campus life

How to Buy Textbooks for a College Student

With back to school season right around the corner, many parents of college students are finding themselves with long to-do lists and several new things to buy. This can be a stressful and expensive time for many parents and guardians as they prepare to send their students to campus. 

Every parent wants to make sure that their student has enough resources to help them succeed. One essential resource to the success of any college student is textbooks. However, if you are new to the textbook buying process, it can seem a little intimidating. 

When to Buy College Textbooks

A good rule of thumb to follow when purchasing textbooks is to wait until your student receives their syllabus with all outlined course materials. Unless a student is required to complete an assignment or reading prior to the beginning of a course, it is good to wait until the first day of class to purchase textbooks. This will allow students to confirm which materials are provided and if there are any additional items needed that aren’t on the syllabus. Sometimes professors will provide digital copies of required readings that are listed in the syllabus so that students do not have to purchase the whole book.

While there is no exact right time to purchase textbooks, it’s important to pay attention to assignment dates that might require the use of a textbook. Assignment due dates and course timelines should be listed in the syllabus. This is a  good reference to use when buying textbooks to make sure the purchased course materials  will arrive in time to complete outstanding assignments. 

Do Textbooks Come with Access Codes?

Over the last several years, digital learning and online course materials have gained a lot of popularity among college professors and departments. You may find that some of your student’s course materials require the purchase of an access code or an access code accompanies the physical textbook. An access code is like a password that students use to access course content online. The online content will depend on the course and to what extent the professor utilizes the online resources. The important thing to note is that an access code is not the same thing as a textbook.

If a student needs an access code for their course in addition to a textbook, here are a few thing to keep in mind:

  1. Not all textbooks come with access codes

When it’s time to buy a textbook and access code a student generally has a few options. They can either purchase a textbook that has an access code or they can purchase an access code separately. It is important to make sure that the textbook that is being purchased clearly states that it includes an access code.

  1. Used textbooks do not come with access codes

It is safe to assume that any access code that comes inside of a used textbook has already been used. Unless a student purchases a bundle that includes a used book and a separate access code, they will need to buy an individual access code.

  1. Some access codes can be bought online

In some cases, access codes or access to the course site can be bought directly online from the product or publisher website.

  1. Access codes don’t always last forever

The duration that an access code lasts can vary. Because of this, be sure your access code satisfies the duration that your student will need it. Typically, access codes last between 6-24 months.

  1. Most access codes can’t be returned

The unfortunate truth is that most access codes cannot be returned after they’re purchased.  It’s advisable to read the terms and conditions provided by the publisher of the access code to gain an understanding of their return policies. Once again, this gives another reason to ensure that your student requires the access code.

If a student is unsure if they need an access code for their course or not, it is always a good idea to double check with the instructor.

Searching For Textbooks: Do I Use ISBN 10 or 13?

A student’s syllabus typically contains the title of the book that is needed and the ISBN for that book. An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 10-digit or 13-digit number used to give every book its own identification label. You may be unsure of a book’s full title, author, or year published, but if you know its ISBN, you can be sure you’ve got the right book. The ISBN is a 10 or 13 digit number found on the back cover next to the barcode. Sometimes it can also be found near the copyright page by publisher information.

Where to Find Textbooks Online

The campus bookstore might seem like the most convenient place to buy textbooks, but did you know that you could save some serious money by purchasing textbooks online? There are tons of sites, including Amazon, that make it easy for you to purchase course materials online.

When purchasing textbooks online it’s important to make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible. It’s easy for a site to claim they’re giving you the best deal, so you might want to do some research before making a purchase.

Also Consider: Textbook Price Comparison Sites/Services

  • eCampus.com Marketplace: In addition to offering you great discounts on used, new, and rental items, we make it easy for you to compare prices from 70,000+ marketplace sellers! Just find the book you want and click “See Prices” next to the Marketplace option.
  • We also conducted thorough research and have come up with a list of our favorite textbook price comparison sites that can help you find the best deals on your textbooks. Simply search for the ISBN you’re looking for and these sites will scour the internet for the best prices available. Here are some of the the options that we found the most helpful:

For more information on buying textbooks online, check out our previous blog post about the best sites to buy college textbooks.

