Tag Archives | textbooks

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Being a college student nowadays can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to assume the burden of the ever-rising cost of your tuition, but you also have to find a living space that is preferably nicer than a cardboard box. Don’t worry – you are not alone. It’s not easy to learn and study if you are constantly worried about being buried in debt by graduation. While it is rare to eliminate student debt entirely, there are many practical ways for you to cut costs:

Become an RA
In exchange for monitoring the halls, manning the check-in desk, and organizing floor meetings and events, colleges provide RAs with room and board. That’s $8K – $10K on average that can be subtracted from your annual bill. Surprisingly, a lot of people dismiss this option because they are afraid that their peers will view them as “cops.” This is only true if you let it be true. In a way, being an RA is like being a supervisor: if you are cocky and power-drunk without being fair or personable, nobody will like or respect you; but if you always look for the humanity in others, people will see that you are genuine.

Use Budget-Friendly Cleaning Supplies
Every home should have a vacuum, a mop, some dish detergent, a bottle of Windex, and a few white hand towels. If you opt for the store-brand versions of these essentials, you can easily stock up for next to nothing. It’s also worth noting that you can buy a decent vacuum cleaner for under $100. Remember: cleanliness helps to reduce stress, so keep it clean while you pursue your dreams.

Get a Part-Time Internship
When you are strapped for cash, it is tempting to go for a job that “anyone can get.” But college is all about experimenting: instead of going for the same jobs as anyone else, think about the subjects that interest you, and look for a paid internship in that field. For example, if you like psychology, try reaching out to local clinics. If you don’t have a car, consider doing some part-time freelancing online. Most people don’t know what they want to do for a living until long after they graduate. By pursuing internships while you are still in school, you will learn what you like and what you don’t like. Ultimately, these types of experiences will help you develop end goals that you can tailor your education around.

Buy Used Gear
College textbooks are ridiculously overpriced. Few people have need for them when the class is over, and yet year after year, a new version is churned out – complete with negligible changes. Instead of buying new from the school bookstore, look for used versions online. Similarly, if you are living off-campus, browse thrift stores for used furniture.

Shack Up With Your Friends
It’s no secret that rent is cheaper with roommates, but have you thought about sharing your room, too? A lot of landlords offer attractive rates to students who are willing to put two beds in each room. While you may think that you need your own room, remember that it won’t be forever, and if you don’t have to shell out much dough for rent each month, you can use the excess to pay for groceries or a night out with your friends.

This article was contributed by guest author Sammy Dolan.

Image by malan10, Flickr

Image by malan10, Flickr

Once fall semester ends, you may want to think of nothing more than the upcoming break. Winter break is an excellent time to rest, recharge and prepare for the coming year. However, to productively prepare for the next semester, take a little time during break to organize your upcoming agenda.

Evaluate Your Fall Semester
This may be your best opportunity to evaluate your academic plan and overall progress. Everything is still fresh in your mind. Before winter break makes all the good and bad experiences fade a little, ask yourself a few questions:

  • How did I meet my goals this semester?
  • Did I take too many/too few classes?
  • Do I make adequate time for study?

The answers to these questions can help you assess what to do differently next semester. If you have yet to see your academic adviser this school year, winter break is a good time to make an appointment. Discuss the classes you still need to take and ensure you are still in the right major for your career plans.

Plan for Next Semester
Make a list of the classes you would like to take next semester, with a few alternates in case you cannot get into one or two of them. This is also an important time to evaluate other needs, like work, sleep, recreation and family life. Be sure to find a healthy work/life balance. Remember, it is better to need one more semester of classes than to register for a large load, get overwhelmed and fail half of them.

Organize Textbooks
If you do not get a chance to sell your textbooks at the end of the semester, take a moment to sort through them now. Keep the ones you intend to use in future studies or as a reference. Sell or donate the ones you do not want to keep, to earn money for books needed for next semester. Books are usually easiest to sell a month or two before the next semester begins. Upon receiving your class list for spring, consider the many ways to save money on textbooks, including renting books or buying them used.

Apply for Education Financing
Your finances may be set for this academic year, but each year is different. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is not technically due until June 30. However, to get your share of grants and other non-student loan aid, apply as soon as possible after Jan. 1. If you do not already have a full scholarship, look at the thousands of available scholarships online. If you’re still overwhelmed with college finances, speak with your parents to develop a plan.

