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Textbooks Made Easy


This post is sponsored by Barnes & Noble. All content and opinions expressed here are my own.


When my first child went to college, I almost died when I got the bill for her textbooks. Some of them cost close to $200, and the total cost for all her textbooks the first year was close to $1,500. I was not prepared for this added expense. At the time, students were forced to buy books from the bookstore without many other options available. Even used textbooks were pricey and some professors used new books that weren’t available used, but the times have certainly changed.

Students can now purchase new and used textbooks at huge discounts or rent them with flexible rental periods. Once they are done with the course, they can sell the books for cash and recoup some of the cost. With the help of Barnes & Noble’s textbook program, it’s a win-win for parents and students.

Below is a screenshot of an art history textbook. As you can see, when you click on the book’s title, you’re given three options: new, used, or rent. In addition, you have the option of purchasing the book in the marketplace from users who are also selling it.


New Textbooks

It’s a shock when your student’s professor decides to use a new textbook and you see the cost. New textbooks can be pricey, but Barnes & Noble has a large selection of new textbooks available. They offer low prices, so you can get the most for your money. Their textbooks are listed up to 30% off sticker price, plus they offer free shipping on all new textbook orders over $25. Check out their huge selection of new textbooks here.

Used Textbooks

Used textbooks are your best bargain when available, and Barnes & Noble sells only the highest quality used books. It’s just like purchasing a used car: you aren’t paying the high sticker prices, but you’re getting a high-quality book at a great price–some up to 90% off. You can search for used textbooks here.

Rented Textbooks

Why buy when you can rent? It makes sense, especially since the book will only be used for one semester. My daughter chose to save only the books that applied to her major and renting would have been an excellent option for those required courses that didn’t interest her. At Barnes & Noble, there are thousands of textbooks available to rent with flexible periods up to 130 days. Your student can extend the rental period or opt to purchase the book at any time. Once they are finished with their course, they can ship it back for free! Check out their selection of rentals here.

Selling Your Textbooks

Even if you must purchase a new textbook, you can sell it back if it’s in good condition to Barnes & Noble and recoup some of the cost. They provide prepaid shipping labels. For details on which books they will accept and what type of condition they need to be in, click here.

When it comes to paying for college, most parents plan for tuition, room and board. It’s added expenses like books that can put a strain on your budget. By using these available options, you should be able to cut textbook costs and use some of that money for more important things like a plane ticket for Parents’ Weekend!

Parents Guide to the SAT and the ACT

Wouldn’t it be great to have all the test dates AND registration deadlines in one place, along with tips on how to support your high school student during testing season? Magoosh thought so too! They created the Parents Guide to SAT and ACT Testing.

Below is an infographic with “everything you need to know about standardized tests but were afraid to ask”. Also, check out their High School SAT & ACT blog: with resources there for both parents and students to help them learn more about the SAT and ACT, how to prepare, and what to expect on test day.


parents guide

Green Mountain College Offers $200,000 Sustainability Scholarship


sustainability scholarship

Green Mountain College Announces $200,000 Scholarship Award to Help a Student Pursue Sustainable Education

The most pressing challenges of our time await your innovative solutions. Green Mountain College, the nation’s number-one college for sustainability based education, wants to empower you to make a better world. Today, the college is announcing a new First in Sustainability Scholarship Award for one student who is passionate about ensuring social, economic and/or environmental sustainability. The winning student will receive free tuition, room, board and fees for all four years at Green Mountain College—a total value of $200,000.

sustainability scholarship

Recognized more than any college for its leadership in sustainability, Green Mountain College of Poultney, Vermont provides a personal, practical and purposeful education that prepares graduates to “do well by doing good.” The college offers 22 academic majors and 32 additional minors and certificates, all built on its core sustainability focused general education curriculum. Students also gain extensive practical experience, from working at a community farm to building a solar garage that charges an electrical tractor (a student project), which gives them a leg up in the “green jobs” market. Ninety-seven percent of graduates are employed or in graduate school and ninety-five percent of graduates are satisfied or very satisfied in their work.

“More than twenty years ago, Green Mountain College became the first college in the nation to dedicate its curriculum to sustainability. Now, the imperative to take meaningful action is stronger than ever. We hope this scholarship will help catalyze today’s students to ensure a more sustainable world for generations to come,” said Robert (Bob) Allen, President, Green Mountain College.

About the Sustainability Scholarship

Get a head start fulfilling your life’s purpose! Any high school senior applying for admission to Green Mountain College’s class of 2021 is eligible for this scholarship award. Applicants are required to submit an additional essay, describing what change they would like to make for a better and more sustainable world. The piece (up to 800 words) should address these two topics:

  1. This is what you would change.
  2. This is how an education at Green Mountain College will prepare you to make the change.

