RFH Hosts “Transition to College” by Harlan Cohen

April 9th, 2014




RFH Hosts”Transition to College” Presentation

by Humorist and Best-Selling Author Harlan Cohen


Noted author and relationship expert Harlan Cohen visited RFH to help students and parents prepare for the transition to college life.

Rumson – Harlan Cohen, a nationally syndicated columnist and New York Times best-selling author on the topic of transitioning to college, brought his unique brand of humor and wisdom to parents and students at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School.

The presentation by Cohen was open to the general public and took place in the RFH Auditorium on the evening of March 27.

Fran Swift, Director of Guidance at RFH, organized the event in order to begin the conversation with seniors about the transition to college, as well as encourage underclassmen to apply Cohen’s perspective to their college search.

Cohen, a humorist and relationship expert, has visited more than 400 college campuses to reach students with his message of being yourself and making the most of your college years.

Through his college tours as well as his best-selling books, advice column, and website, Cohen has helped millions make the transition to life in college.

Setting the tone for a lighthearted yet enlightening event at RFH, Cohen opened his presentation by performing the song “My Roommate Stu”, which highlighted the fact that keeping an open mind can make all the difference when sharing a room with a stranger.

Describing himself as a transition expert, Cohen shared the story of his own college experience as well as some important guidelines that he wished he knew before making the leap into college life.

As a high-achieving high school senior, Cohen was accepted into the University of Wisconsin – Madison, which he described as his “dream school.” His lofty expectations were dashed during his freshman year when he failed to get a bid to pledge his top-choice fraternity, his high school sweetheart broke up with him, and his roommate (a nudist) left the campus.

Feeling miserable, he surrounded himself with other unhappy students and decided to transfer to another school. Surprisingly, once he decided to transfer, he began to have the great college experience he had dreamed of.

“I no longer cared who liked me, and I was no longer focused on ‘like me, want me, accept me,’” he said. “My focus was now on what I liked, and who I wanted to be friends with — not the other way around.”

Once he had transferred, Cohen faced the same type of obstacles — but with his newfound perspective, he found like-minded friends and ended up enjoying his college experience.

“To embrace the college experience you need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” he told the assembled students. “And you need to realize that it can take an average of two years to find really good friends.”

“Don’t be impatient, because impatient people are often tempted to do stupid things.”

Cohen suggested that students begin stepping out of their comfort zones during high school, and trying new activities and jobs so that they have a clear idea of what they enjoy — and what they don’t care for as well.

“Look for colleges and universities that offer activities that appeal to you, and then participate actively so you can find a good group of friends, Cohen said. “Just because a college is described as ‘perfect’ by someone else does not mean that it is perfect for you.”

Cohen’s books on the topic of transition include “The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College”, “The Naked Roommate’s First Year Survival Workbook”, “The Naked Roommate: For Parents Only”, and “Campus Life Exposed: Advice from the Inside”.

“The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues Your Might Run Into in College” takes a behind-the-scenes look at virtually every situation students will face in college, from sharing a bathroom with forty other people to sharing lecture notes.

Cohen has been a guest on numerous radio and television programs, including “The Today Show” on NBC. He has been featured as an advice expert in hundreds of publications including Psychology Today, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition.

His nationally syndicated “Help Me, Harlan!” advice column for teens and twenty-somethings is published in daily and college newspapers across the country and on the World Wide Web

Cohen’s free mini-course on college transition, which has been used by hundreds of universities across the U.S., is available at nakedroommate.com.



Mary Ann Kampfe, RFHRHS Public Relations

mkampfe@rumsonfairhaven.org or 908-347-8885