Praise for the Talking College™ Card Deck

Reviews from Parents

"I really wanted my kids to think about some issues that they might face when they go to college. I had given them a couple of scenarios to see what they might do and help them think about things. But now I have these amazing conversation cards. This is truly the best way to prepare your kid for dealing with issues when they go off to college. This deck includes so many great life skills that are not taught in school and often not taught at home."


"Check out this wonderful idea and product… you don't yet realize how much you need these for your college-bound high schooler, your class, your school, but you will! Especially after you get them!"


“As the parent of a high school junior, college can seem so far away, yet also overwhelmingly close! The process of making a list of colleges, touring schools, filling out applications, and writing essays can seem daunting, but the Talking College™ card prompts helped me to break down some of the really important topics to broach with my son before he heads off to college in a few short years.”


“It's never too soon to start encouraging independence, practicing life skills and learning how to ‘adult,’ and these cards highlight those important topics and many I would have never thought about on my own.”


“Talking College cards break down these important topics into organized and easy to follow talking prompts for both the child and parent and encourages thoughtful collaboration in families.”


“It's never too soon to start preparing our children for going off into the world on their own, and these cards will give me a sense of comfort, knowing my son is as prepared as possible to embark on this exciting new chapter in his life!”


“With two kids already in college and two heading in that direction, there is much I’d like them to know. But my kids don’t want to be lectured. The Talking College cards facilitate conversation between parents and children.”


“The cards in the deck are well organized and cover everything from relationships to academics. It will help prompt parents and students to discuss important issues. My daughter thought the “Getting Involved” and “Safety” cards were very helpful discussion topics. I really appreciated the “Money” cards. I will be purchasing more card decks to give as graduation gifts.”


“Amazing addition to the book, How to College! These cards help provoke the questions our students have before they go to college and issues we need to discuss with our students as responsible parents!”

Reviews from College Coaches and Consultants

"The Talking College Cards™" are a MUST for parents who want to ensure that their child will be independent enough to thrive in college and for students who have no idea what they don’t know about the higher education experience. I wish all high schools could distribute these card packs to their senior families, and I certainly would have had a much better undergraduate experience myself if I had these cards when I was a teenager!

-Dr. Maruta Z. Vitols, Owner, A+ College Consulting LLC, former college professor

“As an Independent Educational Consultant, I love using the Talking College™ Cards as a way to precipitate much-needed conversations with my students about transitioning to college.  They also make a wonderful gift for families to use since each deck includes hundreds of prompts covering a variety of themes that will help students and parents adjust to college life.” 

-Jodi Goldberg Glou, President, Custom College Consulting

“In my work as a coach, I talk to parents & students all the time with vastly different expectations. Talking College cards are an excellent tool for families to discuss real and challenging topics. I recommend them during my College Readiness Packages!”

-Beth Felsen, Autism specialist, coach, & founder of Spectrum Transition Coaching

"The Talking College Card Deck is an essential resource for families of students heading to college. It's a fun and thought-provoking way to inspire college-readiness conversations beyond academics, including executive function and independent living skills that are often better predictors of college success."

-Janet Price, Assistant Vice President of Outreach and Admissions, College Living Experience


Reviews from Higher Education Professionals


“The Talking College card deck sets students – and families – up for success as they navigate all the transitions, questions, and changes that the college experience brings. The cards outline almost a dozen topics, from getting involved, to expectations, finances, safety and everything in between, that will allow students and families to start communicating before heading to campus in meaningful ways, start re-negotiating their relationship, and know what types of things to ask or investigate about their institution’s offerings.  This is a great way to start getting ready for orientation, the first year, and the entire college experience!”

-Danielle Morgan Acosta, PhD, Associate Dean of Students, Clark University

“This little deck of Talking College™ cards can open the door to needed communication between parents and their college-bound students. Andrea Malkin Brenner has drawn on years of higher education experience to develop a clever way to deal with the issues of college life that students and parents sometimes find difficult to discuss.  If you have a soon-to-be first-year college student, you will enjoy these prompts and find them valuable in helping your student break away while still maintaining important family connections.”

