“It’s no longer good enough just to graduate college; you actually need to learn stuff while you are there. This book tells you how to do that. It takes the latest findings from the science of learning and explains how they can be practically applied to the work of college. I wish I had known these things when I was in college!”

James W. Stigler, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology at University of California, Los Angeles

College Smart will show you in clear, simple terms how you can use breakthroughs from the science of learning to study smarter in college—or for anything else, for that matter. Backed by decades of research from university learning labs, the techniques in College Smart are surprising, counterintuitive, and best of all, have been shown to really work. College Smart will teach you the fundamentals of how to learn and will change the way you study forever.

This book is for the students who discover they are struggling academically with college course work. It‘s for the students who weren’t prepared for the workload and came to college with poor study habits. The students who find it difficult to pay attention in class, remember what they learn, and perform well on tests. It’s for the students who might suffer from “impostor syndrome”: the feeling that you don’t belong in college, you got in by mistake, and that any day now you’ll be unmasked as a fraud and a phony. It’s a real problem, and so prevalent it’s become a silent epidemic on college campuses around the country.

Dr. Soderstrom wrote College Smart as a blueprint for academic success. It’s designed for first-year college students just like you (and anyone at any point in their education, really) who want to learn how to learn, so they can succeed in college. If you are an A and B student, the information here will help you learn more, with a new arsenal of techniques you can rely on to turbocharge your learning. If you are an average student, the study strategies in College Smart will help you raise your grades, no matter what classes you take. And for those of you who struggle academically, College Smart provides powerful, proven methods designed to improve your performance in class.

Nicholas Soderstrom, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Dickinson College, which is located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He received his doctorate degree in Cognitive Psychology from Colorado State University, where he was mentored by Drs. David McCabe and Matthew Rhodes, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was advised by Drs. Robert and Elizabeth Bjork. Dr. Soderstrom teaches classes in human cognition and has active lines of research in the areas of human learning, memory, and metacognition (i.e., thinking about thinking). He is interested in how people learn vs. how people think they learn, and is deeply committed to applying the science of learning to enhance the educational practices of both instructors and students. His scholarship has been published in a number of the top peer-reviewed journals in his discipline, including Journal of Educational PsychologyJournal of Experimental Psychology: GeneralJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and CognitionJournal of Memory and LanguagePerspectives on Psychological Science; and Psychological Science. Dr. Soderstrom has been recognized for his excellence in both teaching and research.

Sam McMillan earned a Masters Degree in Teaching from Duke University, and taught creative writing workshops for 10 years throughout public schools in North Carolina under the auspices of the Poets In the Schools Program. In the 1990s he designed the curriculum for the San Francisco State University Multimedia Studies Program in Design and Production, and currently teaches Copywriting for Advertising at SFSU and consults on brand strategy in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“This compact book artfully communicates a powerful message: If you want to learn something, do what the real experts do. And then, in straightforward terms, it tells what actually works by providing a set of evidence-based guidelines and how to apply them in your own case.  In other words, it’s the best kind of self-help book—one that can actually help!” 

Donald J. Foss, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology, University of Houston
Author of Your Complete Guide to College Success: How to Study Smart, Achieve Your Goals, and Enjoy Campus Life. Washington, D.C.: APA Books.

“At a time when attaining a college degree is central to the economic welfare of individuals and increasing the proportion of citizens receiving college degrees is critical to our overall societal welfare, academic failure remains pervasive. Nicholas Soderstrom’s concise, easy- to-read College Smart provides a road map to help students attain academic success. Based on well-established research findings, Soderstrom provides detailed guidance on academic essentials like note taking, study groups, and study routines, highlighting how student’s intuitive approaches often exacerbate their academic challenges. Best of all, Soderstrom’s approach will help our students flourish in our increasingly-complex society long after they depart our campuses. I plan to share College Smart with all of our incoming freshman.”

Elliot Hirshman, Ph.D., President of San Diego State University

“For the last seven years I have been inspiring students to take personal responsibility for their own educations — in a word, to become “autodidacts.” Now I can tell them “how” to do it— Read College Smart: How to Succeed in College Using the Science of Learning. This is the book parents, teachers and students have been waiting for.”

James W. Parkinson Esq., Author of Autodidactic: Self-Taught”

“I wish I had known about the ‘Science of Learning’ when I was a student! Armed with the information in this outstanding book, I could have studied so much more efficiently and productively. In most schools, students simply aren’t taught how to learn most effectively. This needs to change right now and it is essential that every student understands the easy-to-use, high-impacting study strategies in this revolutionary book. Wonderfully explained, beautifully illustrated and based on research findings, the study habits presented in College Smart can supercharge students’ learning not just through the college years, but for life. Essential reading for any student preparing for college.”

William Emeny, Mathematics Teacher, Leading Practitioner, Author, Researcher, Founder of Great Maths Teaching Ideas and Numeracy Ninjas