Review: 'The Angel in My Pocket' by Sukey Forbes
By Christine VanDeVelde

On Aug. 18, 2004, Sukey Forbes' middle child woke not feeling well. Forbes sent her two siblings off to camp and kept 6-year-old Charlotte home. They made cinnamon toast and put each other's hair up in pigtails. A few hours later, in the emergency room of Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Charlotte was dead, having succumbed to a high fever related to a rare genetic disorder.

At her daughter's bedside, the nurse asked Forbes if she wanted footprints. Yes. Handprints? Yes. "I want her pigtails," Forbes said. The nurse brought her a scissors and she carefully cut her daughter's silky blonde hair. When Forbes raised the scissors to her own pigtail, the nurse reached out and took them from her hand.

"The Angel In My Pocket: A Story of Love, Loss, and Life After Death" is the story of how Sukey Forbes went on from that moment... MORE>>


College Admission:
From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step


By Robin Mamlet and Christine VanDeVelde
Coming in August, 2011, from Three Rivers Press


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With Robin Mamlet, former admission dean at Stanford, Swarthmore and Sarah Lawrence, a comprehensive guide to the college application process with advice and insights from more than 50 admission deans.  College Admission directly addresses all the questions that plague students and parents along the way to an acceptance letter and will be a definitive resource throughout the high school years.



Should Colleges Be Factories for the 1%?
By Robin Mamlet and Christine VanDeVelde

In his recently unveiled Blueprint for College Affordability, President Obama calls for "collecting earnings and employment information for colleges and universities, so that students can have an even better sense of the life they'll be able to build once they graduate." In other words, the government wants to publish statistics on what graduates earn after leaving Harvard or Ohio State or Duke.

The results are unlikely to surprise. For all the costs of collecting and collating this information—for the sake of reducing the costs of education, no less—it will show... MORE>>


I'm Going to College---Not You!
Surviving the College Search with Your Child

Edited by Jennifer Delahunty
Published by MacMillian, September 2010

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A Cautionary Tale
by Christine VanDeVelde


I will share with you the mantra that helped me through the college admission years: "The Unabomber went to Harvard." Remember this. It will work better than "Om." And notice I said "years" because in hypercompetitive Silicon Valley, where I live, the quest for the punched ticket to an undergraduate degree starts early.

Around here, if you an eleven-year-old applying to middle school, the accepted wisdom is that it is harder to get a seat in the incoming sixth grade of a private school than an acceptance letter from Yale. Despite the fact that I am a journalist -- inquiring mind and all -- I swallowed this whole. As a well-known psychiatrist once told me, "All parents are amateurs." Guilty as charged.

And so it was that when my daughter applied...  MORE>>


A feast of doubts for college freshmen come Thanksgiving

It's called the "turkey drop" – when first-year college students break up with their high school sweethearts over the Thanksgiving holiday. But there's a risk that freshmen might break up with their college, too.

The turkey drop is just one of the precipitating factors. Homesickness, roommate conflicts, academic pressures, difficulty forming new friendships – any of them can cause college freshmen to leap to the conclusion that they've chosen the wrong school and that transferring to another is the answer.

In most cases, though, students shouldn't let a moment of self-doubt make them start the college application process all over again.

It can happen no matter how mature or accomplished a student is...  MORE>>


This year, 'senioritis' may have dire consequences
Senioritis" — skipping class, missing tests, attending parties instead of athletic practice, and generally slacking off at the end of the last year of high school — is practically a rite of spring. But this year there may be serious consequences — including having college acceptance withdrawn — for those who don't finish with a strong academic record.

In the past, when students received the fat envelope, the suspense of the college application process was largely over. That's not necessarily so this year. Because in the 2009 college admission season — with the largest high school graduating classes in history, record numbers of applications and dwindling economic resources — colleges simply don't know how many students are going to be able to accept their offers.

To cope with that uncertainty, many colleges are admitting more students than in the past. If they find they have over-enrolled their incoming class, they may be more likely to revoke an offer of admission to those who haven't maintained top grades or fallen short in some other way... MORE>>

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