If you’re wondering where to buy cheap textbooks online, eCampus.com is always a great option. With 4.0 stars on Trustpilot, eCampus.com is the most trusted bookseller among the student community. You can save up to 90% on Textbook Rentals, Used & New Textbooks, and eTextbooks. eCampus.com also offers a great rewards program (eWards) that can make it easier for students to save money by earning rewards and exclusive deals.

Whenever it’s  time to start buying course materials for your college student, we hope that this has given you more information on the buying process. If you have other questions, our experienced team of customer service agents can help guide you through phone or chat. 

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References

  1. https://blog.ecampus.com/best-sites-to-buy-college-textbooks/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=best-sites-to-buy-college-textbooks
  2. https://www.collegexpress.com/articles-and-advice/majors-and-academics/blog/essential-college-textbook-hacks/#:~:text=Generally%2C%20wait%20until%20you%20go,before%20buying%20all%20required%20readings.
  3. https://www.collegeparentcentral.com/2014/04/does-your-college-student-need-textbooks/
  4. https://help.pearsoncmg.com/rumba/mylab_mastering_self-reg/en-en/Content/mm_access_code.html
  5. https://www.lakelandcc.edu/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=a9a198c0-0779-4ad0-98b7-3b903d366262&groupId=427619&filename=access_code_faqs.pdf
  6. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/01/why-students-are-still-spending-so-much-for-college-textbooks/551639/
  7. https://thecollegeinvestor.com/19838/buy-college-textbooks-online/
  8. https://webassign.com/support/student-support/access-codes/

The Incoming College Freshman Checklist (What to Bring to College)

Congratulations, you’re officially a college freshman! This is both an exciting and frightening transition for most students. There are many things to do in the summer before college, and it can be difficult to know how to get ready. There are things to pack, people to say goodbye to, and forms to fill out. 

For those already stressing over this new life chapter, there are plenty of ways to prepare before even stepping foot in a classroom or dorm. We’ve compiled a list of all of the important must-do items, so if you work through it a little at a time – you’ll be done before you know it!

Before you arrive on campus, use the following checklist to make sure you stay on track:

1. Make a Commitment

Once you’ve made your decision about which college to attend, you’ll need to commit to that college. You may be able to do this online or you may have to do it in writing.

You’ll need to send in your deposit, complete and accept the financial aid application, and fill out any health forms that are required the summer before college. Be sure to read the information closely and promptly respond to all of the forms you receive from your college so as to not miss any deadlines. 

Read through your acceptance letter completely and take note of important dates. Dates to keep in mind may include:

  • Deadline to accept admission (and pay the acceptance fee, if applicable) 
  • Deadline to submit final high school transcript 
  • Deadline to take placement tests 
  • Deadline to apply for housing 
  • Deadline to file your financial aid documents 
  • Deadline to sign up for orientation 

2. Establish Housing

Since many colleges require incoming freshmen to live in dorms, chances are high you’re going to have a roommate. Whether you are living on campus in a dorm or off campus in an apartment or house, make sure you have your housing lined up as early as possible. If you’re staying on campus, see if you can request housing that is close to your classes so you can save time each day. 

If your college has assigned a roommate, reach out by phone, connect through social media, get to know each other, and coordinate on furnishing and decorating your dorm. 

If you are looking for off-campus housing, make sure you check out several locations that meet your budget and your needs. Also, be sure to read your lease in its entirety, so you know what your landlord expects.

3. Schedule a Campus Tour

You can walk around the campus on your own, but scheduling a guided tour will give you more insight into the different areas of campus and what you can expect on your first day. While you’re exploring campus, make sure you note where the emergency points and security office are located. Both parents and students should take time before the semester begins to become familiar with the campus’ safety resources and procedures.

