The Six Minute Book Summary of The Busy Adult’s Guide To Making College Happen by Geoffrey Schmidt

Executive Summary

            Many people that attend college for the first time usually do not realize the seriousness or the difficulty of attending college.  Most of the first time students are one’s that have just graduated from high school and think that college is going to be almost, if not exactly, the same as it was for them in high school.  Cramming at the last minute for a test, or never even having to study and still pull out A’s and B’s.  Newcomer’s think the only difference between the transitions is the total freedom from your parents and the party lifestyle that comes with the freedom. 

            The new college students are in for such a rude awakening once they take their first exam.  College is a completely different experience compared to high school.  Yes you do have the freedom and fun parties, but with such freedoms comes tons of responsibilities along with it.  It is totally up to you to be able to attend classes, do projects, and study for upcoming exams.  There is no one that will be there to hold your hand every step of the way like you had in high school. 

            Fortunately, here are a few helpful pointers that will help you with the transition from childhood to adulthood.  You must make productive use of all of your spare time.  You need to figure out where your “hidden gold” is and make productive use of it in order to do well in college. The use of “time management” is one that will not only help you succeed in college, but help you in long past that and into your career.  

            Find the major that is right for you!  The only way that college is going to be any easier for you is if you study for a career that will keep you interested in, and you wanting more out of it.  It is okay if you have not decided on a particular major right away, but one of the main focuses of attending college is finding yourself.  You do not want to choose a major that someone else is wants you to do just because they found success in that field.  Not everyone is the same person; everyone has a little difference in them.

            Finally, getting help and support from those that are around you to assist you on your long journey through college.  Your family is always going to be your biggest supporter of anything you do.  This is why it is important for you to have them around for moral support to assist you along the way.  And do not be afraid to ask any of your professors or advisors for any questions pertaining to your classes.  That is what they are there for, to teach and give you a hand with anything you may need in order for you to succeed.  You can also make use of the on-campus tutoring sessions that are provided to the students. 

The Ten Things Managers Need to Know from The Busy Adult’s Guide is:

  1. Make use of “time management” by using a daily planner to record your daily activities.
  2. Finding your “hidden gold” and making use of that spare time.
  3. Your family will always be there to be your biggest supporter.
  4. There has to be a balance between work time and planning fun time for you and your family.
  5. Make and maintain contacts that you have made throughout your lifetime.  You never know when they will come in handy in the future.
  6. Maintaining the motivation that has made you successful to remain successful in your not so distant future.
  7. Able to overcome those naysayer’s.
  8. Choosing the right applicant for the job opening at hand.
  9. Staying on top of your entire job requirements.
  10. Never just settle, always want more.

Full Summary of The Busy Adults Guide to Making College Happen.


            When deciding on whether or not college is for you, there are several factors that must be weighed out before you decide on being one that goes.  Going to college is very time consuming, but also very costly especially for an individual that has sat out of school after graduating from high school.  Even more difficult for one that has sat out and has already began starting a family.  Fortunately for those potential students, there are hundreds of colleges that have made it easy for those who have decided to go back to school to earn a college degree.  The author, Geoffrey Schmidt, was a person that fell right into this category.  Schmidt had already been out of school for eight years and was working different types of odd jobs ranging from construction to low paying sales jobs.  Until one day, his girlfriend at the time had already received her undergraduate’s degree and was close to finishing up with her master’s degree.  She came to Schmidt and laid it all out for him, she saw where the relationship was going for them and she needed him to choose a path that would be beneficial to both in order to continue their lives together.  After thinking about what his girlfriend had said to him, he did some thinking and realized that what she brought to his attention was what needed to be done.  He then began reading “success” books and stumbled across a simple success formula many people have lived by:  Determine what you want, where you want to go, and what is needed to get you from here to there.

Schmidt had realized what he wanted, which was in fact a college degree.  He changed jobs allowing him to not have to work late at night in order to be able to study and attend classes.  He found the college that was right for which was Northeastern Illinois University, which had a good business program.  He graduated magna cum laude-with high honors.  Then went on to Grad School at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, which has a premier MBA program.  How was he able to achieve all of this while starting a family and working a full time job?  Let’s find out!

