looking to accomplish? What type of life are you looking to build for yourself? Take the time to figure out what kind of person college is going to help you become and what exactly you need to do to get there. As you progress through college, you will have moments where you will stumble and get overwhelmed. Remembering why you started and what you are working towards is a great way to get back on track.
Secrets of Top Students: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Acing High School and College
Secrets of Top Students, written by Stefanie Weisman, is significantly less well known then our first two books but can be just as, if not more helpful. This book focuses specifically on advice for college that you would never think to ask for. The best part of this book is the information being offered was collected from over 40 top students across the country. Theses success stories are offering up the tips and tricks they learned and used to get to where they are today.
How Can It Benefit You?
This is the type of book you should read twice. First, read it cover to cover before going away to college. Pull out any information you can use right away, like preparing for dorming, habits you need to work on, etc. Then, highlight anything you find valuable and think you may need in the future. Once you are done, keep it handy because you will want to go back to it throughout college. Anytime you run into a situation and are unsure how to proceed, you can go back into the book and see what the experts have to say on the matter.
Stuff Every College Student Should Know
This pocket-sized book is written by Blair Thornburgh. It makes our list because it covers the “non-educational” part of college. This is a perfect book for anyone who is planning to go away to school. It covers life skills such as doing laundry, cooking basic meals, getting along with your roommate, and much more. Many of the college graduates I have spoken to over the years regret not learning these types of skills before college started.
How Can It Benefit You?
The beauty of this book is that it doubles as a reference guide throughout college. During your first read, you can identify what skills you don’t already have. Once you make that list, it will be crucial to dedicate time each week to learn them. This will prevent you from getting overwhelmed once college starts. Due to its convenient size, you can carry this book with you at all times and look back on it when you get stuck.
To The Next Step: Your Guide From College To The Real World
Full disclosure, I am the author of this book. However, I am including it because I wrote with you in mind. I wanted to take all the information I had learned from my interviews with college graduates and present them to you in one place. This book was designed to ensure you make the right choices the first time and learn from other graduates’ mistakes. It covers topics such as setting goals, learning adult responsibilities, creating good studying habits, finding internships, and preparing for the workforce.
How Will It Benefit You?
This book will help you do two main things. First, it will help you clarify your mission for college. You will have a firm understanding of why you are going to college and what you want to achieve. Second, it prepares you for what lies ahead during all four years. You will understand the importance of working hard, when to starting looking at internships, when to build your network and when it’s time to start preparing to look for jobs. It is also meant to be a reference guide for you to re-read at the beginning of each new school year.
Reading is a great habit that will provide you with an endless supply of valuable knowledge. The books listed here are meant to help you gain clarity before you start the next chapter of your life. By reading these books before college, you will have a leg up on other students who did not take this type of initiative. You owe it to your future self to prepare for college, the workforce, and the real world by learning everything you can by those who have already done it.
Kyle Grappone is an educational coach helping students prepare for the next steps in life.