If you’re attending a college out of state, use this time to explore your new location. Now’s the time to research the popular restaurants, the nearest theaters and music venues, the parks in your proximity; to research the history, culture, and local population; and to identify some of the neighborhoods, landmarks, attractions, and adjacent towns worth seeing.

4. Register for Orientation

Orientation for incoming students may be mandatory at your college, but if it isn’t – try your best to attend anyway. This is especially important if you haven’t been able to visit the college beforehand. Register for an early orientation to (hopefully) get the classes you want, as well as to familiarize yourself with the campus and to see your official dorm and cafeteria options firsthand.

Orientation is a crucial time to start making friends, research clubs and organizations, and get to know your campus environment. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to ask questions and get involved. It’s important to note that everyone is going through the same thing, so don’t be shy – try to make as many connections as you can. 

5. Practice Life Skills

Your parents are most likely not heading off to college with you. This means you are responsible for your cooking, cleaning, and laundry – maybe for the first time in your life. Now is a great time to practice. Take the opportunity to learn how to cook some quick and simple meals, wash and dry your clothing properly, and clean up after yourself. 

Make sure you have established a checking and savings account that you can access to pay bills or withdraw cash as needed. These essential skills will keep your life outside the classroom on track.

6. Visit Your Doctor

Get up to date on all your vaccinations; most colleges require that you submit updated vaccination information before or during your first year.

If you have a regular or essential prescription, work with your doctor to have it transferred before you leave to a pharmacy near your campus, or get a second prescription written. In general, this is a chance to get a clean bill of health, update prescriptions, and ask your doctor any pressing questions before you leave home.

7. Start Networking

If you haven’t done this already, now would be a good time to engage with your college online. It’s a great way to participate in ongoing discussions and also familiarize yourself with the culture and lingo of the college.

One of the best ways to connect with other prospective or accepted freshmen at your university is through social media. Try searching your university with your prospective class year and see if any groups exist. Add your future school onto your profile on Facebook and LinkedIn to help encourage the connections even further.

Use this time to clean up your social media and make sure everything you post online represents your best self.

  • Double check that comments made by you and your friends are positive and professional
  • Make sure all photos (not just your profile image and cover images) are appropriate
  • Set your privacy settings accordingly 

Look for ways to get involved on campus, whether you want to join a club or team (or both). Spend some time researching the clubs and organizations related to your major, or check out some of the varsity, intramural or club sports your school hosts. Get an idea of what’s available before you get to campus so you don’t waste any time once you’re there.

8. Pack, Pack, Pack! 

The best way to feel prepared for your new adventure is knowing you’re fully prepared. Explore our college packing list for dorm room and apartment essentials. 

Before you buy or pack anything, be sure to check with your school about what items are and are not allowed. Most schools have to be very careful about health and safety regulations, and rules differ from place to place. Check out our Official College Packing List (College Must-Haves), which includes dorm room essentials (or apartment essentials), school supplies for college, and other key items for move-in day.

College move-in day can be extremely thrilling and a little scary. Even though moving into the dorms, finding your classes, and adjusting to your new surroundings can be overwhelming, remember to enjoy the experience. You’ll be making friends, discovering new hobbies, and learning more about yourself than ever before in no time!

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References: 

  1. https://blog.collegeboard.org/summer-before-college-checklist
  2. https://studentaid.gov/resources/prepare-for-college/checklists/12th-grade
  3. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-in/making-a-decision/off-to-college-checklist
  4. https://thebestschools.org/magazine/summer-before-college/
  5. https://www.nitrocollege.com/blog/4-checklists-for-college 

9 Money Saving Tips for College Students on a Budget

By: Kayla Gowan

Let’s face it: college is expensive. Between tuition, housing, student fees, transportation, and textbooks – the costs add up quickly. For many college students, this is the first time you have to budget and manage money on your own. 

