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Parent and Family Engagement

Books about and for College Parents

We've compiled a list of books we think you might like to recommend to parents. If you have books to add to this list, please share them with us so we can post them. You can email info@aheppp.org. Books are organized alphabetically by title. 

Almost Grown: Launching Your Child from High School to College 

By Patricia Pasick

Almost Grown is a guide for parents to the final years of high school and first years of college, offering intelligent counsel not only in practical issues such as developing a college search plan or handling questions of money, sex, and substance abuse, but also in the psychological issues that arise during this family transition. Writing as both psychologist and parent, Patricia Pasick tackles the key question of how mothers and fathers can foster adolescents' growth and autonomy while maintaining family connections and stability. She also explores the unexpected: the impact of the changing family on younger siblings, the benefits and frustrations of college students' returning home, the challenges and opportunities that nontraditional families face, and more.

Coin: The Irreverent Yet Practical Guide to Money Management for Recent College Graduates

By Judy McNary

A true gem in the world of personal finance books, Coin covers the basics with humor and wit so that you can get on with living. Written specifically to meet the needs of newly minted college graduates, Coin makes a perfect gift for anyone just starting out. Who knew personal finance could be so fun?

College Rules! How to Study, Survive and Succeed in College 

By Sherrie Nist-Olejnik and Jodi Patrick Holschuh
Students who assume they can figure out college on the fly often learn things the hard way—they look back and think, “If only I’d known this from the start!” College Rules! will save you the time and trouble, setting you up for academic success from the get-go. Lesson #1: College is different from high school, and even those who were at the top of their class will need practical advice on how to successfully transition to college life. This updated and expanded third edition of College Rules! reveals strategies that aren’t taught in lectures.

Don't Tell Me What To Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years 

By Helen E. Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller

When children leave for college, many parents feel uncertain about their shifting roles. By emphasizing the importance of being a mentor to your college student, "Don't Tell Me What To Do, Just Send Money" shows parents how to influence their college student while still supporting their independence.

Emptying the Nest: Launching Your Young Adult toward Success and Self-reliance 

By Brad Sachs

In today’s rapidly changing world and challenging economy, young adults increasingly find themselves at a crossroads between financial and emotional dependence and autonomy. Drawing on Dr. Sachs' extensive clinical experience and his illuminating discussion of the latest psychological research, Emptying the Nest will support parents in their efforts to cultivate their young adult’s success and self-reliance while simultaneously maintaining healthy family relationships.

Empty Nest...Full Heart: The Journey from Home to College 

By Andrea VanSteenhouse, Ph.D.

The author chronicles the journey from senior year of high school, through the challenging summer, to the first year of college for students. Featuring an emphasis on the freshman experience, "Empty Nest...Full Heart" offers a lighthearted yet savvy look at this turbulent time. The book's generous and compassionate scope makes it lively, humorous, and emotionally resonant.

Getting Wasted: Why College Students Drink Too Much and Party so Hard 

By Thomas Ven Vander

Most American college campuses are home to a vibrant drinking scene where students frequently get wasted, train-wrecked, obliterated, hammered, destroyed, and decimated. The terms that university students most commonly use to describe severe alcohol intoxication share a common theme: destruction, and even after repeated embarrassing, physically unpleasant, and even violent drinking episodes, students continue to go out drinking together. In Getting Wasted, Thomas Vander Ven provides a unique answer to the perennial question of why college students drink.

Graduate to a Great Job: Make Your College Degree Pay off in Today's Market 

By David DeLong

Only about 50% of today’s college graduates are working in jobs that require a college degree. How do you make sure your college investment pays off? Can you imagine landing a great job after college? To succeed in today’s tough job market you must know what works—and what doesn’t.

Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus 

By Kathleen A. Bogle

Hooking Up is an intimate look at how and why college students get together, what hooking up means to them, and why it has replaced dating on college campuses. In surprisingly frank interviews, students reveal the circumstances that have led to the rise of the booty call and the death of dinner-and-a-movie. Whether it is an expression of postfeminist independence or a form of youthful rebellion, hooking up has become the only game in town on many campuses.

How to Survive Your Freshman Year: By Hundreds of College Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors Who Did 

By Mark W. Bernstein and Yadin Kaufmann

The Third Edition offers college freshmen 30 per cent new material: more real-life advice and experiences from interviews with college students and graduates across the country, plus tips from the book’s new special editor, Frances Northcutt, an academic advisor and instructor. New entries reflect today’s world of new freshman lifestyle and experiences, including all wireless digital devices, social networking, and global and political awareness.

