college must-haves

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