Book Nook: College Application, Finances and Transition Titles For Parents and High School Students

  • Grown and Flown's "Book Ideas: Favorites and New Releases."
  • Acceptance: A Legendary Guidance Counselor Helps Seven Kids Find the Right Colleges -- and Find Themselves by David Marcus.  Penguin Press, 2009.  This Pulitzer prize-winning journalist spent a year with a long serving guidance counselor Gwyeth Smith of Oyster Bay High School, Long Island.  What he learned is helpful for families who are starting the college admission process.   "Far more than people realize, a wise college counselor can make the difference in getting in.  Perhaps, more important, the best counselors understand their job isn't just knowing the world of financial aid, or the difference between the filmmaking programs at NYU and USC; it's helping teenagers see their strengths, their potential, and how to make those things come alive in an application to the right school."  The book describes several students, their background and how "Smitty" guides each through the college application process.  Interesting and well-written book.
  • Debt-Free U: How I Paid For An Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching Off My Parents by Zach Bissonnette.  Portfolio/Penguin, 2010. Even if the 21-year-old author's voice seems a little over-confident at times, he supplies numbers, studies and well-sourced insights to back his view. He's a financial writer and commentator for a number of highly regarded media outlets.  At the very least, his book will give you and your teenager something to think about.  At the most, he will save you a bunch of money, time and heartache. See what you think.
  • Navigating Life: Things I Wish My Mother Had Told Me by Margaux Bergan. Penguin Press, 2016. Written for the author's daughter and given to her the first day of college, reflecting tough lessons about family, work, learning, money, passion and more. This collection of life advice makes for a great way to invite your child to join you in figuring out life during this time of great change.
  • You're On Your Own (but I'm here if you need me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years by Marjorie Savage. Fireside with Simon & Schuster, 2003.  The author is the Parent Program director at the University of Minnesota, serving as a liaison between the school and the parents of 28,000 undergraduates.  As a parent herself, she empathizes with parents but also understands kids.  She offers stories and advice on: how to cope with the mood changes of the entire family during the months leading up to move-in day on campus; why students complain about the food but still manage to gain weight their first year; why you shouldn't decorate your child's dorm room; what to do when your child comes home with a tongue-piercing; what illnesses to watch for among college-aged students and how to make sure your child stays healthy; when parent intervention is critical and when it's not; and how to help your child navigate finances.  The author is down-to-earth with practical help that will make sense as you evaluate your child's approach and your own during this period of transition.
  • "The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into In College" by Harlan Cohen.  Sourcebooks, Inc. 2007. You might want to give this book anonymously because it covers all the things you hope your kids won't get into and more: sex, drinking, drugs for starters.  But the author (not that far removed from college life himself) has done his research and tackles each topic in a straight-forward way – listing the pros and cons, things to consider and resources to consult.  He includes tips on everything from residence hall living, the Greek experience, finding friends, getting involved on campus, helicopter parents, going to class, dating and relationships, money, laundry and cheap eats to the Freshman 15, the dangers of sexual assault, depression and more.   Plus, his style is relaxed and fun even when discussing the heavier topics.
  • Getting From College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World by Lindsey Pollak.  HarperCollins, 2007. How do you get a job without experience and experience without a job? Author Lindsey Pollak offers practical advice on the eight essentials of intern achievement to emailing like a professional to networking while in college and interview tips.  This advice is well-suited for a "go-getter" college student who wants to pursue opportunities as they present themselves.
  • Healthy College Cookbook:  Quick.  Cheap.  Easy. By Alexandra Nimetz, Jason Stanley and Emeline Starr.   Updated by Storey Books, 2008.  Written by three college students fed up with cafeteria fare, this book offers a variety of recipes for breakfast, comfort food, homemade pizza options, grilling out (on the George Foreman grill) and desserts.
  • College Cooking: Feed Yourself and Your Friends by sisters Megan and Jill Carle.  Ten Speed Press, 2007.  The tagline reads: "This Isn't Your Mom and Dad's Kitchen."  So true.  But you might consider picking up this cookbook for yourself after reading through the easy but delicious recipes and taking in the gorgeous photographs.  This is for the college students who have more in their life than a mini-fridge on the floor of their dorm room.  The Carle sisters cover the basic food groups taking surprisingly sophisticated recipes and making them easily accessible to those with limited kitchen, wallet and grocery capability.  Their chapters cover Survival Cooking, Cheap Eats, Avoiding the Freshman Fifteen, Eat Your Greens, Just Like Mom Makes, Impressing Your Date and Feeding the Masses.  They also add theme party recipes for Cinco De Mayo, Toga Party and OktoberFest.  Tip: Have your student try out a few of these ahead of school in the comfort of Mom's Kitchen!
Submitted by Book Nook Series Editor Julie Kaiser.          

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