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Nancy Berk, Ph.D.
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Nancy Berk, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, humorist and author. Armed with a doctorate from Vanderbilt University, her “Stand-Up Psychology” blends comedy and behavioral expertise to put everyday life on the couch. Nancy’s book >College Bound And Gagged: How to Get Your Kid Into a Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship, or Your Mind, tackles the tightrope millions of parents walk during the college process by throwing them a net and some laughs. It can be seen in the feature film Admission starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. A lifestyle, education and entertainment expert, Nancy hosts the iTunes’ celebrity podcast Whine At 9 and writes the online entertainment column "Showbiz Analysis" for Parade Magazine.

Entries by Nancy Berk, Ph.D.

6 Second Act Career Tips For Baby Boomers

(1) Comments | Posted March 20, 2014 | 6:35 AM

When I left a career in academia to pursue humor writing, there were plenty of outspoken and silent skeptics questioning my motives. Why would a 40-something woman with a Ph.D. (and a clinical psychologist at that) walk away from a steady paycheck? What kind of woman, after years of training...

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5 College Student/Parent Holiday Pet Peeves

(1) Comments | Posted December 20, 2013 | 2:12 PM

By now, most college kids have wrapped up finals and headed home. Their transition from independence back to family living is exciting and sometimes a little bumpy. When I posted this college kid advice in 2011, I didn't recognize its staying power, but some things never change. Below is my...

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Sounding Off on The Sound of Music

(16) Comments | Posted December 3, 2013 | 4:01 PM

This Thursday evening the world will be watching the talented Carrie Underwood step into some big shoes and Austrian-inspired braids to bring The Sound of Music, Live! to a new generation of television watchers. The world has long been fascinated by the magical musical and iconic film. For...

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Elvira, Mistress of the Dark's Halloween Costume Confessions

(5) Comments | Posted October 30, 2013 | 3:13 PM

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Image Credits: Photo by Kevin Scanlon, courtesy of Elvira, Inc.

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, has been rocking Halloween 365 days a year for more than three decades. And it seems that Cassandra Peterson, the woman behind the campy vampirish persona,...

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I Told You So: The Common App Hammers Home the Side Effects of Procrastination

(3) Comments | Posted October 15, 2013 | 5:38 PM

This month I had a huge "I told you so" moment thanks to the Common App. It wasn't a good feeling, especially given that plenty of high school seniors and their parents were having down-to-the-wire panic attacks over the system's software fail. But these glitches have hammered home...

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From M*A*S*H to Last Man Standing: Can We Predict Sitcom Success?

(0) Comments | Posted September 24, 2013 | 5:16 PM

As Hollywood rolls out a new season of sitcoms, I couldn't help but wonder if there's a formula for success. Can seasoned hit sitcom writers predict what an audience will love? Are viewers fickle? Do audience demographics and senses of humor shift? I recently had the opportunity to quiz a...

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The 5 Browns on College Admission, Juilliard and Creating a Great Music Portfolio

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2013 | 7:00 PM

One of the most challenging pieces of a college application can be the sports, music, art or film portfolio. The best advice often comes from those who've been there and become successful in the process. I recently had the opportunity to ask five musical success stories their suggestions for creating...

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Parental Warning: U.S. News & World Report Releases Best Colleges Rankings

(3) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 9:01 AM

Like every year, as summer wraps and college-bound parental panic begins to surge, U.S. News and World Report shares its rankings of Best Colleges. While one can appreciate the painstaking data collection and the voluminous amount of information packed into one document, the highly publicized lists...

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Humor in the Job Interview Is No Laughing Matter

(4) Comments | Posted August 29, 2013 | 2:36 PM

As a psychologist and comic, I was intrigued by The Today Show's recent report on a Career Builder survey of employers. The results found that a good sense of humor was the top influencing characteristic in the potential employee comparison and selection process. That sounds nice, but without...

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5 College-Bound Conversations to Have Before Your Kid Hits Campus

(0) Comments | Posted August 12, 2013 | 7:59 PM

When the Princeton Review released its list of top party schools this week, parents of college-bound students began pumping up their lecture material on drug and alcohol use. While these safety conversations are critically important, there are also a few conversations most parents don't think to have until...

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Dorm Decorating: Putting Parents in the Mix

(0) Comments | Posted July 23, 2013 | 6:46 PM

This month, Target launched a back-to-college marketing campaign that gives every college-bound kid and their parents a reason to shop. The retailer has captured a family-driven milestone and the myriad of emotions, needs and wants associated with it, while providing problem-solving solutions that are easy on the eyes,...

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After High School Graduation: Summer Strategy for Parents

(1) Comments | Posted May 22, 2013 | 2:53 PM

There's nothing quite like the thrill of high school graduation. For teens, it is a rush of relief and anticipation of independence. For many parents, it is a rush of relief, followed by anxiety related to that same independence. Still, the pride and excitement that floods commencement auditoriums and stadiums...

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School's Out for Summer: 5 Reminders for Family Harmony

(3) Comments | Posted May 7, 2013 | 8:03 PM

After semesters of freedom, moving back home can be confusing for college students. Greeted by gushing relatives, overflowing refrigerators, and clean bed linens, who wouldn't begin to expect continued concierge service?

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The problem? Your "hotel" isn't staffed for that. If you're anticipating a tiny...

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Pet Projects

(8) Comments | Posted April 3, 2013 | 5:19 PM

Recently, our Chihuahua Bob and his late brother Gryffyn were featured in the photo-laden humor book A Canine's Guide to the Good Life. Penned (or is that pawed?) by adopted shelter dogs Frankie and LuLu, with a little help from owner/author Donna Cavanagh, the book captures tips that are sure...

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Hollywood Admission

(1) Comments | Posted March 20, 2013 | 12:32 PM

This week college admission gets ready for its close up as the new feature film Admission hits the big screen on March 22nd. The film should pull in big crowds and not just because Tina Fey and Paul Rudd are box office draws whose chemistry clicks. Yes, having...

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Career Critiques: Why the Double Standard?

(1) Comments | Posted February 27, 2013 | 4:56 PM

During a recent episode of my podcast Whine At 9, I interviewed Devon Allman (son of Allman Brothers Band legend Gregg) about his new solo album Turquoise. The album has garnered great reviews and Allman was not only charming, but...

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Countdown to Admission: The Movie

(4) Comments | Posted February 19, 2013 | 12:50 PM

The countdown to college admission is filled with anxiety. As a parent, I've been through it with both of my children and lived to tell about it. In fact, I documented the experience, humor, and strategy in a book. College Bound and Gagged: How to Help Your Kid...

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Lessons Learned from Valentine's Day

(2) Comments | Posted February 6, 2013 | 10:38 AM

Valentine's Day is believed to be the second most celebrated holiday around the world. Pretty amazing, given all of those "Hallmark Holiday" references many have given it over the years. True, some of those pessimists were bad boyfriends and husbands who hated to shop, but February 14th has...

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College Admission Tips to Learn From the Super Bowl

(2) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 10:42 AM

As Super Bowl XLVII approaches, it's the perfect time to consider some strategies from the NFL playbook that might help turn the college-bound journey into a positive one. If the "no pain-no gain" theory is right, the stressful college search must yield some mega rewards. Below are some Super Bowl...

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Super Bowl Parents: Putting on a Different Game Face

(5) Comments | Posted January 22, 2013 | 2:02 PM

I've been thinking a lot about Jack and Jackie Harbaugh today. As a psychologist and the mom of two boys sharing a career path in film, I can't help but analyze the Harbaugh situation. When two of your children are literally at the top of their game, it's...

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