All First in Sustainability Scholarship Award applications must be submitted online and received by 11:59 pm Pacific Time on February 15, 2017. One winner will be announced April 15, 2017.  The online application form can be found at

Green Mountain College offers rolling admissions. To apply for next year’s freshman class at Green Mountain College, please visit For additional information about the scholarship award, please email Karen Martinsen Fleming at

About Green Mountain College

The nation’s number-one college and curriculum for sustainability, Green Mountain College prepares students seeking to build meaningful careers pursuing social, economic and environmental sustainability. The college’s holistic sustainability based education, built on a core sustainability focused general education curriculum, enables students to develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in our rapidly changing world. Benefiting from a purposeful, personal, and practical education, 97 percent of Green Mountain College alumni are employed or in graduate school and 95 percent of Green Mountain College graduates report satisfaction from their careers. The college also offers online master’s degree programs, and a three-year B.S. degree in partnership with The Killington Resort. For more information, please see


Don’t Let Your Student Leave for College Without These Essentials




Every parent knows just what a big deal it is when their child goes to college. Months, if not years of work go into getting the grades their specific college desires. You will probably find that the last few exams are fraught with tension as your teenager knuckles down for that final push. But once result day comes round, all that uncertainty disappears. Half of the torture is the not knowing – and chances are if your teenager studied hard, they will have no problem getting into the college of their choice. It might seem that at this point, the whole family has a chance to relax, right? Wrong! Once the results are in, the hard work is only beginning. Getting your child prepared for college involves a lot of different things, from mental preparation right down to the books they will need. It can sometimes seem that the checklist goes on forever – and you’re still bound to forget SOMETHING. To make things easier, here are a few things your child won’t be able to manage without at college, so make sure you pack these first!

Notepads, pens and more pens

Let’s face it: it’s college, and your kid is going to be taking a LOT of notes. At least, you hope they are going to be taking lots of notes! With most of their time filled with lectures and seminars, they will need to make sure they are writing down and memorizing all the correct information they need to pass their classes. Forget memorizing it – it might sound like a good idea at the time, but it simply isn’t going to happen by watching one PowerPoint presentation. Getting your soon to be student prepped with a lot of writing equipment will act as a good incentive to make them take their college lectures seriously. In order to make it easier, buy stationery online so it all arrives in one big package.

Rugs, cushions, and bedding

It is important to prepare your teenager for the reality of college life. Their dorm is unlikely to be anything like the sumptuous bedroom they have enjoyed at home. College dorms can be notoriously bare and depressing, as well as being cold! So make sure your child takes plenty of soft furnishing to make the place feel like home. A fluffy rug for them to put their feet on when getting out of bed doesn’t sound like that big of a deal – but it’s the little things like that which can make all the difference.

Are You Raising a “Snowflake”?




I don’t often editorialize here, but I feel it’s important to address this topic. College preparation is more than academics, essays, volunteering, and extracurriculars. Parents should be concerned with the overall child—do they have the tools to become independent adults, make good choices, and embrace diverse opinions.

Unless you’ve been hibernating under a rock, you know “snowflake” is a term being used to describe college students who can’t seem to cope with life. Apparently, we are now in the “snowflake generation.” The term was one of Collins Dictionary’s 2016 words of the year — today’s young adults, viewed as being less resilient and more offense-prone than previous generations.

The Financial Times defined it as “a derogatory term for someone deemed too emotionally vulnerable to cope with views that challenge their own, particularly in universities and other forums once known for robust debate” and noting that the insult had been aimed at an entire generation.”

It’s clear. We are coddling our young people. We, as parents, have made it our business to protect them from life in general. This has become especially clear in the university environments where they should be challenged to think, debate, and be open to exploring all theories and opinions.

Colleges are now notifying students that the content of a lecture might upset them. Events and activities are cancelled because they might offend someone on campus. Safe spaces abound for students to deal with their emotional pain. If disappointed, they are allowed a “pass” for class or a retake of a test.

How did this happen?

Unfortunately, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We have taught our children that the world is a dangerous place. Parents go to great links to eliminate all risk from their children’s lives. Games like dodgeball are no longer allowed in schools. Safeguarding has become a top priority in every aspect of our children’s lives. Parents interfere with teachers, coaches and all types of authority, to keep their children from suffering any consequences of their actions.

Author Simon Sinek explains that as a result of social media and bad parenting strategies, people born after 1984 are entitled, narcisstic, self-interested and lazy. In a viral video he said: “They were told they were special all the time. They were told they could have anything they want in life, just because they want it… some of them got As not because they earned them but because teachers didn’t want to deal with their parents. They got participation medals for coming last. Then they were thrust into the real world and in an instant found they were not special, their parents can’t get them a promotion, they get nothing for coming in last and can’t have it just because you want it. In an instant their self-image is shattered.”

The Spectator summed it up in a recent article: Generation Snowflake—how we train our kids to be censorious cry-babies. “We — adult society — have created this generation. We protect children from criticism and suspend our critical judgment in order to massage their self-esteem. We scare them rigid by ‘catastrophising’ an endless list of fears. We make them hypervigilant about potential abuse from adults and their peers. We encourage them to equate abusive words with physical violence. And we have, in short, shaped our own overanxious, easily offended, censoriously thin-skinned Frankenstein monster. We created Generation Snowflake.”

How can we change this pattern?

Act now! Make it your goal to teach your college-bound teenager how to self-advocate. Teach them life skills like coping with disappointment, facing consequences of their actions, being financially responsible, and thinking freely and forming their own opinions. When they fail don’t rescue them. When they succeed because of hard work, acknowledge them. Don’t reward poor behavior or laziness just because they “tried”. Teach them the world doesn’t owe them anything; it’s their job to earn respect, success and independence.

Get this book: Toward College Success: Is Your Teenager Ready, Willing and Able? Read it and apply its tactics. When your student goes off to college they will be prepared for the real world which can sometimes be cruel; but a learning environment preparing them for adulthood.