-Betsy Barefoot & John Gardner, Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

“In my work, most of the issues that end up in my office are avoidable mistakes that could have been prevented by parents and students talking through all aspects of the college experience in advance of enrollment. The Talking College™ cards are a great tool for parents and students to use in the year before a student goes to college so that frank, open communication can be stimulated.”

-Keith B. Humphrey, PhD, Vice President for Student Affairs, California Poly State University

“This card deck clearly reflects Dr. Andrea Brenner’s comprehensive, firsthand knowledge of the college transition today—as a college transition educator, an author, a professor, a sociologist, and a parent. Each card provides a light-bulb moment that anticipates the wide array of decisions and new experiences a first-year college student must navigate, and offers an accessible, interactive way for families to have important conversations. I’m struck by how the cards address potentially difficult topics in ways that are non-judgmental, non-alarmist, and do not presume a default family culture, structure, or socioeconomic status. Furthermore, while thoughtfully designed for parent-student interaction, the card deck could also be immensely helpful for students, parents, or even college staff and faculty, to use on their own to better understand the crucibles of college transition today. As a university professor, I believe the Talking College™ card deck would greatly increase an incoming first-year student’s chances of success and well-being, both in and out of the classroom.”

-Angie Chuang, Associate Professor of Journalism & Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies, University of Colorado Boulder


"Talking College cards are a great new addition to the toolbox available to college-bound students and their parents to prepare for the transition to college. I especially appreciate the element of fun in choosing randomly from the deck and then using the prompt to guide the conversation. It’s a casual, pressure-free way to talk about both the practical aspects of leaving home such as what you should be packing, to some of the more emotional topics such as homesickness and making new friends and everything in between. You can toss them into your bag and pull them out when you have a few minutes in the car, or on vacation, or at the dinner table. Students can use them with their friends and parents can contemplate the questions on their own to give them a sense of what their student should be thinking about and preparing for as they begin this momentous journey. As a higher ed. professional, I know from experience that students who are well-prepared have the smoothest transition and are better able to navigate their college experience in a way that allows them to truly thrive. Talking College cards are an excellent way to ensure that."

-Jamie Wyatt, Director of Honors and Scholars Programs, American University

"Proactive discussions and expectation setting is a critical component of the college transition, but families don’t often know where to start, or what questions to ask.  The Talking College™ Card Deck provides students and their families with the scripting they need to discuss the myriad of issues that a student will face throughout their college experience. I can see this resource being a casual “grab a card and let’s chat” option over family dinner or a longer discussion where families explore a specific topic together. The prompts are the cards are not intimidating and get at the heart of the most pressing issues for the transition to college for the student and their family members. This should be the hottest graduation gift for high school seniors!”

-Jennifer Latino, EdD, Senior Director, Research Advisory Services Educational Advisory Board

Former Associative Vice President for Student Success, Campbell University

"As a professor and an adviser to new college students, I am certain that Dr. Brenner’s Talking College™ Cards will help families start important conversations before their student leaves home. Every first-year college student brings their own unique, individual background and experiences to college, but these discussion prompts are for every first year college student." 

-Jennifer Rothchild, PhD, Professor of sociology, University of Minnesota, Morris 

"As a professor, I know that the transition to college is a significant one. Students work hard to be qualified for admission to college, but that work does not always translate to success as a college student. Students can prepare for college-level academics and the other aspects of college life that are conditions precedent to a successful academic life-- from mental health to financial planning. It starts with meaningful, productive conversations.  These conversation prompts offer families a road map for the college transition. Importantly, they help families establish and practice the communication habits that they will need in this next exciting phase of a student's life."

-Lara Schwartz, JD, Professorial Lecturer, Department of Government, American University

Co-Author, "How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You’re There)"