Recommended Reading

While many books exist on the topic of college transition, ISU recommends the following books to help parents and families ease into the transition of sending a student to college.

Don't Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money : The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years
by Helen E. Johnson, et al (Paperback - May 2000)

Kirkus Associates:  This concrete, easy-to-use guide is designed to help anxious parents support and understand their newly fledged children as they weather the slings and arrows of the first year of college. Johnson (Assistant Dean of Students/Cornell) and Schelhas-Miller (Adolescent Development/Cornell) possess decades of professional experience as college counselors, and their easy expertise is obvious. Despite glib overtones--the work at times reads like a transcript from a Power Point talk given at a generic freshman orientation--the authors address difficult issues with varying degrees of success.

 Certain basic assumptions--parental acceptance of teen sex (even to the point of providing off-to-college birth control pills) and the equally underplayed acceptance of underage drinking and drugging--might be obstacles for some readers, as might gender- and class-based generalizations, such as those addressed to young women on campus and individuals who are the first in their family to attend college.

Despite these caveats, however, most potential first-year situations--from academic probation and credit-card sprees to date rape and eating disorders--are discussed in level, clear language designed to help parents allow their children to cope.

The authors' main message (that parenting style should evolve from daily caregiving to more of a mentoring relationship) is clear and consistent, and seems sane and grounded guidance. Both a useful guide and a literary security blanket, offering familiar comforts and good, solid advice in a text-dense sea of boxes, lists, and resources for further reading. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates


When Your Kid Goes to College; A Parent's Survival Guide
by Carol Barkin (Paperback - April 1999)

Carol Barkin, April 5, 1999:  When my son was preparing to go to college, I got together now and then with a group of other parents of college-bound kids. All of us felt completely at sea--we wondered how to cope with our anxiety and confusion, where to get answers to our numerous questions, and what to say to our kids, who were full of fears and self-doubts as well as excitement.

Having an understanding group to discuss things with was tremendously helpful to me. It was such a relief to discover that I wasn't the only parent going through emotional ups and downs as my child got ready to leave home. At the same time, I benefited from learning what other families had done about filling out forms, choosing courses, dealing with financial aid requirements, deciding what to pack, and all the thousands of unfamiliar tasks that filled our days.

Sending your child to college is hard in lots of ways. You have to step back just when you want to hold on; you're proud of your kid but secretly afraid he won't know how to handle his new responsibilities; once the semester begins, you're concerned when she's homesick but hurt when she's obviously too busy to think about home.

When I decided to write this book, I wanted to recapture the feeling of my informal "support group" and to provide a range of useful answers to parents' questions. I interviewed many real-life parents from all over the US whose kids were attending, or about to attend, a wide variety of colleges; it was startling to realize how much their differences were outweighed by the universal feelings and concerns. I hope my book will reassure parents that they are not alone, that nearly every parent of a college-bound kid is groping for answers to the same questions and grappling with the same anxieties, and that there really are ways to get through the whole stressful process.


133 Ways to Avoid Going Cuckoo When the Kids Fly the Nest : A Parent's Guide for Surviving Empty Nest Syndrome
by Lauren Schaffer, Sandy Fleischl Wasserman (Paperback - July 2001)

What's a parent to do when the kids leave home? Mixing humor with practical advice, Lauren Schaffer and Sandy Fleischl Wasserman's 133 Ways to Avoid Going Cuckoo When the Kids Fly the Nest is a good friend to laugh with, a shoulder to cry on, and a manual of sound advice to help those in need keep their sense of humor while riding the emotional roller coaster of Empty Nest Syndrome. Their essential, indispensable tips and strategies encompass everything from the painful first days to return visits to expressing your new empty-nester self.  Publisher.


Almost Grown : Launching Your Child from High School to College
by Patricia Pasick (Paperback - March 1998)

Ingram:  Offering intelligent counsel in this time of tumult, as a child makes the transition from high school to college, "Almost Grown" tackles the key questions parents have about this time, explores the impact on family stability, and examines the challenges and opportunities which nontraditional families face.


