Beyond College Guides

Members of the high school class of 2016 have by now made their choices about whether and where to attend college and are settling into preparations for the next chapter. After months of research, some students and parents find themselves still fascinated by the broader topic of higher education, while others are happy to pitch their hefty “Best College for You” guides into the donation bin and move on.  

Fairfax County Public Library has summer reading suggestions for both camps. Read on for a selection of thought-provoking studies on the deeper meaning of higher education- its purpose and value- what it is and what it should be. Or, for those who prefer a good comic satire to decompress, see below for a list of humorous novels about the fables and foibles of academia.

Bruni opens his book with examples of students from competitive high schools who thrived at their “safety schools” and went on to be every bit as successful as peers who attended Ivy League colleges. Read this book to find out how any student can make the most of his or her college years.

Are our nation’s elite high schools and colleges creating students who have learned how to game the system at the expense of critical thinking, genuine curiosity and intellectualism?  The author advises students on how to avoid the pitfalls of privilege.

Colleges and students today are focusing more on STEM careers. Is there still value to a liberal arts curriculum? Read this book and be prepared to defend your English or Philosophy major!

And now for something completely different… here are some examples of novels from the rich and wonderful world of comic fiction on academia.


Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis

The Campus Trilogy, David Lodge
Straight Man, Richard Russo
Dear Committee Members, Julia Schumacher
Moo by Jane Smiley

Whether serious or satire, FCPL has plenty of college-theme books to add to your summer reading list.

Do you have a favorite book about the college experience?  Share it by adding it to the comments field.

--Suzanne Summers LaPierre, City of Fairfax Regional Library


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