Information for the parents of college students
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Category — Reviews and Reading Lists

Book Review – Out to Sea: A Parents’ Survival Guide to the Freshman Voyage

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  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 offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone.  Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

Out to Sea: A Parents’ Survival Guide to the Freshman Voyage by Kelly Radi is an easy-to-read, helpful book for parents about to send their child off to college.  Radi uses the metaphor of a ship setting sail to help parents understand, and become more comfortable with, the process of helping their child start out, and succeed, in college.

Part One of the book, Preparing to Set Sail, is a good reminder to parents that any good voyage requires preparation.  We like the practical advice that Radi provides, as well as her ability to help parents grapple with defining their own role.  The “helicopter parent” quiz in chapter 2 is particularly telling, and takes this often overused term and defines what it looks like in students’ and parents’ real life.  Parents can find out early how much of their own work they may need to do to help launch their child.  What follows is great practical advice on everything from money discussions, what to pack, and how to think about getting around campus.

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February 23, 2017   No Comments

Parents: Top Ten Books to Read – Or to Gift

Parenting is hard work.  Those of us who have been parents for a while know how difficult it can be.  And as parents, we sometimes seek advice from the “experts,” whether those experts are our friends, our own parents, our medical providers, or sometimes those who make it their business to work with and study parents.

We all need a little advice – and a little perspective.

Here’s a list of our top ten picks of good reads for parents as they think about their teenage, college age, or young adult.  But the key is that it helps to start thinking and building the foundation early.  Some of the experts tell us that our parenting style when our children are very young can influence how they function and cope as young adults.

We’ve reviewed all of these books and we think they can provide parents with guidance – or at least plenty of food for thought.  If you’re already a college parent, it’s not too late!  But if you have younger children, use these to get a head start.  If you know someone with younger children, consider one (or more) of these as gifts to give them a head start.

Read our reviews.  Pick one or two or three.  Read them. Share them. Form a book club. Start conversations.

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December 12, 2016   No Comments

Book Review: The Gift of Failure

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  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 offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

The Gift of Failure, by Jessica Lahey, is an important book, not only for parents of college-aged students, but to parents with younger children as well. This book highlights an essential, and often missing, element of today’s childhood – failure.  As the title suggests, allowing our children – whether they are toddlers or college students – to fail, as painful as that may be for us, can be one of the best gifts we can give them.

Lahey acknowledges that as students get older, the stakes get higher, and it becomes more difficult to watch them struggle and potentially fail at college essays, college courses, and job interviews.  The earlier the work can begin, the better.  But it is never too late.  It is difficult and sometimes frightening work for parents, but it is necessary.

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November 18, 2016   No Comments

Book Review: Your Online College Course Survival Guide: How to Make the Grade and Learn in the Virtual Classroom

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  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 offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

This month we’re reviewing a book that parents should recommend or gift to their student who may be taking an online course.  As more colleges offer online courses, more students are taking them, but many students find themselves unprepared for a very different type of learning environment.  Online learning can be a great thing, or a stumbling block – and much of the difference has to do with how prepared the student is.

Your Online Course Survival Guide: How to Make the Grade and Learn in the Virtual Classroom by Jacqueline Myers is a wonderful tool for students who are experiencing their first online course – or who have been less than successful in an online course in the past.  As the author states early in her book, “students who succeed in online classes come prepared to work independently, stay organized and focus on self-motivation.” Not every student begins with these traits, but this book can help many students gain and hone these skills.

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August 18, 2016   No Comments

Book Review – Success and Sanity on the College Campus: A Guide for Parents

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  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.  See our Resources and Tools page for suggestions.

This month we’re reviewing Success and Sanity on the College Campus: A Guide for Parents by Diana Trevouledes and Ingrid Grieger.  This is an important book for parents with students who are headed to or already in college.  Success and Sanity is a comprehensive book, covering many of the topics that we have covered on College Parent Central, and they are crucial topics for college parents.

Chapter 1 of the book helps parents understand “the basic framework for distinguishing between those situations that students should be encouraged to manage on their own and those that require parental intervention.”  This distinction between parental support and helicopter parenting is the basis for the successful parent/student relationship.  We think it is important that the book begins on this basic level so parents can understand their role before moving on.

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February 18, 2016   No Comments

Book Review: Straight A’s Are Not Enough

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  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.  See our Resources and Tools page for suggestions.

