As a college composition teacher and administrator for two decades, I have found it especially difficult--but also especially rewarding-to teach the critical reading and writing course. This course imparts literacy and intellectual skills so crucial to a college education and to life after college. Topics I have covered include popular culture, the environment, the influence of advertising and other media on consumer attitudes, American values, and many more. Unfortunately, students often say they find the readings irrelevant and boring. I generally respond by pointing out ways in which I believe the course material really does connect with students' lives. However, I've long wanted a book for the critical reading and writing class whose relevance to students would be more immediately evident. Despite years of searching, I couldn't find such a book, so with the help of a number of excellent teachers at the University of Cincinnati, I created one. The topic is college itself, the opportunities, challenges, and complexities it offers and how to make the most of them. What topic could be more relevant to students just starting out on their journey through the often-mysterious world of higher education? Throughout the United States, more than 1 million students are currently enrolled in first-year college composition. As one of those students, perhaps planning to major in business, biology, education, architecture, engineering, music, pharmacy, or some other preprofessional subject, you may well be wondering why you need to take this composition class in the first place. After all, haven't you already taken 12 years of English? What exactly is the point of yet another? One answer is that the class in which this book is being used focuses on key literacy skills that need to be developed at a higher level than was necessary for high school. Mastering these skills will help you considerably in your work as a college student, in your public role as an educated citizen, and in your career (or careers, since most people do not stay in the same field for their entire working lives). The Book's Purposes The goals of this course concern critical thinking, communication, and research skills, tools that are crucial no matter what field you may find yourself in. The reading and writing assignments included in this anthology will improve your ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate arguments, something you will doubtless be called on to do frequently in the years to come. The materials in this book will help you construct your own written arguments and interpretations, a process that also involves taking into consideration the views of others. In addition, the book will improve your ability to do research, using not only library and online sources but also field research techniques such as interview and field observation. Just as importantly, this book will also help you make the most of your college education by examining the following question from a variety of perspectives: What does it mean for me to be a college student? You will have the opportunity to read, write, think, and talk about this question and to do a research project investigating your intended major. Taken seriously, this book will help you gain a richer, clearer, and more complex sense of your own. goals for being in college, and this improved understanding will help you in your subsequent coursework and beyond. You are no doubt hoping to be successful in your college studies. However, as a close examination of the readings in this book will reveal, success is not simply about achieving high grades and attaining a high-paying job, important though these considerations may be. Success is also about finding satisfaction and fulfillment, about figuring out what you most want to do in life, about growing intellectually, and about making a difference in the lives of others. If this book isDurst, Russel K. is the author of 'You Are Here Readings on Higher Education for College Writers', published 2002 under ISBN 9780130277619 and ISBN 0130277614.