Tips for Parents

Are You Prepared to Be A College Parent?

Parents often focus on how the transition to college will affect their student, but it’s also important for you to think about how this time of transition will affect you. Sending a student off to college means big changes in family dynamics and it’s important to be prepared for your own emotional reaction as well as the reactions of your family members.

The good news is there are books filled with college tips for parents available to help. Some of these books provide practical advice and real-world experience, while others delve deeply into the psychology, fears and expectations of the current generation. Together, these six books provide a must-read list of resources for parents. Whether your own student is finishing the last years of her high school career or already heading off to college, these great books deserve a place on your shelf.

1. Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years, by Karen Levin Coburn – this bestselling guide has already helped hundreds of thousands of parents over the past decade, and it remains one of the best guides for parents of new college students. Now in its fourth edition, this guide is based on the real-world experiences of students and parents through the years. It’s filled with practical, compassionate, and timely college tips for parents going through the college experience. This popular book is on the recommended list of many colleges and universities.

2. Don’t Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years, by Helen E. Johnson – This book offers a whimsical, humorous, but also practical guide for parents with college-bound children. Featuring real-life examples and dialogues, the author provides parents with need-to-know fundamentals as their student goes off to college.

3. You’re On Your Own (But I’m Here if You Need Me), by Marjorie Savage – Many parents struggle with setting the appropriate boundaries for their college students and this book can be a big help. Marjorie Savage has some of the best college tips for parents on how to respect a student’s boundaries while still providing emotional support.

4. Coin: The Irreverent yet Practical Guide to Money Management for Recent College Graduates, by Judy McNary – Written specifically to meet the needs of newly minted college graduates, Coin makes a perfect gift for anyone just starting out. The book was written to put college graduates on the road to wealth, keep them out of financial trouble, and enjoy a rich life along the way. The author herself is a Certified Financial Planner and parent of three young adults. Coin is concise, witty and proof that managing your money well, doesn’t have to be a drag. Who knew personal finance could be so fun? This a must read for both parents and students.

5. Millennial Rising, by Neil Howe – Sometimes simply understanding how your child thinks is the hardest part of being a parent, and this great book can help in that regard. Written by renowned generational expert Neil Howe, this book can help parents understand the unique roadblocks the millennial generation faces – from fears about the job market to concerns over student debt.

6. Parents of College Students Survival Stories, by Wendy David-Gaines – Recommended by parents in our own college parent Facebook group, parents vouched for the content of this book as being realistic and relatable. One parent said, “It’s funny, truthful, and full of great ideas that any parent of a college-aged or college-bound student need to know about! Over 100 mini-stories show parents and students what to expect. The main topics covered in this book include: Finding a College, Admissions Process, Paying for College, Preparing for College Life, College Life, Parent-Student Visits, Study Abroad, and Life After College.

Do you have other resources that have been helpful to you? We would love to know about them. E-mail Alyssa at [email protected] with your book and resource suggestions!

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