Blueprint for Success in College and Career

July 10, 2018 | Updated: October 5, 2021
Author: Dave Dillon, Grossmont College

Blueprint for Success in College and Career is a students’ guide for classroom and career success. This text, designed to show how to be successful in college and in career preparation focuses on study skills, time management, career exploration, health, and financial literacy. This book is a remix of four previously existing OER (Open Educational Resources): A Different Road To College: A Guide For Transitioning To College For Non-traditional Students by Alise Lamoreaux, How to Learn Like a Pro! by Phyllis Nissila, Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom, edited by Thomas Priester, College Success, provided by Lumen Learning, and one previously copyrighted textbook with content that is now openly licensed: Blueprint for Success in College: Indispensable Study Skills and Time Management Strategies by Dave Dillon. The Blueprint for Success series comprises three books for the College Success and FYE (First-Year Experience) genre. The central text, Blueprint for Success in College and Career, is designed to show how to be successful in college and in career preparation. In addition, targeted sections on Study Skills and Time Management, and Career and Decision Making are available separately as Blueprint for Success in College: Indispensable Study Skills and Time Management Strategies, and Blueprint for Success in Career Decision Making.

Subject Areas
Academic/Career Success, Career Success

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Blueprint for Success in College and Career by Dave Dillon, Grossmont College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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Reviews (1) Avg: 3 / 5

Claudius Soodeen

Institution:University of WinnipegTitle/Position: InstructorCreative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

Mostly accurate - some topics/concepts not addressed - e.g. Memory - how the brain works - not fully addressed.
Discussion of recall/remembering and forgetting not discussed.
Doesn't discuss writing.
In at least one case (p. 77) - Solutions to procrastination are promised but not delivered.

p. 15 - "Personal Inventory Questions" - What do students do with these questions once answered?

p. 20 - "What I Actually Do" - Doesn't discuss what she actually does!

p. 11 - "In the end, I want you to be successful and I want you to enjoy college, but I believe these are nearly impossible without passion." - What if a student doesn't know what to be passionate about? Passion can/must be found and sometimes takes time.

p. 47 - "How much fixed time do you have? How much free time? How much fixed and free time would you like to have?" - A visual (e.g. chart) would be helpful.

p. 53 - "Use Technology to your Advantage. Software and apps are now available to help with organization and productivity. Check out Evernote, One Note, or Stickies." - Would be useful to explain how these apps can be used - provide examples or screenshots. Even a testimonial from someone who does use them would be helpful.

p. 89 - Ch. 17 is a bit sparse on useful techniques for students!

p. 93 - "Reading Comprehension Levels: Shallow processing involves structural and phonemic recognition, the processing of sentence and word structure and their
associated sounds." - provide examples

p. 93 - "Brain Region Activation" - this section would be better understood if there was prior discussion of how the brain works.

p. 93 - "cognitive modeling" - what does this process entail?

p. 94 - "Instruction in comprehension strategy use often involves the gradual release of responsibility, wherein teachers initially explain and model strategies. Over time, they give students more ... with the idea of self-regulation and reflects social cognitive theory, originally conceptualized by Albert Bandura." - How is this helpful to students?

p. 96 - Exercise 22 - Where are the steps taught FIRST? They are mentioned in the excerpt but steps aren't explicitly defined.

p. 101 - "pay close attention to the typical elements of the graphic." - an example would be helpful.

p. 108 - Exercise 21-1 - where will they find these examples? This is a waste of time and students won't complete it if they have to wander around the internet looking for incorrect signs.

p. 109 - "This visual of the arms getting closer together ..." - might be better served by the example/visual of a funnel?? Also, an example of close reading of a passage would be more helpful. This is still somewhat vague.

p. 119 - "They are missing out on the opportunity to write down valuable information. Keep taking notes until the lecture is complete." - Also, using graphical indicators can be useful (not just mindmaps).

p. 119 - Cornell System - example should be provided.

p. 119 - Outline Method - Annoying - at least provide an example or diagram to illustrate. Some links would be useful too!

p. 120 - Mind Maps - still NO visual for 'visual' learners!

p. 124 - An Information Processing Model - missing an overview & definition of the process

p. 126 - Some discussion of the electro-chemical reaction in the brain would be helpful to let students know that real processes are happening and are affected by behaviour.

p. 134 - Exercise 26-1 (Pre-Test Taking Strategies) - Explanation or discussion of the main strategies is missing.

p. 135 - Mid-Test Strategies - Missing "read the instructions"!

p. 135 - "Keep your eye on the clock" - What are some ways to see if you're on track - e.g. 1 min/MC question?

Comprehensiveness Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

Mostly accurate - some examples are arguably inaccurate (e.g. urgency of studying for an exam - not only related to level of preparation.
Other examples:
p. 10 - Title [Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Passion] is misleading. - Intrinsic Passion vs Extrinsic Motivation??
p. 13 - Video is an odd choice given the call for passion earlier in the chapter.

p. 54 - "Prioritizing Goals" - Not the best description of rankings -
A - Important and Critical
B - Important but not critical
C - neither important or critical

p. 55 - "Quadrant I (The quadrant of necessity): Important and Urgent" - I disagree with example - studying for an exam or writing a paper becomes more urgent as the deadline draws near. It isn't only related to your level of preparation.

