Advice

Using Syllabi to Your Advantage

You walk into the classroom for the first day of Western Civilization, in your best ‘new semester, new opportunities’ wardrobe (i.e. your best pair of sweatpants). You find a seat in the auditorium-like room and sit down, making small talk with others around you. Suddenly, the professor walks in and before even taking roll, he immediately slaps a packet down on each student’s desk. It’s the syllabus, and the first of many syllabi you’ll get over the next few days.

It’s syllabus week. You go in for the first day of each class, getting an over-sized packet of information that takes your professor the rest of the week to explain. Some people hate it, thinking it’s a waste of time. Others love it, seeing it as an easy first week of the semester. It’s what you do with those packets, though, that make a difference in the way your semester goes. Are you one to throw them away? Do you put them in a folder, never to be opened again? If that’s you, it may be worth rethinking your strategy. Follow the tips below to learn how to make the most of your syllabi!

FILL OUT YOUR PLANNER

The best thing to use your syllabi for is planning your semester. The first step in doing this is to get a planner. There are plenty of options out there, both cheap and more expensive. Don’t be afraid to spend a few extra bucks on a nice planner. You’ll be more inclined to use it if you actually like the way it looks (and knowing you spend more money on it is a pretty good incentive itself).

Once you’ve got your planner, grab your first syllabi. What you’ll find is that almost every assignment you’ll have throughout the year is right in front of you. Go through the schedule portion of each syllabi and put those dates on your calendar. Do this during syllabus week while most professors aren’t assigning homework. Once you’ve put everything in your planner, the real key is to use the planner! Make sure to stay up-to-date with what’s due each week. Having everything in one place keeps you organized and on-track all semester.

HIGHLIGHT, HIGHLIGHT, HIGHLIGHT

If you’re anything like me, your syllabi will soon be looking more like the rainbow. I am a sucker for highlighters, and they’re a sure-fire way to make sure you stay organized. Planners aren’t for everyone, so the next best thing is to use the syllabus as its own planner. Toward the back of most packets, professors have already laid everything out into a neat calendar-like design for you.

While your professor is going over the syllabus (more like reading it to you, even though you, in fact, know how to read) whip out those highlighters and get to work. In order for highlighting to work, you have to color code. For instance, use a yellow highlighter for large projects, a blue highlighter for reading assignments, etc. This will make it a million times easier to find exactly what you’re looking for when due dates start coming up.

STAY AHEAD OF THE GAME

Sometimes you hear people say ‘You’re such an overachiever,” like it’s a bad thing, but let me tell you when you’re in college, overachieving can be your best friend. Luckily, your syllabi allow you the opportunity to get ahead in your classes when you have the time available, so that you don’t have to cram everything in at the last second.

Let’s say it’s Tuesday and you’re working through the required reading for that Western Civ class you were sitting in at the beginning of this post. Chapters one and two are to be read by tomorrow (Wednesday), the next two chapters by Friday. You finish reading chapters one and two and have no other homework to do for the night. The best thing to do is take a few extra minutes to read the next couple chapters while you have time so that by the time Friday rolls around, you aren’t forgetting, or hurrying, to read those chapters.

Perhaps my favorite thing about syllabi is they often tell you exactly what your final project or final exam will look like. In my case, my majors were both very project-oriented, so rather than taking a final exam, I turned in projects or large papers. I was always able to work on these throughout the semester, with help from my syllabi, so that I would have more time to do my best with them, and so that I wouldn’t be locked away in a study room at the library for the entire last part of the semester. For example, I took a literature class in which the final was a 25-page paper. I worked on this over the course of the semester, writing about three or four pages per week, if not more. I broke the assignment up so that writing 25 pages didn’t feel like as much. It wasn’t nearly as gruesome and I had more time to proofread (and more time to hang out with my friends) as the semester came to an end.

ATTENDANCE, GRADING SCALE, ETC.