Finding the Time:

            Time management becomes a key aspect in not only someone who is looking to go to college while working, but in life past that in order to be successful.  The best solution for enabling one to manage their time better, a daily planner!  When first starting off with a daily planner, you do not want to just write down the major events you have to do that day.  For example, only writing down when you have work or classes.  When you are just starting out with using a planner, you want to write down everything you do.  When you are eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, when you are watching television, when you are studying, etc…  You want to list everything you have planned that day so you can later find what Schmidt refers to as “hidden gold”.  You want to go back through your day and find those time periods that you do not have anything planned and turn that into having something planned.  This step is one that I personally adopted about two years ago.  I needed to become more organized with my studies being intertwined with me also working and partying.  I would write down my library time, tailgating for LSU football games, Saints games, even nap times.  It helped me find out the little down time that I had with everything going on and study in between for school. 

Finding the Motivation:

            “Success equals taking ongoing action steps toward your goal.”  Summarization, get off your butt and start doing something.  Motivation is key to starting your future.  Instead of drifting through life by just getting by, set a goal and motivate yourself to work towards achieving that goal.  However, there are other factors that do come into play for accomplishing your own goals.  One of the bigger reasons that people have as an obstacle in achieving their goals is the ability of procrastination.  When going through college, especially right after high school, most students have plenty of time for their studies and school work; they just do not use their extra time effectively.  A lot of the time, people like to procrastinate and throw something together at the last minute just to get by.  For most people, this philosophy will carry over into their professional career and some will fine and will not affect their future.  For the most part, most of the people with this philosophy on life will end up keeping them from a very luxurious lifestyle and leave you with a mediocre future. 

Begin With the Goal of Maximum Success:

            You have now decided to go to college, but what exactly do you want out of your whole college experience.  Do you just want to stop at getting your degree or do you want to go further than just a degree?  Perhaps go on to Grad School to obtain a Master’s Degree.  Or perhaps you do decide to go straight into the work force and start applying for job openings.  You will land a good job for a recent college graduate and be making a good start off salary and you will be content with this job at first.  What happens if you come to realize that your job is not as fulfilling as you thought it was when you first started?  You go and start the process all over again but only this time you go for a much better job with higher pay and higher standards.  Meaning better extracurricular activities, higher GPA, or a more impressive work experience.  All of which do come into affect when going through the job hiring process.  This is important because you do not want to get beat out by someone because of something that you could have prevented if only you had taken college more seriously.  Which is the case with anything you do in life because there will always be someone there that will be able to complete your job just as well, if not better, to replace you. 

Paying for College is Easier than You Think:

            One of the biggest factors that lead to people to choose to not attend college is that they feel that they cannot afford to go to college.  It may appear this way since the costs of attending college have risen in the past fifteen years to double the average costs of goods and services, however, being able to pay for college today is now easier than ever.  How is this so?  Surprisingly, it is our government which allows for us to do so!  The U.S. government looks at loaning money to citizen in need of it to attend college as a future investment for the entire nation.  The better educated you are, the likelihood of you getting a good job with good pay, which will then result into higher taxes. 

            The government and college’s are able to do so through four different forms of payment to go towards earning your college degree.  Two of the four forms of financial aid come to as a free form towards college; these are called grants and scholarships.  Grants are usually given to a student when their family’s average level of income is below normal standards.  In such cases, when a student receives a grant, it is pretty much considered receiving free money.  Another form of free payments towards college is not quite like a grant, scholarships are given by the university to pay for your tuition, but they come with a price.  Usually scholarships are given to someone that is a good athletic prospect to play on that school’s team.  You may also receive a scholarship is you excel in a particular subject or activity such as art or music.  The two types of loans that are not considered free are a Federal loan such as a Stafford or Perkins loan, or work study programs.  The Stafford and Perkins loan is probably the most common of loan to be issued.  You receive a loan and you are responsible to pay the loan back once you have graduated or earned a respectable job.  A work study program involves you working on campus for a wage or assistance towards tuition, which usually involves you working in your college of interest.

Education Programs:

            Many of the colleges today have had to adjust their curriculum in order to accommodate for such untraditional students.  Meaning students that are working a full-time job while attending classes, students with families, or even students which do not live in the immediate area of the university campus.  Colleges have move toward this accommodation by offering online classes and providing classes at off-campus building like the Livingston or St. Tammany campuses Southeastern provides.  Both of these are great for the untraditional student that has to accommodate for other obstacles that life has thrown in their path.