Managing money and setting budgetary goals may seem like the last things you want to do at the end of a busy day filled with classes and exams, but developing good habits is worth the effort. Managing in-college spending is a learning experience. Fortunately, there are many ways you can save money while in college. 

Here are the nine best money-saving tips for college students:

1. Rent Your Textbooks

Buying textbooks can be one of the biggest expenses every semester. One huge way to save money in college is to rent textbooks instead of buying them! With eCampus.com – you can save up to 90% off the regular price of a new textbook. eCampus.com also has three rental term lengths (short term, quarter term, and semester) to fit every student’s schedule and the ability to extend or purchase the rental at the end of the rental term.

If you’ve already purchased your textbooks, when the semester is over – you can sell your books back to eCampus.com for cash!

2. Apply for Grants and Scholarships

Start by filling out the FAFSA before each new school year, regardless of your family’s financial status, to tap into federal, state and institutional grants and scholarships. 

You can apply for scholarships and grants every year throughout college! It’s a misconception that scholarships are only for first-year students. In fact, many colleges have systems in place that reward students financially for good grades, volunteering, being an active part of the college town community, and many other things. Given that many scholarships go unclaimed (or have very few entries), if you dedicate some time to applying, you could find yourself saving on tuition costs! 

If you’re not sure where to find scholarships, the Federal Student Aid has compiled a list of places to look that you can view here. For more information about how financial aid works, you can read our eCampus blog post here.

3. Create a Budget

If you don’t know where your money is going every month, you’ll never know the true potential of your saving power! Start off small by giving yourself a weekly budget and see how close you come to accurately estimating expenses. Work on creating a realistic budget that you can stick to, incorporating all regular bills or payments. A budget isn’t set in stone and often takes several tries to get right – so keep working on it until you find the right balance!

A lack of structure can keep you from being on top of managing your spending and can mean disaster for your budget. Fortunately, there are a number of free budgeting apps to help.

3 Apps to Help with Budgeting for College Students

  • Mint: This money management and financial planning app lets you see all of your accounts in one place. You can swipe to check your balances or get reminders to pay your bills on time! 
  • Pocketguard: This app lets you see all of your mobile banking, including credit cards, checking and savings, loans, and investments in one place. After you’ve paid the bills, the app tells you how much you have left over, so you can save the rest! 
  • Personal Capital: Like Mint and Pocketguard, this app allows you to see all of your accounts on one platform. On this app, you can see separate graphs of your cash flow (income vs. expenses), your budget (what you’re spending your money on), and your investments.

4. Split the Cost of Rent with Roommates

Living with roommates is the quintessential college experience. This is helpful for many students as you can split the cost of rent and utilities with one or more roommates.

Make a point to know what’s already provided in your future dorm or apartment. Some dorm rooms come equipped with a microwave or small fridge or an ironing board in the laundry facilities. An apartment might already come with appliances or even basic furniture. Coordinate with your roommates before shopping so you’re not double-buying items or buying things you don’t need.

Take good care of your apartment so you don’t forfeit your security deposit at the end of the semester!

5. Cook Your Own Food

Eating at restaurants can be one of the most expensive items in your budget. It’s almost always cheaper to cook than it is to go out to eat. While a dinner for $5-10 may sound cheap, it really does add up over time.

How Much do College Students Spend on Food?

The cost of a meal plan has doubled in the last 10 years. The average college and university charges about $4,500, or $18.75 per day, for a three-meal-a-day dining contract that covers the eight months or so of a typical academic year.

You can probably cook the same meal (and prep for future meals) for about half the price. If you do eat out, go for lunch or happy hour when restaurants are most likely to be offering discounts.

That goes for coffee, too! Let’s say you spend $5 on a daily cup of coffee – this can equal up to $375 per semester. Save the bank by investing in a coffee machine and making your morning brew from home! 