Review Ongoing Educational Concepts
Thankfully, most items on this to-do list shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. Though this one may take a little longer, depending on your educational goals. There is always a bit of a regression when taking more than a week off school, especially if you are moving from one level to the next on the same subject. If you understand concepts relatively quickly, you might not need more than an hour or two the night before school starts again. However, if the mathematical concepts you once mastered now seem like a mystery, or if you forgot more French than you learned during the last semester, consider reviewing concepts a week or two earlier.

Enjoy winter break as much as possible. However, by spending a couple of hours each week getting your school responsibilities in order, you will start next semester refreshed, less stressed and ready to learn.

This article was contributed by guest author Alison Blankenship.

Image by JD Johan Larsson, Flickr

Image by JD Johan Larsson, Flickr

Post-secondary schools have one requirement: textbooks. We cannot escape the long lines at the bookstore, the required readings, and taking notes on each chapter, but the format is changing and this may work toward the benefit of students. Ebooks are now becoming more and more popular.

First, this isn’t a choice of one or the other. Second, though it may seem so at times, technology isn’t always the way of the future. And last, the traditional, overpriced, heavy choice isn’t necessarily the worst.

Benefits of the eBook

  • Cost effective. The exclusion of printed pages and overhead costs like shipping and storage reduces the overall cost for students by a substantial amount.
  • Easier to Carry. With electronic books, as long as you’ve got a laptop, you’ve got your ebook. Instead of carrying the weight of multiple textbooks, just make sure you have a laptop, tablet, iPad, or even a smartphone.
  • They take up less space. Instead of piling your textbooks on your desk, shelf, or floor, ebooks are stored on your laptop.
  • Printable. If you want to focus on a specific page, image or chapter, you can print it out to make notes or highlight important content. This combines the best of both worlds.
  • Fonts can be resized. You can choose the view of the ebook, similar to reading documents using Word or Adobe Reader.

Benefits of the Textbook

  • It’s what you’re used to. You’ve been using textbooks for the majority of your school life. You don’t need to worry about technology, short battery life, or straining your eyes while glaring at screens.
  • You can resell them. Whether it’s back to your school bookstore, online, or to a friend or classmate, you can sell your textbooks to others. With the ebook, it is one code for one individual, available on one platform.
  • Tangible. Interacting with a physical book, you can make highlights, changes, and keep track of pages and readings. Studies have shown that you retain more information from a tangible book than reading on screen.
  • Commonality. Professors will tell you how to access the ebook, but the textbooks are common in bookstores, making them easier to find.

Don’t forget to look for other purchasing options or textbook exchange websites like Tusbe. Check for Facebook groups, buy a used book, or look online by checking the author and ISBN number.

The process of reading, writing and rewriting helps you retain information. The best way to determine which method of learning is best suited to you will help you succeed. You’re not restricted to one type of book either – you can balance both methods. Perhaps it makes more sense for certain classes – keep that in mind when making your purchasing decisions.

Image by mpccormi on Flickr

Image by mpccormi on Flickr

Textbooks can be a huge bummer. Not only do you have to read countless pages to keep up with classes, but you also have to pay hundreds of dollars for them! A typical textbook costs around $100. With a full course load, that’s about $800-$1000 a year just on books. So, before you head into your school’s bookstore next year and pay full price for textbooks, consider these alternatives:

  1. Discount bookstore. Usually found just outside of campus, discount bookstores sell the textbooks you need at a cheaper price than your school’s bookstore.
  2. Buy used. Ask friends and other students who have taken the class to sell you their textbooks. Your school’s bookstore may even sell used copies. It may not look as nice as a brand new book but you can save a lot of money.
  3. Rent. This is for anyone who doesn’t want to go through all the hassle of reselling their book. This is also a great option for textbooks that will release a new edition in the following year. Instead of holding onto an unsellable old edition, rent! Rent books through your school’s bookstore or online on websites such as Textbookrental, Rentbooks, or Bigmama.
  4. Borrow. Your school’s library is certainly going to have every textbook you need. The only issue is that you won’t be able to keep it the whole term. Photocopy any important pages you may need when you have to return your book.
  5. E-textbooks. Not everyone’s top choice, but e-textbooks are cheap and ultra-portable. Everyone carries around a laptop or tablet to school, so why not lighten the load on your back and have your book in your electronic device instead? Since you save on printing costs, e-textbooks are significantly cheaper than a physical book.
  6. Online bookstores. Locazu, Bookmob, Slugbooks, Bookbyte and Amazon are just a few of the several websites out there that sell new and used textbooks. The only con is that you will have to wait for your textbooks to be shipped. Some websites such as Chegg give you access to an online version of the textbook while you wait for your physical book to arrive.
  7. Other online websites. Look through Kijiji, Craigslist, Ebay and even textbook exchange groups on Facebook.