A Sampling of Testimonials

"Barbara, First, I do want you to know that your book is one of the best I have ever read about the many challenging aspects of today's college admissions process. Frankly, after years in a Dean's role and recalling how often my fellow admissions officers and I have been called upon to "explain" the reasons for a disappointing decision by understandably upset parents, I feel you have captured the unique psychological influences involved in the present-day overwhelmingly selective college admissions process. This phenomenon is being felt at all types of schools in addition to the most selective ones.

Parents, I feel, in today's uncertain national and international economies want most of all to ensure that their children will have the best background in order to hopefully guarantee success in life however that is defined. Therefore, the "best" colleges and universities are benefitting from this mindset as are many of America's best known and respected state-related schools.

Your exceptionally helpful and insightful book should be required reading for all who are an active part of the college search experience, even including the prospective students. But all parents will be well-served to digest your observations and especially your interesting case studies. In well-chosen words you are able to suggest the reasons for the heightened level of anxiety. Your writing style is quite honest and refreshingly candid which will allow readers to put the entire process into some kind of order and perspective. While some parents may not agree with the admissions decisions, they will better understand the dynamics at work in today's climate. Again, I may not have read every piece of literature on this subject but I feel certain that "Hold On To Your Hat" will go a long way to helping many individuals understand the realities and reasons for the "selective college" admissions universe.

Finally, your organization of the various steps in the process will assist families to better navigate as well as more clearly understand what is ahead. Your book has been needed for many years. I predict much success and expect it will have a significant influence on many individuals!!"

Lee Stetson

Dean of Admissions

University of Pennsylvania


Director of Admissions

University of Delaware


“Wonderful information. A must for anyone involved in the college application scene.”

Winston Groom

Award winning author (Forrest Gump and 16 other books) and parent of a high school student

“Barbara Long has done something remarkable. In the abundance of well-intentioned self-help books about college admissions, she has honed in on the crucial question that is often ignored in the race to get into a name-brand college. Her question is: how can you go through this process with balance, grace, and humility so that if you are rejected, you will still feel like a whole person? Her advice works both for applicants and especially for their parents. It includes amusing, but also serious examples, of over-the-top reactions to bad news. I wish I had a copy to give to every parent at my high school. I will recommend it widely.”

Jon Reider, Director of College Counseling

San Francisco University High School

"Dr. Long's book provides college-bound students and parents with a practical understanding of, and approach to, the college application and selection process. It's less about grades and scores and more about expectations and emotions."

Michael Quinn

Vice President for Enrollment Management

Randolph College

Lynchburg, VA

“After living through the college admissions cycle six times with each of our children, I only wish Barbara’s thoughtful analysis and practical advice had been available to me during the process. Barbara’s clear explanation of the psychological processes at work in college admissions provides a useful and unique perspective for anyone embarking on the process for the first…or even the sixth time!”

Lynn Wendell

Mother of six college graduates

San Francisco, California

“I LOVE the book! You have done all of us a favor to write this book. Well done!!”

Missy Sanchez

College counselor emeritus

Woodward Academy, Atlanta, GA

“As a college counselor on the high school side, I would recommend Dr. Long's book to each and every family I work with. Parents and students alike "learn" incorrect information about the college search process from friends, relatives, and others. "Hold On To Your Hat" demystifies the process and provides accurate information and solid advice I could only hope my students and parents come across. I will be suggesting Dr. Long's book to every parent and student I work with.”

DeeDee R. Willcox,

College Counselor

Deerfield-Windsor School

Albany, Georgia

“I really like it— easy to read and full of very sound advice!”

David Baron, M.D.

Professor and Vice Chair, Dept of Psychiatry

Assistant Dean of International Relations

Psychiatrist-in-Chief, University Hospital

Keck School of Medicine

University of Southern California

“As the parents of two college graduates, a current undergraduate, and a high school senior going through the application process, we applaud Dr Long for writing such a practical and informative overview of the college application/selection process. Not only does this guide provide all the necessary tools and pertinent information to guide both parents and students through the application process, it also provides valuable guidance on a topic rarely covered well by other publications, namely how to deal with acceptance and the disappointment of not being accepted into the student’s school of choice. This is an exceptional guide to navigate through the college search, application and selection process. Well Done!!”

Nick and Maxine Mitchell

Parents of four children

Marietta, Georgia

“I am a mother of two children ages 16 and 17 and can already feel the intense anxiety that everyone experiences as they launch into this process with their kids. The anxiety is there because no one knows what to expect emotionally from the process. Dr. Long’s book was such a relief to read, because it dealt with the emotions involved and especially the challenges of expectations and disappointment—huge issues for parents and kids alike. The book couldn’t have been more helpful in explaining the steps of the emotional process and I am so happy to have gotten the chance to read the book, because I am now beginning this roller coaster ride myself with my older child. It was a relief to know what is coming up!”

Mignon Topping

Mother of two teenagers

Atlanta, Georgia

“Hold On To Your Hat! is a comprehensive guide to the emotional journey that students and parents face when dealing with college decisions. Applicable not only to the college process but in dealing with major life decisions, this book gives the reader the opportunity to grow through the diverse experiences as portrayed by Dr. Long’s various characters. The proposed suggestions for each step of the college application process and the guidance in the self-assessments help students to form a more thorough personal understanding of self which, in turn, has emotionally prepared my students for the ups and downs during this adventure. I would recommend this book for any student who is interested in pursuing higher education!”

Desmond Mitchell

Head of Academics

Associate Director Olé Football Academy

Wellington, New Zealand

"This is a splendid book with a great deal of valuable information for those who are applying to college and their families. The vignettes are particularly meaningful. Actually, it has a great deal for those in all walks of life. "

Marcia Kraft Goin, M.D., Ph.D.

Past President, American Psychiatric Association

Professor of Clinical Psychiatry

Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

President, Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, the profession’s oldest “think tank”

“This is an excellent guide particularly for parents of high school children who are engaged in the application process. The reader is led from the process of choosing colleges to apply to up to the time of acceptance or rejection. Brief case presentations help illustrate the different approaches to the process as well as the different emotional reactions that children and their parents experience. Identifying emotional reactions and guidance with coping make this booklet must reading.”


Executive Vice-President, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Emeritus

Past President, Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry, the profession’s oldest “think tank”

By Barbara Long, M.D., Ph.D.
Cartoons by Harrison Parker
©2015 All Rights Reserved