College Bound

The Ultimate List Of Conversions To Help Your Teen Through High School by Melanie Studer

About The Book

Worried your teenager isn’t prepared for life after high school? Discover approachable ways to give them the confidence they need. Are your kids struggling with their future? Do you fear they aren’t ready for the challenges that lie ahead? Are you unsure of how to broach the daunting topic of higher education?

Experienced mom and parenting blogger Melanie Prather Studer has spent more than two decades teaching elementary and middle-school, perfecting adolescent-adult communication strategies. Now she’s here to show you how to get your silent kiddo to open up about the exciting opportunities that await. College Bound: The Ultimate List of Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School is a down-to-earth means of addressing life after graduation.

With useful terms and outlined conversation ideas, Studer’s expert techniques will thoroughly prepare you for the critical discussions you and your child need to have, including the dreaded college talk. By following this convenient guide, you’ll find the information and courage you require to equip your baby to successfully leave the nest.

In College Bound, you’ll discover:

  • When to begin applying for schools, so your child stays ahead of the pack.
  • The best times and places to start conversations to maintain a stress-free environment.
  • School, military, and workforce options to suggest, so you can encompass all their interests.
  • A companion blog with printable sheets and questions to keep your resources accessible.
  • Helpful timetables so your student can enjoy their senior year and much, much more!

College Bound is an essential handbook for parents looking to prepare their children for whatever adventure tomorrow holds. If you like practical advice, easy-to-read guidance, and personal stories of trials and tribulation, then you’ll love Melanie Prather Studer’s concise manual. Buy College Bound to give your teenager the future they deserve today!

“I love how the author was authentic and didn’t paint a picture of the perfect family. I recommend this book to anyone looking to take out the mystery and stress of sending their kids off into the real world.” ~Laura Dennis, Blogger at Almost Empty Nest

“A little of the preparation for our child’s college decision is instinctive, but a whole lot isn’t. Melanie Studer leaves nothing to chance. In a short, clear, specific guide for parents, she tells us what we need to talk about with our middle and high schoolers who are planning to go to college and why.” ~David Lile, The KFRU Good Morning Show with David Lile, Columbia, MO



Terms to Know


What’s the Big Deal?


Have the Money Talk with Your Teen


Set Up a Budget


Getting a Job


Why Grades Matter


ACT and SAT Scores


Extracurricular Activities


Get To Know the Teachers


Letters of Recommendation


Contact and Visit Colleges


Writing the College Essay


Respect the Law and Other Rules


Scholarship Search


Start Early—Middle School



Start the Conversation

Just ten years ago, our first son started middle school. My husband and I had so many questions. We knew nothing. It was almost like having a baby again, seriously. Our heads were spinning!

There were so many issues that we suddenly had to help our son deal with… Switching classes, cell phone or no cell phone, preteen attitude, shifting friendships, to name a few.

Once your child enters middle school, high school looms ahead a mere three years. What should you know to help your teen be ready for this next step? What are the important things? What can you do to plan? How can you counsel him or her to be ready for whatever comes next?

Over the past ten years, my husband and I have learned many things.

We asked friends with older children. We read lots of articles and blog posts and books. We talked to the guidance counselors. Mostly, we talked to each other and with our boys about anything and everything that we felt like they needed to know and that they had questions about.

Middle school and high school are each challenging in their own way.

Middle school is a great time for kids to practice being a good student, try new things, and grow into their own skins. It is an awkward and stressful time. This is a time to let them experience new things knowing that you have their back.

Keep the lines of communication open. There will be lots of attitude! I don’t care if you have a girl or a boy, fourteen is the worst! Every parent that I have come into contact with, when their kid is this age, is wondering, where did our once fairly pleasant kid go?

Hang in there. Be loving, consistent, persistent, but not annoying—I know, this is a hard line to figure out.

High school is challenging in many ways, as well. First, grades will now count. Many times, our kids are not prepared for the academic intensity of high school, so watch out for that.

Second, their social lives are huge at this stage in the game. They will have big expectations for this time in their lives. Try to make sure that they stay grounded.

This means that you need to continue to keep the lines of communication open. I can assure you that many times, no matter the age of your teen, they will NOT want to talk to you. That doesn’t mean to stop trying. Just try different times, different ways. Don’t stop!

How can parents help their kids during these years?

My husband and I learned, over time, that it takes a series of conversations to hash out details regarding most things. We have family meetings and one-on-one meetings with each boy usually once a month, or at least each grading period. This is about every six weeks. Our older two boys are now in college, so we meet with them over holiday break, and at the beginning and end of summer break.

First jobs. Driving rules. Cell phone usage. Dating. Classes that they want to take versus what they need to take. Is college the next step? If yes, then where, and if no, then what? These are just a sampling of the many myriad conversations that need to occur.

Take notes at each meeting.

We learned this the hard way. The notes don’t have to be formal, but write down basic things like the date that you met with your teen, any decision that is reached, and what was the tentative plan of action. Also, take note of any deadlines or topics to be discussed at the next meeting.

If you don’t take notes, then there is no record of the discussion. Time will be wasted at the next meeting arguing over something that you already thought was decided! Trust me on this one!

This book doesn’t cover how to have family meetings or any of the social issues that come with teenagers. This book will help you to deal with what you need to know to wade through the high school years.

COLLEGE BOUND is set up as conversations to have with your teen.

Read the book all the way through first. Then decide which order works for your family. There is no one “right” order! There are questions at the end of each chapter, and space for notes.

Many of these conversations lend themselves to more than one meeting. Some will naturally lead to other topics. The chapters are written in the order that worked for writing this book. It is not the order in which our family conversations occurred, and many of them keep recurring!

This book will cover important things you will need to know for college prep and/or any other future plans.

This book gives suggestions for topics that need to be discussed over time, and hopefully long before your teen’s senior year! (Yet, if that’s where you are, then, by all means, start talking!)



“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”

– Anne Frank

About the author.

Melanie Prather Studer has spent the last thirty years as a mother and teacher- preschool through middle school. When her kids became teenagers, Melanie started keeping notes and doing research to help her children get a head start on getting into college and ultimately out into the real world.

She eventually started a blog for parents of teenagers

She shares real-world ideas and solutions for raising teens in today’s world.

Her book, College Bound: The Ultimate List of Conversations To Help Your Teen Through High School, will help parents as they journey through these years with their own teenagers.

Melanie is now speaking on podcasts as The Meeting Mama -for parents wanting a better relationship with their teens… “Regularly scheduled, intentional connections help as you master the art of parenting one conversation at a time!” And, she has started writing her second book.