Aside from the positive planning aspect of syllabi, they’re also good for keeping track of the way each professor handles a classroom because, as we all know, professors can all be very different.

If you take out the class schedule, perhaps the most popular thing in syllabi is the attendance policy. It’s inevitable. You’ll rarely find a student that hasn’t considered just not showing up to class one day. Maybe you’re cramming for a test or you’re simply tired and need some extra rest. No matter the reason, it’s always important to know how many classes you can skip before it impacts your grade. That number varies with some classes allowing as little as two unexcused absences, others six or seven. Having a syllabus for each class allows you to keep track of exactly how many days you have so that you don’t miss one too many days and cost yourself a grade.

Something else that often varies from class to class is the grading scale. A 90 percent in your Western Civ class could be an A while it’s a B in your Statistics class and vice versa. Luckily, you don’t have to memorize the scale for each of your classes because, guess what, it’s in the syllabus. Keeping your syllabi in a place where you can easily access them will help you keep track of your grades so that you always know what you’ve got and what you need to do to maintain or improve them based on the requirements of each class.

Professors spend countless hours creating syllabi for the classes they teach because they find them to be important. The syllabus is your lifeline for your class. Some people even go as far as treating it like a legal contract between the professor and students. Every bit of information on each page has meaning and is, most likely, something you need to know and have readily available throughout the semester. Hold onto syllabi. Use them. They’re worth it!

CELEBRATE!

At the end of a long, hard, hopefully successful semester, you’ll want to have some fun. Lucky for you, before you throw away your supplies from the semester, your syllabi have one more use. Head outside, start a campfire, throw them in and celebrate! Those syllabi are perfect to fuel your fire and will keep it burning bright. Plus, it’s pretty relieving to officially take those classes off your mind. Just make sure you’re burning that fire in a safe place. 😊

If you have other tips on how to use syllabi to your advantage, tell us in the comments!

Why “Doing it All” Isn’t Always “Doing it Well”

More than ever, students feel the pressure to be absolutely perfect. We are bombarded with countless opportunities to get involved, support a cause, or enhance our resume. The era of FOMO (fear of missing out) is upon us. All hope is not lost! With a little effort, even the busiest among us can find ways to start doing a few things well instead of doing all the things. At eCampus.com, we pride ourselves on specializing in one thing: textbooks. Read ahead to learn a few things from the “doing one thing well” pros..

Invest Your Time

Instead of cramming your schedule full of stuff that won’t matter in 5 years, focus on doing something that will have a long-term benefit. Consider picking up an internship at a local business in place of taking an extra course in Underwater Basket-Weaving. Your hands-on experience (even if it’s unpaid) can help make you a standout candidate for a future job!

When eCampus.com was created in 1999, (See?! We’re a millennial too!) we decided that saving college students thousands on textbooks would create a long-term ripple effect. When you’re able to save on that Math 105 textbook – you’re able to invest in your other hobbies and interests.

Care About It

A foundation in doing a few things well is to make sure that you actually care about them. Take a few minutes to sit down and think, journal, meditate on the things that matter to you. That’s your starting point. Design your schedule and life around the things that make you tick! This will ensure that you stay motivated and focused on achieving your goals. Plus, it will help you weed out the opportunities that may not be suited for your personality.

Residing in the heart of Kentucky, eCampus.com knows the value of having a culture that cares about what we do. Our main focus has always been, and always will be, college students of all kinds. We want to be the most trusted and efficient textbook retailer in the country – and that’s what we try to do every single day!

Relax!

Last but not least, a key to doing a few things really well is to know when to chill. out. Millennials are doing a lot better than their parents in knowing how to self-care, but we aren’t perfect. There is no way that you will be able to do much of anything if you live in a constant state of stress. Take a few minutes out of every day to be present in the moment… think about yourself and what you need at that moment, and go get it.

