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Alumnus Writes Book About College Survival

By Carrie Secondo
Four years ago, a friend asked Steve Gladis to give her college-bound son, Brian, some advice about the first year of college. Instead of sitting Brian down for a talk, Gladis penned a letter that outlined 10 essential keys to a successful first year at college. After learning how seriously Brian took the advice written in the letter, Gladis submitted it to the the Washington Post, and it was published in a special education supplement.

"I got a lot of enthusiastic response from parents, kids, and teachers, based on the Post article, " Gladis said. The response he received from Washington Post readers inspired Gladis to expand his ideas into his recently published book titled Surviving the First Year of College: Myth Vs. Reality. He noted, "I decided to write a brief book--knowing that when most kids finish their senior year of high school, they're typically not looking to read a book on making it through school that is the length of War and Peace." The concise guide covers survival tips on topics including study habits, class attendance, the importance of a successful attitude, and the benefit of study groups. "This is a public service project. The publisher did the printing for free, and I donate all my profits. The hope is that kids will read this brief book and save themselves from the pitfalls of the first year."

Gladis received his master's and Ph.D. degrees from George Mason and is now director of the University of Virginia's Northern Virginia Center for continuing education. He also teaches classes at George Mason, and writes on public relations issues.

His book is available for individuals to download free of charge at the publisher's website, Schools interested in downloading the book for distribution to high school students and college freshmen may do so for a nominal licensing fee. As mentioned, Gladis will donate all author proceeds to educational charities.

This survival guide is not the first time Gladis has seen his name on a book cover--he has published nine other books on writing, communication, writing and speaking for law enforcement officers, systematic writing strategies, public speaking, and writing styles and has written more than 30 journal or magazine articles.

A committed civic and academic leader, Gladis serves on the Executive Board of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Washington Math Science Technology Public Charter High School, and sits on the University of Virginia's Faculty Senate.

Gladis lives in Annandale with his family, and his book is dedicated to his two daughters, Kimberly and Jess. "They're both exceptional students, but I did pay Jess, my 17-year-old, to proof and edit the book--to make sure she'd actually read it," Gladis said.

In 1968, the same year he graduated with a B.A. in English from Providence College, Gladis enlisted in the military. He served as a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps and is a Vietnam veteran who holds six medals, including combat decorations. Gladis spent 20 years with the FBI as a special agent.

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