Book Review: hey admissionsmom: REAL TALK from reddit

I’m excited to share this book with you! 
I purchased it as soon as I found out it was available. It is a hefty reference book for the college admission process. It took me more time than I care to admit to look through it enough to share my thoughts with you. Thankfully, my recent camping retreat allowed me the time needed to bring this review to you. 

Book Title: Hey admissionsmom: REAL TALK from reddit, a no-nonsense, unconventional approach to college admissions from the voices of r/ApplyingToCollege

Author: Carolyn Allison Caplan and the voices of r/ApplyingToCollege

# of Pages: 379

Copyright: 2019

Review: I love this book. It is a fantastic resource for all things during the college admission process.

Some of my favorite chapters are:

  • Letters of Recommendations (with a cheat sheet)
  • Do I need a Resume? 
  • The Rankings of a College
  • Liberal Arts Colleges
  • Disciplinary Infractions
  • The Importance of Demonstrating Interest

If you have a question about the admission process, more than likely, it is covered in this book. I love it when Carolyn includes her thoughts in a chapter as her practical advice is fantastic.  

There is a Gen Z Glossary – oh my goodness, I love it!

Carolyn’s inclusion of two specific chapters: one specifically for parents and one specifically for students, is where her book delivers more than one might expect. Just as most college books are wrapping up with “Congratulations, you were accepted, here is what you do next,” Carolyn is just getting started. She includes incredible life skills, parenting advice, and my favorite the idea of being a “polar bear parent,” – you’ll have to read the book yourself for the inside scoop on that. 

Every family with high school students should have this book on their shelf at home. I wish I had it four years ago!

Carolyn’s name may sound familiar as she was a guest on my podcast! In that episode she discussed being star-shaped when it comes to Extra Curriculars (ECs) and dives into her star-shaped philosophy in her book as well.

Carolyn is the real deal. Find her on Reddit, or purchase her book now for you, your child, or a friend who has someone going through the college admission process!

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You are preparing for the empty nest ahead as your child(ren) prepares, heads off to, and experiences college.

College Move-In Day: Tips & Helpful Items

Hello, my ah-mazing empty nest friend!
Here we go. Move-in day:  it looms ahead in the distance and then suddenly – WHACK – here it is. We are hit with the balance of being excited for our child as they begin their next adventure and the heavy emotions that arise when you realize they won’t be in your home to check up on anymore.
With my daughter heading into her junior year of college, bittersweet sums up my feelings this time of year. I’m unbelievably thrilled for where she is in life and feel her independence acutely. This makes me proud, happy, and excited for her. I can’t wait to see what she does. 
Will I miss her? Oh my goodness, you betcha! But this journey isn’t mine, it is hers, and it opens up my life to be sure I am on the right path moving forward. Sure, it can feel like part of me is breaking off but this experience allows both her and I to grow in ways that we couldn’t if she were to not be who she is meant to be. 
Whew, though, those emotions that come up – when you least expect them, they can be brutal.
My recommendation is to observe them and don’t run from them. Ignoring the emotions will create a resistance that has them always wanting to bubble up – but by noticing them, claiming them and processing through them, you become powerful! I know that you are strong enough to get through those emotions– no matter what they are. 
Anyway, below, I share with you five things that, being in year three of this journey, I have found helpful, or that I wish we had thought of earlier for move-in.
Our situation is that our daughter’s college is five hours from home, and we have a minivan to move things – so things that I find useful, may not apply to you. As always, take what I offer and consider if it will benefit your life. 
The following information is about the “stuff.” Life skills are a pretty big deal, and I talk about that in episode 32 of my podcast: What Life Skills Does My Child Need For College? My podcast is all about helping mothers through this transition, so if you are having a difficult time, I invite you to take a listen!
As always, Google will provide you with an overabundance  of information on what you should pack for college. I can’t possibly cover all of that, but I’d like to share with you my top five items. Also, two recent posts that I have found helpful are: 
My list below does contain affiliate links. By using my links, you support my podcast. Thank you!
Below are my top five college move-in essential items:


These are the fantastic Ikea bags that we’ve had for years (before college). They are excellent to throw things in (bedding/pillows in particular), and they easily store in a dorm room. I had no idea you could get them with zippers, too!


Command hooks and poster strips are unbelievably helpful. A place for keys? Got it! Need to put up an important piece of paper you got at move-in that you are afraid you’ll lose? Use a poster strip (there is a variety of sizes, too)!


I love, love, love this wagon. This is one of the items that I purchased in year two of my daughter’s college years, and I wish I would have had it earlier. It was life-changing. There were days where I’d make the trip to her school and back in one day. Without the wagon, I was EXHAUSTED. With the wagon, it was a breeze because I didn’t even have to pull the thing – someone else always offered!


A toolkit is one of the things you think you won’t need, but in life’s rogue moments, a screwdriver would be incredibly helpful. It won’t only help your child (if you leave it with them), but if others find out they have a toolkit, there is a natural way to meet new people. We don’t have this specific kit, but it is an example of one.


No link here. This is a reminder to pad your time on move-in and move-out days to allow yourself and your child the flexibility to stop and chat with others; take advantage of something you may not have foreseen, should the moment arise; or, run to a local store if you see they need something. It gives all of you the freedom to be flexible. Also, other than taking a few photos, this is a lovely opportunity to stay off your phone and be fully present.

What are your top items for move-in? I invite you to share below.

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You are preparing for the empty nest ahead as your child(ren) prepares, heads off to, and experiences college.

Your Empty Nest Coach Podcast, Episode 14: What To Do Before Going to College: Now That the Decision Has Been Made, What Should We Do Next?

Hello, my Empty Nest Friend!
This is my first episode with a guest for the entire episode. My guest today is Anne Vaccaro Brady. Anne is the founder of Parents’ Guide to the College Puzzle, a blog that helps families navigate the college admission process and freshman year experience.
This is an information-packed episode. Now that most colleges have sent out (or will be sending out their decisions, soon) your child gets to choose a college! Then what?
My guest today, has your back and has an action plan for you. Take a listen, request the checklist and enjoy your preparations!
⇓⇓⇓ More goodies below, too! Scroll all the way down ⇓ so you don’t miss anything! ⇓⇓⇓

Want to subscribe to this podcast? Great news – it is free!
> Click here, and then choose your favorite podcast app – be sure to hit subscribe or follow, once you choose your favorite!
Let me know if you have any additional questions – as I am always happy to explain how podcasts work!

This Episode is Brought To You By

What You Will Learn in this Episode

  • Plan for college orientation
  • Second-guessing is normal
  • Keeping your senior focused
  • Confirm AP, IB & Dual Enrolled scores/credits are sent to the college
  • Moving off of a college waitlist 
  • Medical forms and health matters
  • Finalize how to pay the college bill
  • College communication plan
  • Note the college academic calendar
  • Create your fun to-do list

Episode Questions for You To Consider

  1. Do you have a question about what is next in the college process, that you would like addressed in an upcoming episode?
  2. Do you have a tip to share with us for getting ready for college?

Where to find this episode’s guest, Anne:

Send audio feedback to Coach Christine now: voicemail/text to 1-920-LIFEWIN (1-920-543-3946). 📞

Legal disclaimer: Listening to this podcast doesn’t make Christine your official coach, and this podcast is not meant to replace your doctor or therapist. Curious? Click here for the deets!

First time here? Try these episodes & resources:

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Full Transcript

For those who are freaking out about the empty nest years. It is time to make the rest of your life the best of your life!