Book Review — Generation Z Goes to College

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 offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

Generation Z Goes to College (order directly from Amazon) was written with a focus toward higher education professionals, but should be read by parents of these students as well.  As parents, we know our students intimately as individuals, but we don’t often think about the overview of the entire generation to which they belong.  Generation Z Goes to College helps parents see their students in the context of their generation.

Generation Z, as defined in this book, includes those students born between 1995 and 2010.  So these are the students now entering college.

One of the things that we like about this book — right at the beginning — is the overview of generations leading up to Generation Z.  As parents, we can find our own generation, or perhaps the generations of our older children, to give context to the discussion of Generation Z.   Holding the mirror up to ourselves can be an interesting exercise!  We like, too, the explanation of how world developments have helped to shape each generation.  We understand our students better when we remember those world events which shaped their childhoods.

The study conducted by Seemiller and Grace is certainly thorough, but we like that this book also shares the research of many others.  The authors have woven a broad range of information throughout their book.  For anyone interested in learning even more about this generation, each chapter also contains a robust list of additional resources to follow up.

Parents will be especially interested in reading, in chapter 8, that Generation Z views their relationship with parents as one of a ”trusted mentor.”  According to the authors, ”This stems from the idea that Generation Z students like their parents, and 88 percent say they are extremely close to them. . . This close relationship certainly influences how these students tend to see their parents, which is as guides rather than enforcers or influencers.  That is why it is not surprising that we found that more than half of Generation Z students consult their parents on important matters.”

Generation Z Goes to College is a must-read for college educators who will be working with this generation of students for the next several years.  But this is also an important read for the parents of these students to help them understand their students in the context of their time and their peers.  Not only will parents better understand their students, they will be in a better position to understand how better to partner with their students and their students’ college as they work together to help these students flourish and gain independence.

About the authors:

Corey Seemiller is a faculty member in the department of Leadership Studies in Education and Organizations at Wright State University. She has worked as a leadership educator in higher education, K-12, non-profits, military, and in the community for more than 20 years. She is the author of The Student Leadership Competencies Guidebook.  Dr. Seemiller has also published articles on civic engagement, competency development, assessing leadership learning, and leadership educator identity development. Her research has taken her around the world for speaking, facilitating, and consulting. Dr. Seemiller received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Arizona State University, Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University, and Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Arizona.

Meghan Grace received her undergraduate degree in Communication Studies from Chapman University. Getting her Master’s in Higher Education from the University of Arizona, she pursued her career in student affairs. She served as a graduate assistant and coordinator for the Leadership Programs at the University of Arizona, where she taught courses in social entrepreneurship, event planning, leadership, and career readiness. Meghan currently serves as the Director of Undergraduate Programming & University Partnership for Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, where she coordinates orientation events and educational programs.

What the authors have to say about the book:

”We wrote this book because we wanted to share findings from our study, Generation Z Goes to College and other studies that would help educators, parents, employers, and students themselves understand Generation Z better.  We wanted specifically to frame this book in the context of higher education because Generation Z is already in college.”

”We have written this book as a way to share our findings and those from other studies to help educators, parents, employers, students, and anyone else interested in preparing for this generation as they enter college and adulthood.  As with any other book, keep in mind that here you will get information from a specific viewpoint.  Our perspective is that of two former student affairs professionals who not only have studied this generation but also have worked with Generation Z students directly.”

”In discussing Generation Z in this book, we have sought to interpret our data and the results of other social scientists’ research in a way that will provide a better understanding of this cohort of students and capture their peer personality, which includes the common age range, common beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, and perceived membership of the group.  Our goal is to explain and explore trends and similarities within Generation Z. . . Not every Generation Z student will align with every finding or topic in this book, and thus it is important to recognize and validate the differences among individuals in this group.  Just because an individual falls within this generation does not mean he or she will exhibit all the characteristics of the generation in its entirety. . . We recognize that there are outliers but do not focus on them.  Our hope is to better understand what makes this generation unique and provide insight into how to best engage these students during their time in higher education.”

What others have to say about the book:

”This refreshing, straightforward, and optimistic portrayal of today’s college student will change how educators develop, empower, and relate to them.”

Nancy Hunter Denney, Executive Director, Lead365 National Conference


Generation Z Goes to College is timely and relevant.  The authors skillfully capture the unique characteristics, styles, and motivations of Generation Z and identify tangible strategies to best educate, serve, and work with Generation Z in college.  The book is a must-read for any college student educator!”

            Paige Haber-Curran, Assistant Professor, Texas State University


”This book is fascinating. The authors are more than capable of drawing conclusions that offer insight in every generational group and it was interesting to see how the pivotal events of each cadre led them to being significantly different in philosophy and life style. The writing is superb. Clear and easy to understand. This book is actually a quick read… or would be if you didn’t have to sit back and think about the information.”

Amazon review


”I found the book to be very readable — very little techno-babble, just plain descriptions and explanations clearly written so that pretty much anyone could understand it.”

Amazon review


”Anyone that is interested in student success will learn from Generation Z Goes to College. The authors’ groundbreaking study provides leaders at all levels the understanding of today’s student that is critical to creating the conditions that help students thrive.”

Keith Humphrey, University Vice President and Pas President, ACPA-College Student Educators International

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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