10 Books Every College Freshman Needs to Read

Need something extra to throw in your college student's care package? These inspirational books will help them feel right at home on their new campus.


The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion, by Elle Luna 

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Is your freshman overwhelmed at the prospect of choosing (and sticking with) a college major? This book is full of advice on finding your “true calling,” and will inspire students to take that one class—Painting! Music! Fiction Writing!—that will be creatively fulfilling.

To buy: $10, amazon.com.


Why Didn't They Teach Me This in School?: 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By, by Cary Siegel

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So many college students will complain that they were underprepared for financial obligations after graduation—so give your freshman a leg up on his or her friends with this easy-to-understand financial guide to budgeting, debt, credit cards, taxes, and more.

To buy: $12, amazon.com.


Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps, by Kelly Williams Brown

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It might seem like the “real world” is still eons away, but it'll sneak up faster than they'd expect. This funny, lighthearted handbook to adulthood was based off of Brown’s popular blog, Adulting, and will make grown-up life seem much less scary.

To buy: $9, amazon.com.


Color Me Stress-Free: 100 Coloring Templates to Unplug and Unwind, by Lacy Mucklow

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When exams roll around, every freshman will need something to help relax and de-stress. Enter this beautiful, adult coloring book. Send it in a care package with a set of colored pencils, and your student can sit in bed for hours in a post-midterms trance.

To buy: $10, amazon.com.


Commencement, by J. Courtney Sullivan

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A fictional story about four unlikely friends as they travel through their four years at Smith College, this novel will give college freshmen something to look forward to. It follows them from day one on campus all the way through one of the girls’ weddings. It’s the perfect read for when she is taking a much-needed break from her studies.

To buy: $11, amazon.com.


52 Cups of Coffee: Inspiring and insightful stories for navigating life's uncertainties, by Megan Gebhart

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This collection of stories takes networking to a new level—when Megan Gebhart graduated college, she didn’t opt for the traditional career path, and instead decided to have a cup of coffee with someone new every single week. For any college student intimidated by the prospect of meeting new people, this is the perfect inspiration.

To buy: $12, amazon.com.


Seuss-isms! A Guide to Life for Those Just Starting Out...and Those Already on Their Way, by Dr. Seuss 

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They’ve already been told about the places they’ll go, but this pocket-sized book is filled with even more wisdom from their favorite childhood author. On nights when they’re feeling particularly homesick, they can take comfort from familiar characters—like Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, and even the Grinch.

To buy: $9, amazon.com.


Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World, by Lindsey Pollak

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Career expert Lindsey Pollak offers a 90-step plan to a successful undergraduate experience and post-graduate career. From making over a resume, to creating a base for success on campus, Pollak offers easy strategies and solutions that every young student needs to know.

To buy: $11, amazon.com.


Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day, by Leanne Brown

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Every college student wants to be able to eat good food for less money—which is exactly the aim of this cookbook. As a bonus: For each copy of the cookbook purchased, a second copy will be given to a family in need.

To buy: $10, amazon.com.


The Real Simple Guide to Real Life, by the editors of Real Simple

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From salary negotiations to apartment decorating, the real world is filled with a lot of new experiences. With this book, your student can tackle (and prepare for) any hurdle that’ll come up in the home or the office, with timeless-yet-practical advice from the editors of Real Simple. After reading a few pages, you might want this on your shelf, too.

To buy: $17, amazon.com.