6. Use Public Transportation

Parking, gas, and insurance for your car can quickly add up. Many college campuses have free buses and shuttles that help students get around campus and even to nearby apartments. Some schools even have rentable bikes or scooters for the semester!

If you need public transportation to get around, see if you can get a student pass. Many colleges partner with their local transit authorities and offer student discounts and student passes for busses, subways, trolleys, and more.

7. Use Student Discounts

Don’t leave home without your student ID! Most places offer a student discount – this can include restaurants, shops, movie theaters, theme parks, and more!

Another big expense for college students is technology. Many students want (or need) to get a new laptop. Plus, some classes require their own specific software that you need to install. Often, technology companies offer significant discounts to students – from Apple and Microsoft, to Adobe and more. If you’re getting any type of new computer or software, make sure to buy it through the education store and get your student discount.

Click here is a list of the top 60 discounts available to students right now! If you’re not sure whether a company offers a student discount, there’s no harm in asking. Better “save” than sorry!

8. Utilize Campus Resources

Check out the amenities that are free for students to use on campus. Campus resources are designed to make college easier, but that’s only the case if you use them!

  • Student Gym: working out and staying fit is important in college. Instead of spending money on a gym membership, see if your campus offers the use of the student gym for free. Most campuses have great athletic and gym facilities available to students. Take full advantage!
  • On-Campus Printing: printing is another area that can be costly, with papers eating up ink cartridges at home. Oftentimes, the cost of printing is included in your student facility fees. Check the school library to see if they offer free or discounted printing.
  • Campus Library: one of the most under-used, but best free tools on a college campus is the library. College libraries have everything, including books, computer stations, software, and more. Libraries also offer free spaces to study, meet with group members, or use the computer. 

Other commonly provided resources include tutoring, counseling, childcare, and career services. Check what your college offers before you pay extra for the same service elsewhere.

9. Take Advantage of Campus Activities

Going out every weekend can drain your entertainment budget very quickly. Instead, keep up with what’s happening on campus. Most colleges organize plenty of events throughout the semester, ranging from museum visits, to movie nights, and more for free or discounted rates.

Check the events page on your school website to see what’s up and coming. You can also look for signs and promotions around your campus. These signs often promote free food in an attempt to get students to come. If you do this regularly, you can probably get your lunch taken care of most days! And maybe even learn something! 

Bonus: Attending campus events is a great way to make new friends, too!

While saving money as a college student is not always easy, it is possible with plenty of hard work and a commitment to your financial security and wellbeing. Meeting your budgetary goals will not only help your college experience, but prepare you for a bright financial future!

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References:

  1. https://turbo.intuit.com/blog/real-money-talk/how-to-save-money-in-college-1539/ 
  2. https://www.debt.org/students/college-budgeting-101/ 
  3. https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/student-guide-to-budgeting/ 
  4. https://thecollegeinvestor.com/22453/save-money-in-college/ 
  5. https://www.thesimpledollar.com/financial-wellness/63-quick-tips-to-save-money-in-college/ 

No Regrets: How to Make the Most out of College

no regrets in college
With another semester coming to an end I find myself reflecting on the things I wish I would have done differently. Luckily I am not graduating yet so there is still time to make changes. By no means am I an expert, but I want to offer a few recommendations for making the most out of college so you can graduate with no regrets.

Schedule Early Classes. A great thing about course scheduling is that you can make your schedule whatever you want it to be. Most students choose to make their school days begin around noon, or 1pm, so that they can sleep in, and until recently, I looked at it from that perspective too. This semester, the only availability for a class I needed was at 8 in the morning every single day, and to be honest, I couldn’t be happier with it. Sure, getting up that early is still really tough, but its benefits outweigh anything that a 1pm schedule could get me. Waking up early lets you not only get all your work out of the way, it also allows you to explore any interests that would normally just be too time consuming. So if you ever wanted to try kickboxing, rock climbing, or maybe even salsa dancing, do yourself a favor, and actually give yourself the time to do all of that. Which brings me to my next point.