This month we’re considering a book that is intended for your student, but we recommend it for parents to review first and then to pass on.  Parents should read Straight A’s Are Not Enough first because as parents, we, too, need to be reminded that getting an education is about more than grades.  We can’t expect our students to focus on education rather than grades if we don’t value the broader education as well.

But be sure to pass this book on to your student.  The book is intended to help students study better, and smarter, to be able to move beyond simply grades to a true education.  One of the strengths of this book is that, as the author discusses true learning, she fills the book with strategies that are bound to raise any student’s grades in the process.  Chapter after chapter is filled with exercises, review questions, techniques and strategies for better studying – what the author terms the ‘intentional approach’. The book has over 100 strategies for students to employ that cover everything from approaches to learning to notetaking to rediscovering the excitement of reading and mental processing.

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January 14, 2016   No Comments

Book Review: Put College to Work

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  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.  See our Resources and Tools page for suggestions.

Parents should read Kat Clowes’ book Put College to Work, but more importantly, they should give a copy to their college students.  Subtitled, How to Use College to the Fullest to Discover Your Strengths and Find a Job You Love Before You Graduate, this book offers practical advice to students in a tone and manner they will read.  The book is clearly written for students, and the author’s chatty, readable style will appeal to these readers.

Clowes begins her book with the timeline of her own life.  She explains clearly to students that she made mistakes, or missed opportunities, and she’s here to help them avoid those same mistakes.  The realism of her story is compelling.  She’s obviously found success – and fulfillment – but it took her a long time to get there.

Put College to Work is divided into four sections, which build upon each other.  The book begins by helping students learn about themselves – Put Yourself to Work.  Students learn the importance of knowing who they are before they can begin to forge their path.  Section two, titled Succeed in School, helps students make the most of their time and experiences in college.  Section three, Succeed After College, gets to the nitty gritty of using the resources of college, such as the career center, internships, conferences, and alumni networks, to move into the world of work.  The final section, Having a Particular Set of Skills, helps students think specifically about how to make the most of job fairs, networking, resumes and cover letters, interviews and social media profiles.

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November 19, 2015   No Comments

Book Review: A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  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.  See our Resources and Tools page for suggestions.

This month we’re looking at a book that isn’t specifically about college parenting, but will be helpful to all parents as you live through those teenage years and prepare for the college years.  A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens by Joani Geltman is subtitled Talking to Your Kids About Sexting, Drinking, Drugs, and Other Things That Freak You Out.  Parents often do “freak out” as they approach the college years and this book may help them feel a little more comfortable.

Geltman is a psychologist who has both worked with parents for several years, but also taught college students.  She looks at teen issues and parenting as a professional counselor, a college instructor, and a parent.  We think this triple perspective is part of what makes this book so helpful.  Geltman’s style is down-to-earth, no-nonsense, practical and easy to read.

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October 26, 2015   No Comments

Book Review: How to Raise an Adult

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  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.  See our Resources and Tools page for suggestions.

Julie Lythcott-Haims’ new book How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success is required reading for college parents, but by then it is almost too late.  This book should be on the required list for parents of elementary, middle school and high school parents as well.  The sooner that parents begin to think about the issues that Lythcott-Haims raises, the easier it will be to break bad habits, and the fewer problems parents and their kids will face.

Julie Lythcott Haims presents her compelling questions early in the book: “How does a parent travel from that place of wanting to utterly protect an infant to the place of letting them go out into the waiting world?”  This is the question we all face as parents – and the reason parents of young children should read this book early.  The author goes on to question, “When we’re tempted to let our presence be what protects them, we need to ask, To what end?  How do we prevent and protect while teaching kids the skills they need?  How do we teach them to do it on their own?” This book helps parents explore the answers to these questions.

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August 20, 2015   No Comments

Book Review: It’s the Student Not the College

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 and beyond.  We’ve offered some 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’ll take a look at It’s the Student, Not the College: The Secrets of Succeeding at Any School Without Going Broke or Crazy by Kristin M. White.

It’s the Student Not the College should be on every parent’s reading list – and probably on their student’s list as well.  It is important reading for college parents, but even more important reading for high school parents whose students are still in the midst of the admission process.  We agree wholeheartedly with the premise of the book.  According to the author, “the message at the heart of this book (is) that success is within a person’s own power and will not be determined by the college (a student) attends.”

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July 27, 2015   No Comments