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Book Jacket

Trade Paperback
368 pages
Apr 2011
Tyndale House Publishers

Thriving at College

by Alex Chediak

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


Thriving at College is Professor Alex Chediak’s attempt at creating a complete Christian guide for college students. Chediak addresses common issues that both incoming freshman and students with a few years experience may encounter. Chediak offers his opinions on topics that include time management, campus jobs, relationships both professional and personal, and fulfilling one’s Christianity at college.

Chediak’s book is very thorough. There are ten chapters with two appendices, covering a wide variety of topics. The chapters are split into sections about faith, relationships, and academics, and are easy to navigate if you are looking for a specific subject. Chediak’s writing style is also very natural. He uses common stories and examples, told in a simple way, to help drive home his points. His chapters on developing relationships and managing finances offer some interesting and practical ideas. The appendices also give some good incite into college selection and keeping one’s faith strong.

Yet, Thriving at College has a number of problems. Despite the simple style, many paragraphs are cluttered and confusing. Chediak has an annoying habit of overusing parentheses. He will use them to define a number of words in one paragraph, then repeat the same definitions in the following paragraph. Biblical references are also relegated to parentheses, which create a jumble of names and numbers that can get the reader lost. Chediak’s main fault, however, is in his view of college and college students. Throughout much of the book, it seems like he is saying that the only way to succeed in college is to be fanatical, almost neurotic, about every detail of a college life. It seems like only by having a complete schedule of every waking hour can any student hope to succeed. Whereas he acknowledges that some of his ideas may seem extreme, that doesn’t excuse what seems to be a serious disconnect with college life. As a professor, Chediak has, indeed, seen how certain parts of college can affect students, but he doesn’t connect that to the everyday lives students have.

Thriving at College sets out with the ambitious goal of being the complete college guide, but comes up short. Chapters ramble and large sections of them are somewhat tedious and too detailed. Chediak spreads himself too thin, trying to cover too much and not going into enough depth on the key aspects of college life. I would recommend this book as a starting platform. It gives basic ideas that can be expanded upon in various other books. – Todd Naevestad,

In Thriving at College, Alex Chediak names ten of the most common mistakes made by university students in the areas of College in General/Faith, Relationships, Character, and Academics. He takes a casual, yet firm, approach to these topics from both logical and biblical standpoints, mainly targeting those who are just about to enter college and, therefore, have not created any questionable habits within the college environment.

Most students today don’t want to sit and read another book on how to be successful at college. So, by separating the common mistakes of students into four different parts within the book, the author creates a simple and effective format for keeping the reader’s attention. Chediak offers down-to-earth advice along with scriptural references without sounding overbearing or condescending. In the examples he gives (many coming from students he has taught or from his own experience), Chediak doesn’t bash those who messed up, but simply points out the mistakes made and gently directs the reader regarding how not only to avoid those same mistakes, but also to fix the mistakes if some bad judgments have already been made.

Throughout the book, Chediak cites numerous examples, some going back in time to when he was a student at college and some related to students he has taught and created a professor-student relationship with; creatively and effectively this shows and explains how “College is about finding your place in God’s world – not fitting God into your plans….”

Alex Chediak has created a realistic, biblically based book about Thriving at College. The common mistakes he chooses to focus on are well thought, giving the reader no room to misinterpret anything he teaches. This book would be most effective in the hands of high school juniors and seniors who are about to start or are in the process of finding and going to college. This book would also be effective in helping any current college student who wishes to make the most of his or her college experience. – Demelza Ramirez,

Book Jacket:

Going to college can be exciting, anxiety inducing, and expensive! You want your child to get the most out of their college experience—what advice do you give? Thriving at College by Alex Chediak is the perfect gift for a college student or a soon-to-be college student.

Filled with wisdom and practical advice from a seasoned college professor and student mentor, Thriving at College covers the ten most common mistakes that college students make—and how to avoid them! Alex leaves no stone unturned—he discusses everything from choosing a major and discerning one’s vocation to balancing academics and fun, from cultivating relationships with peers and professors to helping students figure out what to do with their summers.

Most importantly, this book will help students not only keep their faith but build a vibrant faith and become the person God created them to be.