Try out new clubs and hobbies. There are a ton of them out there. Whether they’re related to the outdoors, or volunteer services, or even just fashion clubs, they get you out of your room, and into a crowd of people with similar interests to your own. On top of that, they can help you forget about school stress for a while and can get you into those industries you always wanted to work for or learn about.

Stay Fit. This is a really general statement, I know. But doing anything physical will help in ways you wouldn’t even imagine. Staying fit doesn’t necessarily mean going for long runs every day, or even working out at the gym. Doing anything that keeps your body active works for me, whether it’s playing football, rugby, or going on hiking trips, just make yourself sweat every once in awhile. Not only will it help you live longer, and feel more confident about yourself, staying active also helps you relax and think more clearly.

Take at least one class a semester that interests you. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. As an engineering major, I know that classes that you need to take can get pretty monotonous. But it’s always nice to have a class, any class, even one that doesn’t count towards your credits, that just lets you relax and learn about something that always seemed interesting to you.

Don’t just follow the crowd. I know the college cliche is to overwork yourself on weekdays and party on weekends. I know a decent amount of students in my dorm that follow that as a law, but honestly, making that your entire life is really boring. College is what you make of it, not what people tell you about it. People will tell you that college is a time to try new things, and meet new people, but that does not necessarily mean work and party. Do it your way, not the way of others.

Stay in touch with campus life. I went to a puppy parade last weekend. A puppy parade. That in itself should make you jump on your university’s website to see what’s being held this week. About a week ago, male students had a “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event, in which men actually walked a mile in high heels. From random things like that to cool community service events, a whole lot goes on around campus, so go check it out, you never know what you might find.

Remember how quickly high school flew by? Well, with more responsibility and opportunities, you can bet that college will come and go even faster. You don’t want to be walking across the stage on graduation day wishing you could do things differently. What advice would you give yourself as a freshman?

10 Benefits of Living On Campus

I would definitely recommend living on campus your freshman year.  The idea of moving from your parent’s house into a dorm full of hundreds of like minded 18 year olds is intoxicating; probably in more ways than one. Living on campus is the best way to get a great college experience. Here are ten reasons why:

 

Reason #1:     Campus PD, P-Safe, a.k.a rent-a-cop.  These are your friendly campus policemen that short of punching them in the face or waving a broken bottle at them are not going to arrest you.  They are there to make sure no one gets hurt.  Awesome.  You know that college bubble you think you’re going to where you’re allowed to get away with things ‘normal’ adults wouldn’t?  That’s on-campus, not off.

Reason #2        Your walk or drive is much shorter to class / more sleep = better grades

Reason #3       Closer proximity to all the free campus events: concerts, group performances, sponsored appearances, etc.

Reason #4        Your bills will be a lot simpler.  No squabbles with roommates over who pays the utilities

Reason #5        All your academic resources are easier to reach, be that office hours with your T.A., books you need to borrow, study buddies or quiet study space.

Reason #6        More places to eat and drink. Small business owners aren’t dumb; they set up shop where the traffic is, and usually give a student discount.

Reason #7        Your parents will feel better about it, guaranteed.  And no one needs that monkey on their back.

Reason #8     Imagine a scenario where you’ve had one too many beers (hard to imagine, but bear with me on this one) your walk home will be significantly more legal and safe.

Reason #9     Campus jobs pay well and usually allow you to study.  A commute to a job off-campus burns precious time that could have been used for studying, hanging out with friends, etc.  Remember that if you’re  going full-time, you will often be crunched for time during the semester.

Reason #10     Friends!  They will be around you all the time in a way you will never experience again in the real world with a full-time job, and THAT is what college is all about.

 

Wonderbread

I’m reading Hole’s Human Anatomy and Physiology