I have been a student for over ten years and this book has been one of my ‘go-to’ skills books throughout that time. This is why it features as an essential text for our CHS171 Building Graduate Attributes module, although I know all the academics on our programme also highly rate this book. The advice and guidance given will appeal to any student that has potentially not studied for some time, those who want to refresh their skills, and for anyone who wants to reflect on the strategies they have used in the past but are now considering new ways to improve the standard of their work. I found that the author’s writing style is very accessible making reading the book somewhat easier and in an uncomplicated way. What I particularly like about this book is that Stella Cottrell recognises that we all have our own ways of working and it is about finding out our own way to achieve the best. I think this book can really inspire confidence in students to push themselves and acts as a starting point to strive for higher standards throughout their studies.
In essence, I would say this, and others in this series, are the ‘ultimate guides’ for studying in Higher Education because all the methods discussed have been tried and tested spanning over twenty years of the author’s first-hand experience as an educator. As I previously mentioned the writing is accessible, but it also engages readers/students to tailor their own learning to their individual needs. This can, in my opinion, increase grade potential which in turn ultimately helps to increase employability prospects by driving transferable skills. This gives students more autonomy and responsibility for their own learning and making decisions on where they see their ‘future selves’.
So, what does the book actually cover? The book takes you on a journey that starts by providing a wealth of resources and publications that can complement this particular book, but essentially the real journey starts by talking about student success from the get-go! In particular, Stella Cottrell firmly places success in the hands of the student and their ability to take ownership. This is done by providing advice and guidance on how to really maximise your time as a student, and to ensure that you make every interaction count. From there you are introduced to important considerations, such as your wellbeing, working with others, and as part of a community. This includes advice and guidance on how to read, write, research, and manage your time during your studies holistically.
My final point is that this is an invaluable resource for undergraduate students of all disciplines, it prepares students for what to expect before, during, and after their studies at university.