Again, on p. 84 - the example given doesn't truly reflect the principles discussed. On p. 85 - only partial info provided about writing under pressure. Frames external Locus of Control as a negative attribute, which isn't necessarily the case.

p. 117 - "Thus, there is an importance of taking notes. “Note-taking facilitates both recall of factual material and the synthesis and application of new knowledge,
particularly when notes are reviewed prior to exams.” - This doesn't seem to fit with the earlier argument that SQ3R isn't empirically supported!

p. 120 - "For this reason, I do not advise students to take back-to-back classes without 30 minutes in between" - this may be out of their control. What can you do if you do have back-to-back classes?

p. 126 - Moving information from short-term to long-term memory - Process not complete - recall/remembering is missing. so is forgetting!

p. 166 - "Sleep until sunlight: If possible, wake up with the sun, or use very bright lights in the morning." - Not in Northern Countries during Winter! How bright should the lights be? is it just brightness or colour temperature that's important?

Video: Don’t Just Follow Your Passion: A Talk for Generation Y, Eunice Hii at TEDx TerryTalks 2012 - Canadian! Interesting story but needs to be given context within the text.

Video: Do Schools Kill Creativity? Ken Robinson at TED 2006 - Relevance is questionable. Again, context needs to be provided in the text. Guiding questions or main takeaways.

Video: Smash Fear, Learn Anything, Tim Ferriss at TED 2008 - his point about learning languages assumes there is a similar pre-made chart for other languages. Doesn't describe how he created similar tools for other languages. Doesn't describe or show the process for breaking tasks down.

Video: Success in the New Economy, Kevin Fleming and Brian Y. Marsh, Citrus College: - Good advice - but fails to connect the "soft skills" that students learn in school to workplace skills

Video: Time Management, Randy Pausch. - Takes a long time to get to his main point - would be useful to identify the timestamp to jump to.

Video: Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator, Tim Urban TED Talk - good video

Video: How to Gain Control of Your Free Time, Laura Vanderkam TED Talk - might be hard for ESL students to parse the advice from the story.

Video: 5 Ways to Listen Better, Julian Treasure at TED Global 2011 - good integration of video & questions

Video: Selective Attention Test, Daniel Simmons - unclear how this relates in a practical way - need to draw out the lesson learned.

Video: Physical Activity Guidelines – Introduction ok

Video: Exercise and the Brain ok

Video: Exercise and the Brain, Wendy Suzuki, TEDx Orlando 2001 ok
Video: Give it up for the down state – sleep, Sara Mednick, TEDxUCR Salon ok

Video: Take a Nap! Change Your Life, Sara Mednick Authors@Google 2007 - a bit long - needs focusing questions

Video: Progressive Muscle Relaxation Meditation ok - not for everyone

Content Accuracy Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement

Content is written fairly generically and covers topics that seem to be "eternal" in relation to students.

p. 84 - Exercise 16-1 - relevance unknown, complexity of exercise high. - Exercise 16-3 might be a better starting exercise

Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

Some jargon/colloquialisms. Some complex terms undefined.

p. 58 - "There I was, having just eaten dinner and realizing that I had less than twenty-four hours to go before my capstone paper was due for my History of Africa class" - But this indicates a lack of planning OR paying attention to important details. this is not necessarily a case of working well under pressure - as indicated by the phrase "never working like this again". Mixed advice.

p. 59 - "In my own doctoral program, I have begun assignments a little too close to the deadlines but they ultimately get completed and I continue to be amazed at the high marks I get back." - Partial info - is it just the writing he does under pressure or is it the background reading and note-making too?

p. 60 - "make sure to get a good night sleep, eat my Wheaties, and think good vibes." - Left unexplained, these are not helpful - especially to students who don't understand the metaphor and figure of speech.

p. 63 - "Fear of success. If I study my tail off and I earn an A on an exam, people will start to expect that I will get A’s all of the time." - colloquialism - may not be understood by EAL students.

p. 65 - "But until we can anticipate it accurately, it is best to leave some time in our schedule in case it takes longer than we had anticipated." - how much? This is a little too vague.

p. 67 - "It may be that your plan is bigger than the day. Experiment with what you want to accomplish and what is realistic ..." - Again, vague advice. Experimentation is fine but what are some useful starting guidelines?

p. 70 - Heylighen quote at top of page - citation missing

p. 70 - "if a person has a world view that is post-modern, ... Therefore, it might be easy to subscribe to a “What’s the use?” - Bit of a jump from POMO to fatalism!

p. 70 - EXERCISE 13-1 - --- "2. Briefly respond to your thoughts on ..." - what does "respond to your thoughts" actually mean?

p. 77 - "As promised above, let’s get started with some immediate solutions as well as some perspectives that might, in time, help you adjust your thoughts and feelings regarding procrastination." - Where are the solutions?

