Many undergraduate students struggle with the transition to college life, but “The Gold Book” by Capri Wroten is a guide to make the process easier.
Wroten, a graduate student in the College Student Personnel Administration program said her own experiences as an undergraduate inspired her to write the book.
“In college I just didn’t feel like I knew enough, whether it was questions I had that people weren’t able to fully answer, or I didn’t know the proper terminology so it would create barriers to resources almost,” Wroten said. “I want to provide students with the knowledge to at least know what questions they should be asking, what they should be looking for at different institutions when it comes to resources to help students.”
“The Gold Book” was written specifically with Black students in mind, Wroten said, as many Black students are disadvantaged by barriers to resources in higher education.
“It’s in the National Center for Education statistics, [that] Black students are 20 percent below the national average when it comes to students graduating at a six-year rate,” Wroten said. “And I thought that was very important, because it’s one thing for students to get into the program or get into higher education, and then it’s another thing for them to graduate.”
Wroten said she used much of what she learned while transitioning to college when writing “The Gold Book” and wanted to make that knowledge accessible to anyone seeking it, so she released individual volumes online.
“I think there are too many barriers when it comes to education already, and most of its knowledge I’ve acquired, or some of the time I bring in experts … in the field who are better versed with these different topics than I am,” Wroten said. “But I made it free because nobody has ever charged me to ask a question, so I didn’t think it was fair to charge students for them to just gain more knowledge if they’re seeking it.”
Dominique Peel, a graduate student at SIUE in the College of Personnel Administration from Chicago, helped Wroten and contributed to an edition of “The Gold Book.” He said the book’s content was influenced by the Success Coach mentoring model, as the book serves as a mentor. Peel learned about the model, which is practiced in the Office of Student Conduct, through Assistant Director of Student Conduct Prince Robertson.
“When you have a student … that violated the Student Code of Conduct, instead of them giving them a sanction that you’re like, writing a paper or just doing something that they might not [do], go try to mentor them and give them a success coach to where they are, so they can learn and gain a mentor throughout this,” Peel said.
Peel wrote about time management, which will be featured in a later volume.
“Making sure people understand the importance of goal-setting, the importance of being organized, positive affirmations to remind yourself that you can do this and just making sure that the students understand what they’re getting themselves into,” Peel said.
Ebony Davis, a graduate student in social work at Loyola University, contributed knowledge about journaling to the first volume of “The Gold Book.” She said she hopes the book can be a form of instruction for undergraduate students.
“I’m also hoping that “The Gold Book” is something that becomes a little bit more widespread, because I remember when I was an undergrad, how difficult it was to navigate in that space, because we didn’t have resources like this to look at and figure out like, ‘OK, I’m struggling with mental health, this is where I go or this is what I can do,’” Davis said. “Or, ‘I’m struggling with getting adjusted to college life, this is who I can reach out to and talk to.’ I’m also hoping that it can kind of serve as a form of mentorship, just a little bit.”
Volume One of “The Gold Book” is available online at thegoldbook2020.com.