A foundation for a successful collegiate career

October 30, 2012

By Elizabeth Cachey ’15

College students can feel lost at times, floating around campus hoping a plan will suddenly click into place. Without a strategy, many students can find higher education and life after college more difficult than it has to be.

That’s why Dr. Susan Berry Brill de Ramirez, Caterpillar Professor of English at Bradley, has authored a new book entitled “Make College Work for You: Strategic Decision-Making for Success in College and Beyond.” The book, due out in 2013, offers a practical, step-by-step guide for how students can turn college into a rewarding experience.

“I have a profound belief that virtually any college student can make their college years highly successful and prepare them extraordinarily well for their post-graduate life,” Dr. Brill de Ramirez says. “But to do that, they need to approach undergraduate education in particularly smart, mature and strategic ways.”

Her book covers topics such as how to strategically choose a major, how to train both on- and off-campus for success, and how to seek out the right mentors. Worksheets in the book act as organizational tools helping students identify goals and the steps that must be taken to reach them. She said her 20 years at Bradley contributed profoundly to her decision to write this book.

Dr. Brill de Ramirez also emphasizes the importance of students having a variety of skill sets, saying the careers many students will work in might not even exist today so it is important to develop various, adaptable talents.

“The world is changing so quickly; needs for employees are changing dramatically on a global playing field, and it’s crucial that students get the education that they need that will best prepare them for their lives as adults and employees,” she says.

Dr. Brill de Ramirez is already finding success with the book in her English 101 class this semester, where she provided students with advance copies. Though some of her students have occasionally struggled with adapting to unfamiliar challenges in this new chapter of their lives, she says their difficultly “doesn’t mean the student is doomed to fail but instead has a precious opportunity to struggle and succeed in a more challenging environment – and that’s the real world.”

Dr. Brill de Ramirez says ultimately the aim of the book is setting college students up for success after graduation in whatever world they may face.