This point drives us eCampus.com to make our website and process as simple as possible. Don’t waste time scrolling through pages of search results from a website that sells books as a side gig. Make it easy, fast, and cheap by sticking with the company that knows one thing really well: eCampus.com

College Students (Like You) Could End Child Poverty

Today marks National Red Nose Day! What is it you may ask? Well, it’s a day dedicated to raising money for children in poverty in America and around the world. This national fundraising campaign is run by the non-profit Comic Relief USA with the goal of helping to end child poverty through the use of comedy. Since 1988, National Red Nose Day has managed to raise over 1 billion dollars!  As college students, you may wonder what you could possibly do to help raise money when you yourself are struggling to keep up with college funds. That’s perfectly fine! There are multiple ways you can help raise money with little to no money. Even donating some of your time can not only help others, but in turn, benefit you as well in the long run. Here’s how you can do it:

How can you help?

1. You can stop by your local Walgreens or subsidiary Duane Reade and purchase a red nose for $1. Donning the red nose symbolizes a kid-friendly air that both entertains and brings awareness to child poverty. Just donating $1 can help provide 11 meals for hungry children through your local Feeding America Food Banks.

2. You can get onto the Red Nose Day website and donate money using either PayPal or card. Even small donations help!

3. You can either find or start your own fundraiser to aid children in poverty without having to spend any money. If you choose to start your own fundraiser, you have the choice of either fundraising on your own, joining a team, or starting a new team. At the Red Nose Day website, they provide you with a list of ideas on how you can start up a fundraiser.

4. You can tune into NBC from 8:00 pm-10:00 pm on Thursday, May 24th and watch three different shows “Celebrity Ninja Warrior for Red Nose Day”, “Running Wild with Bear Grylls for Red Nose Day” and finally the live broadcasting of the “Red Nose Day Special”. Each show is tied together to celebrate Red Nose Day. Throughout the three shows, you will be entertained, learn about the programs supported by Red Nose Day, and provided with the opportunity to donate to the charity through phone calls. To learn more about the programs, click here.

5. You can spread the word! Making others aware of this campaign increases the chances of others donating their time or money to help!

How can you benefit from volunteering?

As a college student, volunteering for a non-profit organization not only helps out your community, but also keeps your skills up-to-date, expands your network, and provides yourself with the opportunity to get a potentially paying job.

Putting your volunteer work in your resume helps you showcase your skills, experience, and expertise. When employers look through a resume, they tend to only look at one for 6-10 seconds. In order to make it count, you need to have something that stands out. Red Nose Day or any other volunteer work is a great way to do so.

Even being a part of some form of Greek life on your campus can benefit you greatly. By being associated with a sorority/fraternity, you get involved in some shape or form of volunteer work. Employers will most likely take notice of this on your resume. According to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the Greek system is the largest network of volunteers in the US, with members donating over 10 million hours of volunteer services each year.

If you want to find other non-profit volunteer organizations near you, click here.

Tips for Writing a Killer Resume Post-Graduation

Graduating from college is an important milestone in any graduate’s life. It marks your ability to commit to something long-term and accomplish it. Getting your degree is the first step into entering the professional workforce and while it’s exciting, there’s a hurdle you must jump before you can land that first job; writing a resume. Writing resumes is something most recent graduates struggle with, but with the right formatting and content, you can write a killer resume any employer will be drawn to. Here are some tips on how to create such a resume:

 

  1. Use a reverse-chronological format: As a recently graduated college student, it’s best to use a reverse-chronological format. You most likely won’t have a lot of work experience, so using this format is the most practical way to show your vertical career progression. Listing your education at the top is practical because it’s your greatest qualification. Click here for a step-by-step guide on writing a reverse-chronological resume.

 

 2. Keep it to one page: You won’t have enough experience to justify having a second page to your resume. Did you know that employers will only look at a resume for 6-10 seconds at max? Therefore you need to make your resume short, sweet, and to the point.

