Book Review: Sending Your Child to College – The Prepared Parent’s Operational Manual

There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve created lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Check out our Resources and Tools page for suggestions.

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  In this review, we’re taking a look at Sending Your Child to College: the Prepared Parent’s Operational Manual by Marie Pinak Carr and her daughters, Katharine Carr, Ann Carr, and Elizabeth Carr.  This book, aptly named a manual, is full of practical information and helpful charts and forms for parents to use as they help their student get ready to head off to college.

Unlike many ”off to college” books for parents, Sending Your Child to College: The Prepared Parent’s Manual does not contain a lot of narrative about the transition to college and understanding the background and thinking of college age students.  Instead, this book stays true to the ”manual” concept suggested in its title.  This book is full of practical advice, lists, forms and charts which parents can use as they get ready to send their child off to college.  Sample chapter titles suggest the practical nature of the book — Paperwork Mountains — Prepare to Climb, Do You Want to Pay for Insurance Twice?, The Dorm Room — A Well Stocked Locker, Muscling in on Moving, Controlling Debt in College. There’s even a section of a chapter on FEMA suggestions for preparing for hurricanes and tornadoes.

Each chapter in Sending Your Child to College begins with a checklist (lists are important during the college transition!).  We also particularly like the feature which lists ways to ”Save more money by . . .” at the beginning of many chapters.   Margin notes throughout the chapters point to ”tips” and ”cautions” which may be especially useful to students.  The book also includes many forms ready to be used.  From budget forms, personal property inventory forms, and health forms, the blanks are there ready to be filled in. The final chapter of the book has an extensive list of web resources for everything from airlines to hotels and textbooks sales.

Much of Sending Your Child to College is actually not for parents.  There is useful information aimed directly at students.  If anything, the title of the book is misleading — and limiting.  The book is useful for parents and students as they plan together for college.  We hope that parents and students will look at, and use, this book together.  Parents may most appreciate the checklists and forms, while students will appreciate the tips and suggestions.  For anyone looking for a book that will help as they roll up their sleeves and get down to the business of preparing to head off to college, Sending Your Child to College: The Prepared Parent’s Operational Manual will prove to be a useful tool.

About the authors:

Marie Pinak Carr , a graduate of Syracuse University, after building a successful career, chose to become a full time mom to her three daughters.  She was actively involved in her daughters’ lives through their elementary and high school years.  As her daughters grew, she became involved with their college admissions process and then worked on getting to know the ropes of college and all of the challenges that students and families face during this time of transition.  Marie and her husband live in Washington, DC with their three daughters (when the girls are not away a college).

In order to include a student perspective in Sending Your Child to College, Marie worked with her three daughters on this book.  Katharine Marie Carr received her BS from Emory and a BRN from Georgetown.  She is a nurse.  Ann Louise Carr is a senior at Texas A&M University.  Elizabeth Ashby Carr is a junior majoring in hotel management and business at Boston University.

What the author has to say about the book:

”I wish I knew then what I know now.  How many times have we all heard this?  So much has changed since we were in college both in laws, rules, regulations, and in the resources that colleges make available to help.  There are many things that the student needs to do to prepare for college and also a lot that parents need to do and learn before they wave good-bye at the airport or dorm. . . A lot happens between being accepted and the first day of class.  I hope this book will make the journey easier.  My daughters have added chapters, comments and suggestions to help lower the parental anxiety level.  Be organized, plan ahead, and make the most of these exciting years.”


What others have to say about the book:

”Don’t leave home without this manual . . . A great graduation gift for both parents and children as they all go off to college.”

Clark Isaacs, Clark’s Eye on Books, Kingman Daily Miner


”Carr overlooks no detail and includes such topics as dorm life, banking, insurance, identity theft, budgets and more.”

All About Kids Magazine


”This is an indispensable handbook for any parent facing the college years, whether it’s the first year or even the last — the advice is valuable for each year the student is enrolled.”

Amy C. Rea, ForeWord Magazine


”Practical advice includes everything from shopping lists to general planning tips for parents to help their child make the most of these exciting years.”

Boston University’s e-parent newsletter

Note: Some links in our post are for affiliate products. If you use our links, College Parent Central receives a small percentage of your purchase price. This does not change the cost to you.  We think it’s only fair to let you know that.

Related Posts:

Parenting College Students: Recommended Reading List

Parenting College Students: More Recommended Reading

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