The week's most talked about book


Britany Clark makes plans to attend college in Texas, not too far from home. She completes several applications, mounds of paperwork and garners two college scholarships early in the fall of her senior year in high school.

After graduating in May with honors, Britany lands a summer job at a local restaurant. She deposits most of her earnings in the bank, along with the money that trickles in from family and friends.

Britany completes registration online, attends student orientation with her mother and later moves her things into a new campus dormitory with the help of her uncle, Kyle. Finally, she settles into a cold and almost empty dorm room, anxiously awaiting the arrival of her new roommate.

She faces the challenging tasks of a new routine and making most decisions all on her own. Minus the selection and purchase of a small refrigerator and a request for some spending money every now and then, Britany seldom asks for her parents' input.

Britany is not your typical teen-ager. Extremely organized and mature for her age at just 17 years old, she is well-prepared for college.

Parents, are you ready?

Get prepped for a lesson in higher education with the "Prepared Parent's Operational Manual: Sending Your Child to College." Authors Marie Pinak Carr, Katharine Carr, Ann Carr and Elizabeth Carr provide a useful guide that targets parents who need assistance navigating the difficult transition from high school to college. Students, too, will benefit from this informative college manual.

Marie Pinak Carr and her three daughters are well-equipped to navigate any college campus. Their collective experience includes attendances at Emory University, Georgetown University, Texas A&M University and Boston University. Chapters highlight student orientation, college paperwork and forms and student budgeting, to name a few.

Authors remind parents to attend the college orientation session, and while on campus, to pick up a copy of the student independent newspaper. Be informed!

Parents and students can take advantage of available academic and tutorial resources. College kids develop a language of their own, but communication is a must. Discuss expenses, budgeting and transportation with your student. Be sure to keep track of forms and fill them out in a timely manner, authors advise.

A chapter on "Understanding College Language" defines several important campus terms, including "blue light phone." What is a blue light phone? The blue light, a safety feature on college campuses, indicates that the phone can be used to directly call campus police by pushing the designated button. Student safety is every parent's concern; and it's a good idea to investigate the campus policies and procedures in case of an emergency.

Checklists, Web sites and forms keep parents and students on track; and recording important dates in a yearly calendar is advisable when preparing for upcoming holidays and events.

Don't leave campus without obtaining a copy of your student's schedule; and keep track of everything. Take a copy of the "Prepared Parent's Operational Manual" along with you and compare notes with your student.

Sending your child to college can be devastating, emotionally as well as financially. Just remember, your student will one day return home.

Are you ready?


Prepared Parent's Operational Manual: Sending Your Child to College


Authors: Marie Pinak Carr, Katharine Carr, Ann Carr, Elizabeth Carr

Publisher: Dicmar Publishing Company

Publication Date: March 2008

Listen to an excerpt from the Prepared Parent's Operational Manual!


How to Survive Your Freshman Year


Authors: Hundreds of Heads with Frances Northcutt, Yadin Kaufmann, Mark Bernstein

Publisher: Hundreds of Heads Books

Publication Date: March 2008, 3rd Edition

Been There Should've Done That


Author: Suzette Tyler

Publisher: Front Porch Press

Publication Date: March 2008, 3rd Edition

What Now?


Author: Ann Patchett

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication Date: April 2008

"The Week's Most Talked About Book" is a weekly book review and literary criticism column that publishes every Friday. Selected titles are based on popularity, public opinion, research and observation. Questions, comments and suggestions should be sent to book lover and columnist Karla Mass at She is a content producer for McClatchy Interactive.