Letting Go : A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years
by Karen Levin Coburn (Preface), Madge Lawrence Treeger (Preface) (Paperback - July 1997)

"Sending a child off to college can be jolting as well as joyous. Letting Go offers a treasury of insights into this rite of passage rooted not in psychological jargon but in experience and common sense. -- Edward B. Fiske, author of The Fiske Guide to Colleges

"The original Letting Go has served as a seminal source of information to families and their college-bound children for many years. This updated edition adds contemporary elements (especially in technology and diversity of student population) which will make this volume invaluable for years to come." -- Larry Moneta, Vice Provost for University Life, University of Pennsylvania

"The third edition of Letting Go is better than ever. It is must reading for parents embarking with their son or daughter on the college experience. Information is relevant, current, practical, and easy to understand. It introduces parents to college issues, challenges, and services available at colleges and universities in the 1990s." -- Dr. Patricia A. Whitely, Vice President for Student Affairs, University of Miami

"A sensitive, informative and well-written guide to help parents know what their children are getting into when they leave for college. Full of practical advice and psychological insight, it's a better antidote than Valium for the anxieties parents feel as they prepare to let their children go." -- Ben Leiber, Dean of Students, Amherst College


Empty Nest, Full Heart : The Journey from Home to College
by Andrea Van Steenhouse, Johanna Parker (Mass Market Paperback - 1998)

Beginning with the senior year in high school, moving through the summer year after graduation, the final departure for college and the freshman year, Andre Van Steenhouse offers a lighthearted, yet savvy look at this turbulent time through her generous and compassionate world view, making it lively, humorous, and emotionally resonant. She has interviewed hundreds of families making this difficult passage and includes their stories while providing her trademark sensitivity for handling each stage of the journey.  Publisher.


Becoming a Wise Parent for Your Grown Child : How to Give Love and Support Without Meddling
by Ph.D. Betty Frain, Eileen M. Clegg (Contributor) (Paperback - October 1997)

Ingram: A warm, practical, and insightful guide for the caring parents of grown kids gives parents a step-by-step approach for handling the many problems that can arise with adult children--and offers a new model for the full-functioning, nontraditional, multigenerational family that views problems as a shared challenge.


For Parents Only: From Homeroom to Dorm Room
by Julia Johnston, et al (Paperback - August 2000)

There are many plusses in this user-friendly handbook for parents of college-bound young adults. The authors have covered just about everything that a parent might want to know. The trick for parents, however, will be getting into this book early enough. For example, a chapter on what the college-bound student should take in high school underscores the need for planning. The preapplicaton process, including those myriad tests and testing preparation, is discussed. Another chapter covers money concerns, including financial aid. The process of whittling down a long list of possible colleges is described. A chapter on helping the learning disabled student find a suitable college match will be of particular interest. An outstanding feature of this book is the use of quotes from seventy-four parents who have gone through the whole process. In roundtable discussions in nine cities throughout the United States, they talked about what had worked well for them, what they had learned, and what they might change. These quotations are scattered throughout the book as "Voices of Experience." From start to finish they provide encouragement, counsel, and cautionary tales for other parents. Young adult librarians will want to point nervous parents of college hopefuls to this informative book early on in their selection process. On the minus side, some might find the book's chatty language and choppy paragraphs tiresome. These criticisms are small caveats, however, for a handbook full of useful information and strategies.  Reviewer: Heidi Borton SOURCE: VOYA, August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)


Let the Journey Begin: A Parent's Monthly Guide to the College Experience
First Edition
by Jacqueline MacKay, Wanda Ingram, Providence College (Paperback - 2002)

Let the Journey Begin is organized around a monthly format;  each chapter opens with a list of Student and Parent Issues that typically come up during that period.  Strategies for Parents offer practical and timely advice.  Commuter Sidebars address the concerns of parents of commuter students.  Parent and Student Reflections present valuable advice throughout the text.  A Monthly Checklist at the end of each chapter focuses on key issues and serves as a handy reference to help you to organize and prioritize your thoughts.