A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Strong themes of perseverance and self-control emerge from lessons explicitly taught to students, like differentiating between necessities and luxuries and learning to indulge only in luxuries you can afford while making sure you have enough money to pay for necessities.
Positive Role Models
Michelle Obama is relatable, intelligent in the speech she gives to students that's excerpted in each episode of the show, mining her own life for instructive examples -- e.g., when she explains that moving into the White House was easier than it might have been because throughout her life, she'd learned to make transitions and didn't "quit when it felt hard." Other participants candidly reveal times when they were successful or unsuccessful with challenges, providing real-life examples. Most interviewees, students and professionals alike, are people of color.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Student's Guide to Your First Year of College is a series of short lessons that guides graduating seniors through the finer points of leaving home for college. Short interviews with experts including former First Lady Michelle Obama take issues students face seriously, and treat their problems and solutions with respect. Interviewees often illustrate points with examples from their own lives. Lessons center around themes of perseverance and self-control, traits students are expected to learn over time in college along with subject matter. Many experts and students interviewed are people of color, and several mention they are the first person in their family to attend college.
Is It Any Good?
Students are in good hands with this YouTube series that walks them gently through leaving home and thriving at college. Michelle Obama, whose advice is mostly culled from a long talk she gave an audience of students that's excerpted throughout the episodes, proves to be a terrifically empathetic knowledge-dropper, who obviously remembers her own college days well. "When my dad dropped me off at college," she says in voice-over as photos of her as a grade schooler and then a graduate fill the screen, "I was excited, but I was also scared and overwhelmed." Sounds about right.
Along with Michelle Obama's advice, other experts offer their take on college's finer points: the difference between what tuition costs vs. how much it costs to actually support yourself while going to school, what things parents might have done for students that students will now find themselves doing alone (waking up in the morning and laundry figures largely into discussion). Throughout A Student's Guide to Your First Year of College, students are assured that they can do it: "These spots are coveted," Ms. Obama says about students who are accepted to college. "They didn't make a mistake."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.