This handbook was written by a college professor to stimulate prospective students, their parents, teachers, career and guidance counselors to vigorously consider multiple paths for self-suficiency and career success. She also offers a peek into the academic side of 21st century college life. Finally, the author provides suggestions that will empower students to identify and pursue appropriate strategies for reaching their goals. Chapter 1 describes the author's educational experiences; Chapter 2 explains the relevancy of the project; Chapter 3 questions the relationship between being smart and the college degree; Chapter 4 touts the role of self-motivation in success; while Chapter 5 outlines the ways colleges have responded to better facilitate student learning; Chapter 6 illuminates some of the pitfalls students encounter when everyone is pushed to attend college; Chapter 7 closes with a sober accounting of the shortcomings of our current strategies, and rays of hope for improving everyone's opportunities. Ransom is a tenured faculty member at Gallaudet University in Washington DC. Earlier she worked with undergraduate students as a part-time instructor and staff member at several universities. Lillie is from a working class family in Cleveland Ohio and attended public schools there. She was accepted by all of the colleges she applied to, but chose to attend Oberlin College in Ohio, where she earned a Bachelor's of Arts in Communication Studies; after working for a year, she attended Gallaudet and received a Master of Arts degree in Deaf Education. At this point, Ransom assumed her formal education was over. However, through a series of unanticipated opportunities, she pursued and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. Ransom serves as a Deacon at Riverside Baptist Church-DC and also serves and raises funds for several n-pro it organizations in the DC metropolitan area, throughout the United States, and globally.