Aug 28, 2010

Making the Most of College—5 Books to Read from the Pros

College consultants participating in breakout sessions at the annual Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) conference held at the College of St. Benedict were asked what advice they gave to parents to ensure successful transitions from high school to college. Their responses generated a list of 5 “go to” books parents may find useful as they tackle everything from packing to homesickness:

Been There Should’ve Done That: 995 Tips for Making the Most of College, Suzette Tyler. This award-winning book covers everything from study habits to the “freshman 15.” Structured as advice from those who have ‘been there, done that’, these gentle academic and lifestyle management suggestions are much more likely to be taken seriously by college-bound seniors than anything their parents may have to say.

The Launching Years: Strategies for Parenting from Senior Year to College Life, Laura Kastner, Ph.D. and Jennifer Wyatt, Ph.D. Taking two very different approaches to parenting a child going off to college, this book opens the discussion on very real questions of senioritis, leave-taking, rules for holiday breaks, romance, substance abuse, and stress. The authors diplomatically refrain from giving direct advice and offer options for parents to “consider” instead.

Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years, Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger. For more than a decade, Letting Go has been a “must read” for parents coping with the emotional, physical and social changes of high school students transitioning to college. The authors work in student services at a well-known university and boldly offer from first-hand experience, “…what your kids may be unable to tell you about what it’s been like for them.” As one local parent remarked, “It provides opportunity to empathize and a view of many things going on at college that is quite different than what I experienced.”

Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds, Richard Light, Ph.D. Drawing from 1600 interviews conducted with Harvard students over a 10-year period, the advice offered is practical and grounded in real-life. Bottom line: good advising is crucial and students really must ask for help when they need it.

You’re On Your Own (But I’m Here If You Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years, Marjorie Savage. Another college administrator, Ms. Savage converts her experiences into practical advice for parents adjusting to the challenges of college-age children. Savage offers strategies for everything from dealing with complaints about food to teaching junior how to take responsibility for finances. The trick is figuring out how involved parents should be once they are no longer in charge, especially in the brave new world of instant communications.

Whether you’re helping your child download a copy of the Common Application for the first time or waving goodbye to your newly-minted freshman, these books can provide you with much in the way of wisdom, advice, and reassurance.

No comments:

Post a Comment