 

3.  Do not include a reference page on your resume: Since your resume needs to be no more than a page, don’t waste valuable space by adding references.References should be made available upon request. Employers most likely won’t ask for references until the actual face-to-face interview. Bring a separate page with your references when that time comes.

 

4.  Include a link to your professional profile: Every recent graduate needs to have at least one professional profile established. Most professional employers use social media as a form of researching their candidates, particularly through LinkedIn. Provide a link to your profile with your contact information.

 

5. List your GPA: If you have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, list it at the top of your education background. Anything below a 3.0 should not be listed, but keep in mind, employers will take notice of this and possibly ask you about it during the interview.

 

6. Bullet point your work experience accomplishments: Many people make the mistake of listing the tasks and responsibilities they were given when describing their work experience, but employers aren’t interested in this. They’re interested in what you accomplished while you were there. Since employers will only scan over these accomplishments, it’s best to bullet point everything so that it’s easier to digest. Make sure to also use strong action verbs when describing said accomplishments.

 

7. Leave anything from high school out: Employers aren’t interested in what you’ve accomplished before college. They want current, relevant information that supports your overall career oriented goals.

 

8. Don’t fluff up your summary/objective: Throwing in words such as “team player” or “proactive” are overused terms employers recognize as pure fluff. Instead explain how you were able to improve any processes.

 

  1. Avoid using pronouns: When writing your resume, it’s best to avoid talking in first person (“I” or “Me”) or third person (“John worked as”, “He worked as”). The best way to write your resume is in a telegraphic manner.

 

10. Use relevant keywords: When applying for a job, look for repeating key terms in the job application. If you have any of those skills or had any experience in that process, then incorporate them into your resume.   

Benefits of Selling Your Books Back

Good news! You survived another semester of classes! The only thing left to do now is sell all the textbooks you never want to lay eyes on again. There are many places to sell your books at, but not all of them have the competitive pricing that eCampus.com uses. We make the buyback process as quick and easy as possible and offer in-store credit, direct deposit, or check. You can either choose to sell directly through our website, or you can sell through our Marketplace.

 

Selling Textbooks on eCampus.com

Selling your textbooks on our site is fairly straightforward and fast. You just need to enter the ISBN number located above the bar code of your textbook and get a quote on what it’s worth. Once you see your quote you’ll receive different payment options. If this isn’t your last semester of school, it’s recommended to choose the in-store credit option because you’ll receive a bonus that can be applied to your next semester of classes. Once you select your payment option, just ship your books to us and you’ll be paid!

Benefits of Selling Textbooks with eCampus.com:  

  • Shipping is always free
  • It’s easy! Just print your label and send us your books
  • Get paid by check, direct deposit, or in-store credit
  • Choose in-store credit for a bonus
  • Books with writings or highlights in them are still accepted  

 

Selling Textbooks Through the eCampus.com Marketplace

The Marketplace feature allows you to list your textbooks for sale on our website. All you have to do is enter the ISBN number located above the bar code of your textbook and give a brief description of the books you’re selling. Once your textbook is sold, we will send you a notification email. You can either receive payment through direct deposit or check. View additional details here.

Benefits of using the eCampus.com Marketplace:

  • Expose your inventory to over 1 million college students
  • Easy payments made directly to your bank account
  • Dedicated Marketplace support team
  • No annual fees
  • Downloadable reports
  • FTP inventory management
  • Volume seller friendly
  • Option to sell bulk quantities

Added Benefits of using the eCampus.com Marketplace:

  • No hidden costs or annual costs
  • Integrate easily with Fillz and Art of Books Inventory Management
  • Competitive shipping reimbursement

 

As students, you have two options when it comes to selling your textbooks. You can either sell them online, or sell them to your campus bookstore. You may receive instant cash when you go to your campus bookstore, but you could be making a whole lot more selling through our website. Check out your quote on eCampus.com today!

For any additional help, please contact the help desk.