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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

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.

The Thing No One Likes to Talk About

We’ve all been there – your award letter comes and maybe it’s not quite as much as you’d hoped it would be. And the loan portion isn’t quite as little as you’d hoped it would be. But you take out the loan anyway because how else are you supposed to pay for school? We’re 18-22 year olds mostly, and I don’t know about you, but I certainly haven’t got $30,000 lying around for free spending. College costs continue to rise and with the rising cost comes a rising amount of average debt per student per year.

 loans1

 In addition to a higher amount of debt being taken on by students, a larger number of students have to resort to taking out loans as well.

 loans2

 Another thing to keep in mind while borrowing for undergrad, is how you are planning to pay for grad school should you choose that route. According to the Wall Street Journal, “About 15% of graduate and professional school students graduate with six-figure student loan debt compared with only 0.3% of undergraduate students”. Be aware of potential salary increases that can come from an advanced degree in comparison with the additional debt and decide for yourself if it is appropriate for your goals.

 Student loan debt is not all bad though. With proper planning and budgeting, you can keep your student loan debt under control. Still, college students need to be aware of how much they are borrowing and make sure it is the smallest amount possible to get through school. Supplement the borrowed amounts with jobs and scholarships as much as possible. It’s not always enough to cover everything, but every little bit counts especially once interest starts adding up on an unnecessary loan.

Sell Your Used College Textbooks to eCampus.com!

Have a backpack full of used textbooks you don’t need anymore? Sell your used college textbooks to eCampus.com! It is much easier than selling your textbook at the campus bookstore, selling them to a friend, selling them on Craigslist, or selling them to that weird kid down the hall.

Just visit eCampus.com, enter the ISBNs of the books you want to sell, print your FREE shipping label, and send them to us! We offer checks, direct deposit, or get 20% more for your books if you choose in-store credit.

Have a great summer everyone and remember that you can make some easy money selling your college textbooks to eCampus.com!

-Lovejoy