A stunningly comprehensive manual designed to help public university students maximize their GPAs and their college experiences.
Most college instructional guides focus on application strategies but provide little advice on how to excel at a college once admitted. Gimpel’s first book provides meticulous advice for succeeding academically at a public university. The problem for the average student is essentially twofold: in an increasingly competitive economy, grades have become an object of scrutiny for prospective employers. Also, tuitions have never been higher, saddling students with piles of debt in exchange for a potentially unmarketable degree. The author provides a detail-rich blueprint for both scoring high grades and completing a degree as quickly as possible, diminishing costs. As far as the speedy completion of a degree is concerned (the author finished a four-year degree in three years), the key is to test out of college courses (“credit by examination”), which allows a student to complete requirements more cheaply and quickly. Using transfer courses can accomplish this as well while simultaneously boosting one’s overall GPA. Much of the guide focuses on getting better grades, which involves carefully applied strategies for appraising and picking both professors and courses. Besides demystifying the sometimes-nebulous nature of college grades, Gimpel also makes a compelling case for their postgraduate significance, especially in a chapter entitled “Your College GPA and the Big Picture.” He also furnishes a sobering lesson on the real costs of a college education and the shocking surcharge attached to graduating late. Sometimes, the advice can be unyieldingly practical, emphasizing grades over education and personal development. The section devoted to “professor shopping” surely contains helpful tips, but it neglects to acknowledge the value of learning from a notoriously difficult instructor and succeeding (or even not) and the possibility of mentorship. Nonetheless, this is a savvy tour of the college experience that rightly makes the case that a disciplined, goal-oriented plan for university may benefit the student more than a more meandering approach.
A useful handbook, especially for those who view college primarily as a conduit to a future career.