8 Great Books Every College Freshman Should Read

While the first year of college can be exciting and filled with possibilities, it can also be overwhelming. Students navigate a whole new world on their own for the very first time!  Check out these must-read books to help college students prepare for everything they may encounter in the upcoming years!

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8 Must-Read Books for College Students

1. The Naked Roommate (and 107 Other Problems You Might Run into in College)

books for college students The Naked Roommate

Harlan Cohen’s work looks at the most common problems you may experience in your first year of college with humor, candor, and wit! The Naked Roommate tackles everything from troublesome roommates and college culture to bookstore buy-backs. It covers so much more than what you “expect” to encounter during school. 

This is a must-read for high school students heading off to college. How do you talk to your roommate about their annoying habit and how do you handle a schedule change? How do you talk to a cantankerous advisor? This book answers all those questions, and more!

2. The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook

books for college students The 5 Ingredient College CookbookIf you can’t bear the thought of another ramen noodle, then you need this book by Pamela Ellgen. The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook: Easy, Healthy Recipes for the Next Four Years & Beyond includes over 100 quick and easy recipes that only take 5 ingredients total! With pictures of finished dishes and step-by-step instructions, you’ll be a cooking master in no time while staying on a budget! Plus, they only take 30 minutes at most to make so you can easily improve your diet in no time.

3. The Freshman Survival Guide

books for college students The Freshman Survival Guide

This new, updated version of a classic work discusses topics like college culture, schedule balance, money management, and more. By Nora Bradbury-Haehl and Bill McGarvey, The Freshman Survival Guide: Soulful Advice for Studying, Socializing, and Everything in Between covers mental health, social media, technology, and more. The book never talks down to the reader and the information inside the volume is indispensable for today’s college freshman. This best-seller has helped thousands of high school students and can help you too.


4. 1001 Things Every College Student Needs to Know

books for college students 1001 Things Every College Student Needs to Know1001 Things Every College Student Needs to Know  (Like Buying Your Books Before Exams Start) by Harry H. Harrison Jr. goes beyond freshman year. It speaks with wit, and wisdom, and gives good advice. Covering everything from study habits to switching majors, you’ll keep reaching for this one again and again when you need advice for dealing with all sorts of interesting situations. Learn how to stay within your budget, how to arrange your schedule so it makes sense for you, and what to do if you think you may be on the verge of failing or, worse, dropping out. This must-read book serves undergrad college students all the way through grad school.

5. How to Win at College: Surprising Secrets for Success from the Country’s Top Students

books for college students How to Win at College

Another must-read that will serve you well beyond graduation day, How to Win at College: Surprising Secrets for Success from the Country’s Top Students by Cal Newport is filled with tips, tricks, and advice from 75 superstar students who want to show you how to succeed in college without grinding so hard you give up. 

Discussing topics such as the best ways to study and take notes, why you don’t really have to do all the reading, and what to look for when it comes to preparing for your future beyond graduation, this book may help you rekindle your desire to become a successful and high-functioning adult while still keeping your sanity intact.

6. 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades (While Studying Less)

books for college students 10 Steps to Earning Awesome GradesIf you’re still in high school, don’t wait until your freshman year of college to pick up this little gem of a paperback. Small but mighty, 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades (While Studying Less) by Thomas Frank will help you kick the procrastination habit, set you up with a stellar study schedule, and help you prepare for any and every assignment without having to pull an all-nighter or giving up on fun and parties. This is the book your parents wish they had when they were in school.

7. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

This book by Dr. Julie Smith, Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?, is for all adults – not just college students – but it’s a good read for those entering higher education! It covers depression, mental health, motivation, forgiveness, and anxiety – and gives you the strategies you need to improve your mental well-being. It’s all the helpful information that can be used in college and in life in general.

8. How to Become a Straight-A Student

Another book by Cal Newport, How to Become a Straight-A Student: The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less is a great read after you finish How to Win at College. It gives you tactics to maximize your study time, overcome procrastination, improve answers, and improve your absorption of the material. And it’s a great one to read while you’re still in high school, too, as the tactics can be applied right now!

These are just 8 books that are great reads before you head off to college! Do you have one you’re reading that you’d suggest to other students? Leave it in the comments below!

Preparing for college might feel like a lot, but knowing what to expect is half the battle. If you want top-tier tips on applying to schools, improving your grades, and presenting a stellar application, make sure to read our other articles here!

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