Choosing the Major that is Right for You:

            “Your major defines you!”  Once you have decided on the major that you think is right for you, you now have a direction into the path in which you want to take in life.  Even if you have been accepted into a college but have not yet decided on a major, you still have plenty of time to decide.  However, you want to decide on a major that is right for you, not just a major to get an easy degree with no general direction for your future.  A good place to start when trying to decide on your major is to construct a list.  This list will be composed of three sections listing your interests, hobbies, and different things you wanted to be when you were growing up.  You now have a starting point for deciding a major.  If for some reason that once you have decided on a major and realize that it is not the right one for you, not to worry because you can always change your major.  That is part of the whole college experience which is to help find the true you. 

Getting Support from your Family:

            If you are one of those people that are going to school and are in the midst of starting a family, your family is going to be your biggest supporter to help you get through this life changing obstacle.  They should be able to assist you in taking a little load off of your plate when it comes to little things around the house that someone else can easily do themselves.  Anything that your family can do to give you more time for you and your studies will add up in a tremendous amount.  But everything cannot always be about you and your studies.  There has to be some kind of play time for you otherwise you will overload yourself and go nuts!  This plays back to time management, you want to find all that spare time you have for your studies, but you want to also throw in some fun time as well. 

Here Comes the Opposition:

            In pursuit to obtaining your college degree, there are many obstacles that one will have to overcome in order to obtain that degree.  Every so often, some of those obstacles may include some of your closest friends.  I know this sounds ridiculous thinking that, “none of my friends would do that to me!”  It will depend on whether those friends are or have gone through what you are about to embark upon.  If your friends have or are going to go through what you will, than I am sure that they will be behind one-hundred percent.  It is the friends that were not successful or opted to not pursue a college degree that will be the obstacle to jump over.

 I can totally relate to this very situation.  My close friends from high school, there was about fifteen that I hung out with on a daily basis.  I and four others are the only ones that are still pursuing our degree.  The rest either chose not to attend college, or they did try and have given up on obtaining their degree.  Once I got to college, I was the only one of my friends from high school that chose to attend Southeastern so I made a new set of friends.  I started to hang around another group composed of about ten people, and of that ten only three have graduated.  I started to see myself fall off track and removed myself from that situation and moved on to another city.  My friends of now, all are attending school with the same kind of mindset which is to better ourselves and provide a happy and fortunate life for each other in our not so distant futures. 

            If there are any obstacles that are in your path that are preventing you from obtaining your goal, the easy solution would be to give up and let it bring you down.  What really defines a person’s character is how they are able to overcome those obstacles in life in order to obtain what your goal is in life.

What to do Your First Year:

            For most first time college students, they walk into the door thinking that college is going to be the same as high school except for a lot more partying.  You soon come to realize that college is absolutely nothing like high school.  You have now entered the grown up world!  No professor is going to hold your hand, make sure you do your work, or have your parents wake you up for class to make sure you get there on time.  There are a few helpful tips that can come in handy for any first year student to achieve success.  Utilizing your resources through the university is one of the better tips to help a new college student.  This is big for when scheduling classes, needing tutoring for classes, and asking for extra help from professors.  You can never go wrong for asking any kind of help when it comes to your future.  Staying organized is another tip.  This also plays in part with “time management”.  You will not be able to go solely off of pure memory in order to succeed in college.  Of course, study hard!  Probably the most obvious of all the tips given, but without a doubt the most over looked and never practiced.  I can almost guarantee you that it is a slim chance that any student has made it through college without ever having to study for any exam.

What to do Your Last Year:

            Congratulations, you have made it to the end of the tunnel and oh what a journey it has been.  But you do not want to slack off just yet; you still have one more full year before you walk across that stage.  Continue to stay on your studies as if you were a sophomore; even try to get an early start on your senior project paper (if you are assigned one).  You may even want to reward yourself by taking an interesting class that is outside of your curriculum.  As long as you keep one thing in mind, your end result is to walk across that stage and receive that diploma with your name on it. 

Getting a Job in Your Field:

            Once you are getting close to that final day to walk across that stage and move on into the working world, your next step is to get a job.  First, you need to get an interview in order to get any job of interest to you.  Although the more interviews that you apply for will indeed increase your chances of getting a good job, you also need to have good interviewing skills in order to get one of those jobs offered.  You can take classes either through your school or even off-campus classes to improve your interviewing skills.  When searching for a job to apply for, you can search at many different places to obtain job openings.  You can check around school in your college building on bulletins, you will flyers for openings for part time college students or full time college graduates.  You can even try e-recruiter services such as, this web-site will help you find a job to your appeal. 

Once you do get an interview, you want to make sure that you make a lasting impression for the interviewer to remember what separates you from the many applicants interested in the same opening.  You want to be informed of the company’s vision and mission and be able to ask any questions about the company and the company’s future.  The more you know about the company, the better the impression you make and the likelihood of you getting another interview.  