In Addition to Tuition: The Parent's Survival Guide to Freshman Year of College 

By Marian Edelman Borden, Mary Anne Burlinson, and Elsie R. Kearns

In "Addition to Tuition" provides parents with a personal guide to residential college life today, taking them from the acceptance letter through the trials and tribulations of freshman year.

Letting Go: A Parent's Guide to Understanding the College Years 

By Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger

"Letting Go" leads parents through the period of transition that their student experiences between the junior year of high school and college graduation. The authors explain how to distinguish normal development stages from problems that may require parental or professional intervention. The new edition explains the differences between college life today and the college life parents experienced 20 or 30 years ago. It features a completely new resource guide.

Millennials Go to College: Strategies for a New Generation on Campus 

By Neil Howe and William Strauss

The new, updated edition features the latest data on the Millennial Generation and how they are changing--and will continue to change--college life. Just as profoundly as their Boomer and Gen-X parents did, college students and their younger siblings have different expectations for their college experience. The ways that they involve their parents in their lives are very different than the relationship between Boomers and their parents. A new chapter in this second edition addresses the shift from Boomer to Gen-X parents of college students, the next big transition on the doorstep of higher education.

Navigating the First College Year A Guide for Parents 

By Richard H. Mullendore and Cathie Hatch of the National Orientation Director's Association

This informational pamphlet focuses on "letting go" as a long-term process that should never be completed. The authors encourage parents to renegotiate their relationship with their student as an adult. This concise guide features 10 sections about the major events and feelings parents and students likely will experience during the first year of college and offers suggestions for resolving these issues.

Parents' Guide to College Life: 181 Straight Answers 

By Robin Raskin

Get straight answers to tough questions. The market is saturated with college admissions guides, but this is the only one that gives parents honest answers to the real questions they have when they send their children to college. Written by media consultant and parenting expert Robin Raskin, this candid guide answers questions like: How much money should my son/daughter be spending a week? Is it wise to give my child a checkbook? A credit card? Should she/he take a semester abroad? What are the downsides? The benefits? 

Getting Through College Without Going Broke: A Crash Course on Finding Money for College and Making It Last.  

By Students Helping Students

Finding a way to pay for college and live on a budget is not always easy, but it definitely beats paying off huge loans for the next 30 years. And these students are living proof that it can be done.

The iConnected Parent: Staying Close to Your Kids in College (and Beyond) While Letting Them Grow Up 

By Barbara K. Hofer and Abigail Sullivan Moore


"Just let go!" That’s what parents have been told to do when their kids go to college. But in our speed-dial culture, with BlackBerries and even Skype, parents and kids are now more than ever in constant contact. Today’s iConnected parents say they are closer to their kids than their parents were to them—and this generation of families prefers it that way. Are parents really letting go—and does that matter?

The UniversityParent Guide to Supporting Your Student's Freshman Year

 By UniversityParent

The UniversityParent Guide to Supporting Your Student's Freshman Year is packed with practical advice and insightful reflections. Chapters unfold organically, season by season, taking you from summer as you pack and plan, through the challenges and transitions of autumn, and on into spring. Our expert contributors answer your questions - even the ones you didn't know you had.

When Kids Go to College: A Parent's Guide to Changing Relationships 

By Barbara M. Newman and Philip Newman

This practical guide will answer important questions and tell you how to make the most of these exciting years. Topics covered in this book are: identity formation, values development, career exploration, social relationships, sexuality, alcohol and drug abuse, romantic relationships, dorm life, personal freedom, depression, discrimination and college bureaucracy.

 When Your Kid Goes to College; A Parent's Survival Guide 

By Carol Barkin


You've taught them how to do their laundry, brought them a year's supply of toothpaste and shampoo, and lectured them on the do's and dont's of life beyond your home. The time has come for your child to leave for college -- but are you prepared to say goodbye? Written by a mother who survived the perils of packing her own child off to school, When Your Kid Goes to College provides supportive, reassuring, and helpful tips for handling this inevitable but difficult separation.

You're On Your Own (but I'm here if you need me) 

By Marjorie Savage

A reality check on the process of students leaving home; with practical tips for supporting your student in the process. Ms. Savage is the leading national expert in Parents on Campus programs in higher education.