Checklist

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 Ultimate Dorm Essentials Checklist

Freaking out about moving into the dorms this fall, or know someone who is? I know when I was moving into the dorms I was a mess. When I was making a list of everything I needed I kept leaving things off. It’s really hard to think of all the stuff you are going to need. Thankfully, this checklist has all the essentials on it and you won’t have to worry about whether or not you have everything. Makes everything so much easier! Take it with you when you go dorm shopping, share it with your friends, or just share it in general! It will come in handy when you get that feeling that you’re forgetting something. You can also download and print the PDF version of our Dorm Essentials Checklist here.

Embed this Checklist on your Blog!

The College Graduate Checklist

The following is a guest post from Noël Rozny of myFootPath.com

Right about now, you’re probably crawling out from underneath a pile of library books, term papers, and exam notes, feeling like you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. And you’re right, the school year is almost over, which means that if you’re a senior, you’ll be graduating soon. Congratulations!

While you should reward yourself for completing your degree program, don’t take a break for too long. There are many other details that need your attention now that school is winding down. To make it easier for you, we’ve put together a College Graduate checklist that will help make the transition in the “real world” a little bit easier.

5 Things Every College Grad Needs After Graduation

Job Search Tools

You might have already started your job search, but if not, now’s the time. For a successful job search, you’ll need a polished resume, 3-4 professional references, and a strong professional network. If you’ve never compiled a resume, you should be able to get some free guidance at your school’s career center. Professors, former employers, and student organization supervisors all make great references, so check in with those individuals now to see if they’ll speak on your behalf. As for networking, start with references, colleagues, coaches, and anyone else you’ve collaborated with in the past four years. Contact them about your job search, connect with them on LinkedIn, and pick their brain for any tips or job opportunities they know of.

An Apartment

If you’ve been living in the dorms the past four years, one of the first things you need to do before graduation is line up a place to live. Finding an apartment that fits your needs and price range can take a few weeks, so get started now. Make a list of what you want, what you don’t want, and start contacting apartment companies. Don’t forget that you’ll need money for a security deposit (anywhere from a month to two month’s rent), basic furniture (this is where futons come in handy) and to get the utilities (electricity, water, gas and cable) turned on in your name.

Health Insurance

While you were in college, chances are that you were on your parent’s health insurance. The good news is that you can stay on you’re their plan for a few more years, until you’re 26, so if the internship or job you’re starting after graduation doesn’t offer a plan, you’re covered. If you do decide to switch insurance plans to what you’re employer is offering, make sure there are no gaps in your coverage, as that can currently affect your ability to receive treatment for pre-existing conditions.

A Work Wardrobe

Even if you luck out and land a job at a company with a relaxed dress code, you’ll still need a good suit or two for client meetings, corporate events, and business trips. Business clothes are expensive, so maximize your dollars by buying one or two suits in neutral colors, like black or gray, and variety of dress shirts in a different colors.

Retirement Plans

I know retirement probably seems very far away. But now is actually a crucial time in your retirement planning. Putting away a set amount each month, no matter how small, can have a huge impact on how much you’ll have when that golden day arrives. If you’re employer offers a 401(k) or similar plan, getting started should be pretty easy. If not, you can meet with a financial advisor and get started on your own.

I know the items on this checklist might seem overwhelming, but with the help of those who have gone before you (parents, an older sibling, an aunt or uncle) it’s all very doable, and the sooner you start, the easier your transition will be. Good luck!

Noël Rozny is Web Editor & Content Manager at myFootpath, a career and education resource for students of all ages. Visit myFootpath.com to find the bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD program that’s right for you.