A Guide To Buying College Textbooks

Textbooks in college- what’s the deal with them? You’ll find such differing opinions when it comes to textbooks in college. Some will say you absolutely need them, others will say don’t bother buying them. Here’s a quick rundown on college textbooks and the different options you have! 

My first piece of advice is to wait until the second or third week of school to buy textbooks, if possible. This way you’ll know for sure that you’ll not only stay in the class, but you can also get a feel for whether or not you need the textbook. Take a look through all of your syllabi and see which assignments you’ll need the book for. Once you’ve weeded out your classes to know which you’re staying in and which you’re dropping, and know if you need the textbooks or not, you’ll have a better idea of how to obtain them. 

There are different types of textbooks you can find at a school: 

Regular books that you can purchase anywhere.

Books specific to the school, but can be used for general classes, even if taught by different professors. Typically these are only found in the school’s bookstore. 

Textbooks written by the professor specifically for that class only. These typically are a more “workbook” or interactive textbook, and only found new in the bookstore. 

E-books for all of the above, if available.

Person Holding Stack of Books

The different ways to purchase them: 

New and from the bookstore (typically the most expensive way to buy books)

Used and from the bookstore (saves money, but there are also cheaper ways) 

Rented, either from the bookstore if they allow this option, or from a service such as Chegg, Thriftbooks, or Knetbooks. 

Purchase used from Amazon, other textbook online services, or on local classified pages. Many colleges will have a Facebook page to buy/sell textbooks, too. 

Using the school bookstore isn’t the end-all for buying college textbooks! Look online to find books where you can. There are so many companies out there that realize how expensive college is and want to cut you a deal where they can. Look into these companies! 

A few other tips:

Try to rent or buy used when you can. It saves money, and saves the environment! Win, win.

If it’s a class that is specific to your field of study and seems like one you may want to reference later in life, try to buy it used instead of renting so you don’t have to return it later. 

Another great way to save money is to split the cost of a textbook with a friend or roommate that is attending the same class as you,  as long as it can easily work out for both of you to use it for readings and assignments. 

There are specific scholarships out there too that will fund your textbook needs. Search for those and apply. Other scholarships can go towards any school expenses, also including textbooks. 

Textbooks don’t have to break you financially! There are ways to save money and be smart financially if you’re willing to put in a little time and research. 

What is your favorite way to find textbooks? 

Choosing A College: Some Tips For Seniors

Choosing a higher education school can be so daunting sometimes! First you have to decide on a trade school vs a university. And then once you’ve decided that, a whole list of options come up. It’s overwhelming. But here are some tips for you! 

  • Narrow it down to an area if you can. Decide if it’s important for you to stay close to home or choose a school far away. 
  • Look at schools based on what majors they offer/ what majors they are known for. For example- I graduated with my undergrad from Utah State University because I wanted a degree in Elementary Education. In Utah, USU is very prestigious and well-known for their education program, which was ultimately a big swaying factor in my decision. 
  • Dive into the social aspect/ campus life and decide how important it is for you to attend events, sports, etc. College is about the experience AND the education! And not all college campuses are created equal when it comes to social gatherings. 
  • Talk with current students or past grads about schools you are interested in. Hearing about their experience or opinions can help you make a final decision. 
  • Keep a list of potential options. You may find one school that is everything you want! But the reality is, you still have to apply and become accepted into the school before you can go, in most cases. If you don’t get into your dream school, keep a few others in mind for back up. 
  • Remember that you’re not making a decision based on good vs. bad. You’re deciding between good, better, and best. Whichever school you choose is a great option and can hopefully have you leaving with a great experience and a college degree. It’s hard to make a bad decision when choosing a college! 

Pros and cons lists of schools can also be helpful to make a decision. Let us know what school you are choosing to go to in the comments below! 

Cover photo from pexels.com

Video Call Interview Tips

I’ve written posts about each type of interview- 

Phone Interview Tips

In Person Interview 

Today we will be covering video call interview tips. Virtual meetings are the new normal, so why not embrace video calling? Whether it’s Zoom, Google Hangouts, Teams, Skype, or another video chat platform, these tips are sure to help you in your interview. 

  1. Test out your wifi connection before the call! 
  2. Pick your spot for your video call before the interview. Test it out to make sure it’s a plain background. A plain, blank wall is best! Take down any decoration if needed. 
  3. Make sure you know how to join the video call before it begins, the day before if possible. 
  4. Be on time! 
  5. Be honest with the host if your wifi or video platform is having problems or if you have questions about how to use it. 
  6. Verify the links to the interview and verify how to join the room, who will send the link, etc.
  7. If possible, use a microphone of sorts for the interview. This can be on your headphones, or just a microphone plugged into your computer. It will give better sound and the interviewer can hear you better. 
  8. Sit somewhere you can plug your computer into a power source, or have a fully charged computer before your interview. Don’t let low battery tank your interview! 
  9. Dress professionally- even your pants! I know the popular thing right now is pj’s on the bottom, dress shirt on the top. But what if an emergency happens or they ask you to grab something that’s not right next to you and you are wearing sweats when you stand up? 
  10. Confidence!