p. 86 - "Don’t Do Anything Academically “Half-***ed”" - Seriously? I wouldn't accept this from students, so why present it to them as acceptable academic language?
Similarly, by definition students are incompetent at most subject areas. This section needs to differentiate poor performance due to developing competence from being lazy.

p. 99 - "Skim Reading Textbook Chapters" - title oddly worded but this is an element of SQ3/4/5R. Missing: the explanation of creating a mental map of the content to see what you already know and don't and how that can help you.

p. 101 - Exercise 19-3 - Where to find the maps?

p. 115 - "Stances or movements that alert you to when he/she will shift to a different topic or subtopic." - Example??

p. 116 - examples of verbal cues would be helpful.

p. 126 - "This is something that takes a lot of time: there is no shortcut for it." - Ambiguous - what takes a lot of time? Make it explicit for EAL students

p. 126 - "Create acronyms like SCUBA for memorizing “self-contained - *USE*, this acronym has already been created!

p. 131 - "A study from Carnegie Mellon University found that driving while listening to a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. Why would anyone choose to use less brain activity when they study" - But studying and driving are different types of activities so the analogy may not be 100%. Better to find a study that relates more directly to 'studying' behaviour. What is the takeaway from this info?

p. 145 - "Despite wanting to explain what had happened and that it was not his fault, he realized that there was no excuse. It was his responsibility to keep a clean uniform." - What is the point of this story? Not sure it would be understood today the same way it was intended.

p. 147 - Chapter 28 Nutrition - It would be useful to show/discuss how diet affects the brain and body and therefore learning.

Clarity Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

Sometimes talks "about" students, sometimes talks "to" students. Should always talk to students. Some parts read more like notes to instructors.

Consistency Rating: 2 out of 5

Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

This modularity reflects the genesis of the text - a bunch of individual "lecture notes" or tip sheets put together. The integration isn't always strong and often reads like author notes rather than researched information. This is compounded by many instances of missing citations.

Modularity Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

Some material out of logical order: e.g. Ch. 14 - Procrastination should be part of Time Management chapter.

Chapter 15 - how does this relate to the previous chapter? There needs to be an explicit link.

p. 103 - "In their book, Content Area Reading: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum, Vacca and Vacca postulate that a student’s prior knowledge is “the single most important resource in learning with texts.” - This should be linked back to one of the reasons for skimming/surveying chapters.

p. 117 - "In order to try to retain information long term, we must move it from our short-term memory" - this concept hasn't been discussed yet

Organization Rating: 2 out of 5

Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader

Chapter 15 doesn't clearly tie to previous chapters.
Exercise 16-1 - relevance unclear, complexity high!
Ch. 18 - Reading comprehension refers to Brain Region Activation but there is no prior discussion.

Some broken links/images:
E.g. - Educational Planning - "... There has also been focused attention on the importance of educational planning ..." Image doesn't appear in the online version.

There are 2 broken images on the above page.

p. 163 - "This is a link to an article of a National Public Radio interview with Charles Czeisler, the director of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School." - Link missing in PDF version.

Interface Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

Some grammatical errors and typos (I noted them in the PDF version of the text which I can send to you if needed).

p. 23 - "We are teaching you how to be a student—you’ve been practicing since Kindergarten, *and doesn’t end* when you get to college."

p. 84 - "Create a plan for Tran, on how to organize *a study are in her* busy home where she lives with six members of her family." - TYPO

p. 88 - "*Explain to read closely* for literature classes and other classes where literature is included with the readings" - TYPO

p. 104 - "There are a lot of recent advances in technology that have made information more accessible to us. Use this resource!" - Use *these resources*?

p. 141 - "If there is a penalty for incorrect answers, common logic is to guess if you can eliminate two of the answers as incorrect (*pending* [depending on????] what the penalty is). - "pending" means waiting for or awaiting, not "dependent on".

p. 141 - "If there are four answers for each question, and an exam *had* [has???] standardized the answers, each answer on the exam A, B, C and D would be equal" - keeping to present tense.

p. 142 - "If your exam instructions do not *discern* [explain] this, you may wish to ask your instructor for further clarification."

p. 162 - "Dr. Mednick’s “Authors@Google: Sara Mednick” video *on is a longer lecture* on sleep." - TYPO

Grammar Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds

Doesn't refer to other ways of knowing or learning - e.g. non-Western. This is only an issue in that it doesn't discuss the problems that might arise if student experiences are not based in Western classrooms.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?

I wouldn't use this text as a standalone resource. I would use bits and pieces as necessary and applicable. I think students would be confused by the change in tone (impersonal/personal) and those who would learn better with explanatory visuals would be disadvantaged.

In several cases, clear, practical examples aren't provided, thus limiting the utility of this text to students.

In several instances, students are told to find the info on the net - e.g. SMART goals - this is frustrating and potentially misleading from what the instructor might intend.

This book will need to be adapted for Canadian students and would need to be enhanced by whoever is using it.

There are some good points made that can be used by instructors to enhance their own notes and lectures.

I would recommend this book but with the caveat that it will need substantial enhancement by the instructor.