Why I Wrote This Book [A Different Road to College: A Guide for Transitioning Non-traditional Students] – Alise Lamoreaux
Most textbooks available on the topic of college transition/success today focus on the traditional 18-year old student, and the needs of someone living away from home for the first time. The desire to create this textbook comes from years of experience helping GED and other non-traditional students transition to community college and beyond. For over a decade, I have taught a class designed to specifically help non-traditional students build the contextual knowledge of college systems to help them be able to advocate for themselves and navigate the world of college. I have witnessed the struggle and confusion on the part of students trying to understand the contextual aspects of college and develop the confidence needed to take the transitional step. The content of this textbook will not focus on the needs young adults living away from home for the first time. There will be no shopping list for dorm supplies.
The goal of the book is to help students understand how to select the right college for them and then become acquainted with the inner workings and language of college. The content will be infused with stories about students who have successfully made the transition to college and their advice.
Today’s classrooms are increasingly becoming more diverse by age, ethnicity, and life experience. While their preparation and pathway to college may have been non-traditional, they are all “students” once they have enrolled in college.
Preface to Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom – Thomas C. Priester
Dave Dillon, Curator, co-author, and editor of Blueprint for Success in College: Indispensable Study Skills and Time Management Strategies
As an adjunct counselor and instructor between 2004 and 2007, I began teaching counseling and personal development courses at multiple community colleges. Some campuses assigned textbooks for some courses and others gave the freedom to choose from a variety of texts. As my materials grew, the actual textbooks, an assortment of copies of assignments, handouts, class activities and exams for many different courses became challenging to transport and keep organized for preparation and teaching. I distinctly remember frantically sifting through a rolling suitcase bag (which my colleagues teased me about) trying to find the handout I wanted to use for the third campus I was at on that particular day. I told myself that when and if I became a full-time counselor, I would write my own textbook so that all of the material would be in one place.
Hired as a full-time counselor and instructor at Grossmont College in 2007, I decided to start writing my own textbook for a Study Skills and Time Management course instead of continuing to carry around so many different materials. I began writing in 2009 and some of the ideas from that first effort helped shaped this project.
This book was also written because there is a need for it. Many students do not learn how to study effectively and efficiently or how to manage their time. Others aren’t certain what to choose for their major or their career. And some are lost trying to navigate through the maze and culture of college, often balancing their school workload while working and taking care of family responsibilities. Students are sometimes unsuccessful when they begin college—not for lack of motivation or hard work, but because they did not acquire the skills or information necessary to allow them to succeed.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “the 2012 graduation rate for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year degree-granting institution in fall 2006 was 59 percent. That is, 59 percent of first-time, full-time students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year institution in fall 2006 completed the degree at that institution within 6 years.”
And according to a recent study by the National Student Clearinghouse, 15 percent of students who started at 2-year institutions in 2006 completed a degree at a 4-year institution within 6 years.
There are multiple reasons for these statistics, but there is clearly great opportunity for improvement, and I believe learning and utilizing better study skills and time management skills will yield higher graduation and retention rates for students. Research has proven students who complete a study skills course remain in higher education longer with higher grade point averages and more success than students who did not complete the course. 
Despite my interest in keeping the cost of the original textbook low, I found that the cost was still prohibitive for many students and as I began to research textbook affordability solutions, I found OER (Open Educational Resources). I made a decision to publish this book as an OER, as well as the first edition of Blueprint for Success in College and Career, and the first edition of Blueprint for Success: Career Decision Making. As one of my colleagues said, “You have gone all in with OER.” There are many reasons for why this book is an Open Educational Resource, including but not limited to textbook affordability, access, empathy, openness, inclusion, diversity, and equity. I want students to be able to have access to the textbook on day one and after the course ends, not have to choose between buying food and purchasing the text, and not have to worry about a lost, stolen, or expired digital access code. This Santa Ana College student panel from the Open Education Conference 2017 exemplifies why this text is an OER:
Video: Santa Ana College OER Student Panel OpenEd 2017
I also found a wonderful community of supporters of Open Education and Open Educational Resources along with existing high quality, peer reviewed College Success OER. I researched and identified content from multiple sources, chose what information best fit my project, and then “reused, revised, remixed, and redistributed” with a Creative Commons by attribution license so that future users can freely retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute.
It has been my desire to deliver an easy-to-read, simple-to-understand instruction manual for study skills, time management, and career exploration, full of real-life examples.
This textbook is not designed to preach to you what you should or shouldn’t do with your life, your time, or your study skills. It is not meant to judge you. It is, however, designed to allow you the opportunity to examine and explore how you do certain things, and offer suggestions along the way that have helped other students.
My general philosophy is that if you are doing something that works well for you, then continue doing it. But if your results are less than optimal, or if you want to try something new, this book gives you suggestions. Experiment. Try some of them out. Keep what works best. Toss out what doesn’t work. See what fits best for you. We are all works in progress.
This is a book that I wish I had when I was a college student. Through trial and error, I found some strategies that suited me, and many that did not. I improved my time management, but it was a long process marked by learning from failure rather than following a recipe for success. The same could be said for selecting my major.
The first edition of the Blueprint for Success: Indispensable Study Skills and Time Management Strategies text elicited this response from one of my students: “The book really helped me. It was supportive of the assignments and was extremely easy to understand and follow. It truly served as a blueprint. It was almost like a map or instruction manual for being successful in your course. The best part was it can be used and applied to any college level class.” Since that publication, I have further developed theories and strategies specifically designed to help college students be successful, and I am excited about sharing them, and combining them with the expertise and content from other open licensed works.
It is my sincere hope that this book will help guide you to success in college.
Licenses and Attributions:
CC licensed content, Previously shared:
A Different Road To College: A Guide For Transitioning To College For Non-traditional Students. Authored by: Alise Lamoreaux. Located at: https://openoregon.pressbooks.pub/collegetransition/front-matter/introduction/ License: CC BY: Attribution.
Adaptions: Slight editing.
Foundations of Academic Success: Words of Wisdom. Edited by Thomas Priester. Located at: https://milnepublishing.geneseo.edu/foundations-of-academic-success/front-matter/preface/ License: CC BY: Attribution.
Original content authored by Dave Dillon. License: CC BY: Attribution.
Content previously copyrighted, published in Blueprint for Success in College: Indispensable Study Skills and Time Management Strategies (by Dave Dillon). Located at: https://press.rebus.community/blueprint1/ Now licensed as CC BY: Attribution.
Video: Santa Ana College OER Student Panel OpenEd 2017. Located at: https://youtu.be/vtPm3zsSfWo License: CC BY: Attribution.
- U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. The Condition of Education 2014, Institutional Retention and Graduation Rates for Undergraduate Students. (2014). ↵
- Doug Shapiro, Afet Dundar, Jin Chen, Mary Ziskin, Eunkyoung Park, Vasti Torres and Yi-Chen Chiang. Completing College: A National View of Student Attainment Rates. (National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, Project on Academic Success, Indiana University, 2014). 33. ↵
- (Petrie 1996). Petrie, T. & Buntrock, C. (1996). A longitudinal investigation of a semester long study skills course. Paper presented at the annual conference of The American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada. ↵