Many Levels Left to Climb:

            Congrats, you have made it to the top of the mountain.  But, do not just stop with this one life changing goal that you have set for yourself.  Create a new goal, and keep climbing those mountains to reach the best of all of your expectations.  That is what life is all about, overcoming obstacles and getting right back up and hurdle the next obstacle that is put in front of you.  Do not just be satisfied with settling for something that you can gain more from.  Continue to climb, continue to achieve, and when you do so, life will reward you for all of your hard work and determination. 

Why I think:

            The author is one of the most brilliant people around because it is not every day that someone is capable to graduate from one of the most prestigious Business School’s with a master’s degree.  I more so admire the fact that this man was able to do so all while working a full time job and while raising a family.  I use to work two part time jobs all while being a full-time student at Southeastern.  I could not imagine how difficult it must be to attend school while working a forty plus hours a week and starting a family.  The thought just sends chills up my spine.  Plus this man received his undergraduate’s degree as magna cum laude with honors.  Anyone that is able to accomplish such a tremendous feat has nothing but the upmost respect from me.

If I were the author of the book, I would have done these three things differently:

            I would not have mentioned my wife as much throughout the book as Mr. Schmidt had done in his book.  Now I know that she was his inspiration to go back to school, however, I just think that he stayed focused on the objectives at hand instead of mentioning her as much.

            I also would have tried to appeal to not just the reader’s that are thinking of going back to school, but to the reader’s that are looking for a little more direction while are about to attend college.  There were many different topics that were mentioned throughout this book that are great tools for anyone that is attending college, some of which I have used myself while attending Southeastern.  It just seemed more focused towards the reader that has sat out of school for a few years and are interested in going back. 

            Finally, I think that Mr. Schmidt should have touched on a little bit more about what to do after you have obtained your college degree.  The book mostly focused on what to do before going to college, it does not cover too much about what to do after you have finished college.

Reading this book made me think differently about the topic in these ways:

            The Busy Adults Guide made me realize that I wish I could turn back time and start over with college.  If I had read this book before my first day of orientation, I probably would not have ended up in the situation of being on academic probation for three years.  I would like to think that I would be sitting quite nicely instead of having to stress over whether or not I would be graduating in December or not!

            This book has made me realize to continue on the path of making and maintaining those friends that have been such a positive influence in my life the past few years.  Because it is true, positive friends around you set up for positive things to come. 

            Last but not least, it has brought to my attention that I should look into classes for preparing for a job interview.  Southeastern has had some classes that have touched on the subject, but the more prepared you are for a job interview the better the chance you have to land the job you are interviewing for. 

I’ll apply what I’ve learned in this book in my career by:

            I will always remember to make good use of my spare time directed towards my job and career.  Instead of using all of my spare time to just relax and watch television, I will try and make use of this time to work towards my job work at home to stay on top, if not ahead, of the game. 

            I will continue to hang on to my friends and contacts that I have made while attending college just in case if there is ever a time that I will need in my future.  It is true, it’s not always what you know, but sometimes it is who you know.

            Finally, I will continue to use a daily planner to stay organized and stay aware of important dates that will be coming up in the future.  If you miss one of those important dates, it is not going to be like college where all you get is a zero on a grade, instead it may cost you a job in the end.

Here is a sampling of what others have said about the book and the author:

            There were two people that had reviews on that said that said that this was a truly inspirational book.  The book gave them a lot of insight to making going back to college and helping them finding the time to juggle both the responsibilities of school and home life.  The fact that he uses his own life as an example to show how easy it was to go back to school and earning his undergraduates and masters degree is truly inspirational.


Mclaughlin, Margaret.  (March 10, 2009) The Busy Adult’s Guide to Making College Happen.

            Retrieved March 25, 2010, from Amazon’s Review website:


Schmidt, Geoffrey (2008).  The Busy Adult’s Guide to Making College Happen.  Chappaqua, NY:  Break Free Publishing LLC.


To contact the author of this “Summary and Review of The Busy Adult’s Guide,” please email


David C. Wyld ( is the Robert Maurin Professor of Management at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. He is a management consultant, researcher/writer, and executive educator. His blog, Wyld About Business, can be viewed at He also serves as the Director of the Reverse Auction Research Center (, a hub of research and news in the expanding world of competitive bidding. Dr. Wyld also maintains compilations of works he has helped his students to turn into editorially-reviewed publications at the following sites: