Book Review: Put College to Work

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve created lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone.  See our Resources and Tools page for suggestions.

Parents should read Kat Clowes’ book Put College to Work, but more importantly, they should give a copy to their college students.  Subtitled, How to Use College to the Fullest to Discover Your Strengths and Find a Job You Love Before You Graduate, this book offers practical advice to students in a tone and manner they will read.  The book is clearly written for students, and the author’s chatty, readable style will appeal to these readers.

Clowes begins her book with the timeline of her own life.  She explains clearly to students that she made mistakes, or missed opportunities, and she’s here to help them avoid those same mistakes.  The realism of her story is compelling.  She’s obviously found success — and fulfillment — but it took her a long time to get there.

Put College to Work is divided into four sections, which build upon each other.  The book begins by helping students learn about themselves — Put Yourself to Work.  Students learn the importance of knowing who they are before they can begin to forge their path.  Section two, titled Succeed in School, helps students make the most of their time and experiences in college.  Section three, Succeed After College, gets to the nitty gritty of using the resources of college, such as the career center, internships, conferences, and alumni networks, to move into the world of work.  The final section, Having a Particular Set of Skills, helps students think specifically about how to make the most of job fairs, networking, resumes and cover letters, interviews and social media profiles.

Resources at the end of the book provide students with a helpful timeline as well as worksheets to help them think through the suggestions in the first part of the book.

Put College to Work provides a great blend of the author’s personal experiences and her professional expertise to speak directly to college-age students about what mistakes to avoid and what opportunities to seize.  Clowes makes college less intimidating to new students and guides them toward success — both during and after college.  The author’s step-by-step process leads students toward success and emphasizes lifetime career skills over merely finding a job.

Put College to Work helps students take control of their own paths to success — always the goal for college students.  The book helps students avoid the feeling of being helpless as they enter a difficult professional world.

Of course, if parents read this book along with their students, there’s wonderful content for conversation as students move along their path.  And the world of college, career planning, and career success has changed since parents were in college.  This book will give insight to us all. Buy one copy for your student and another for yourself.

About the author:

Kat Clowes is a professional college and career planner whose goal is to help students get the most value from college and find meaningful employment after graduation. She also consults and mentors young professionals as they start up their own businesses.  Clowes has a B.A. in Communications from Santa Clara University, an M.B.A. from Mount Saint Mary’s College with an emphasis in entrepreneurship, and a post-graduate certificate in independent educational consulting from the University of California, Irvine.

Kat Clowes calls herself a former ”college student without a clue” who spent ten years after graduation learning how she could have used college to build her career.  She now works to help students avoid the same mistakes that she made by teaching them how to market themselves and become the entrepreneurs in their own lives.

Kat Clowes lives in California with her husband and daughter.

What the author has to say about the book:

”You’re going to learn how to use all of the resources available to you so that you can carve a new path that lets you make the most of college while you’re there — and when you leave.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a senior or a freshman in college, or even if you’re still in high school.

The information in this book will give you a head start and keep you running in front of the pack. . . . You’ll learn how to be your own advocate so that you can get the education and make the contacts that will take you in the direction you want to go — not the direction someone else thinks you should be headed.”

”This book can help if all you want is some practical information about a specific subject, like internships or job fairs.  But if you read it all, you’ll get a cohesive strategy for creating an education you’ll cherish and finding a career you’ll love.  I’ve included a few personal stories along the way and some tidbits from professionals currently in the working world. . .

I’m also offering you a little timeline of my life; I haven’t always had the answer.  But through my own struggles, I know exactly what you’re going through and I know how to help. Hopefully, you can use what I have learned to help you avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made.  I want you to take action, use what you have, act courageously in a scary world.”

What others have to say about the book:

Put College to Work is the end result of the many years that Kat has spent helping students heading to college find the right mix of using the skills they already have and stretching to develop new skills.  I hope that, like me, you’ll find Kat’s advice will help you use college as a foundation for moving forward.  I am excited that you will have a chance to share in her experience and advice in order to enrich your life.”

Eric Brinkley — Product Manager, Turtle Entertainment, Inc.

”This book was amazing. As a college access professional, I read a lot of these. This is the best I’ve ever seen. Not only do I want to use it for the students I work with, but it will also be a graduation gift for senior students who are friends for years to come. AMAZING!”

Alyse Braaten


”A practical guide for college students to make the transition from student to professional! I am giving this book as a gift to my financial planning clients, who have kids in college! This is a great gift! I wish I would have had this book when I was in college!”

Debbie Charpentier

Note: Some links in our post are for affiliate products. If you use our links, College Parent Central receives a small percentage of your purchase price. This does not change the cost to you.  We think it’s only fair to let you know that.

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