How to Find Cheap Textbooks

Textbooks are one of the most expensive costs for a college student, especially if you’re going into a major that is heavy on reading. If you’re a broke college student, finding cheap textbooks is a priority. It’s also not hard to do.

Do I need this book?

The first step is to figure out what books you need and how much you actually need them. I haven’t always used my textbooks, which led me to start asking the professor if the book is really needed. Most professors will be honest and tell you how much you need it. Sometimes you can get away with borrowing a classmate’s book if you only need the book a few times.

eBook or real book

Once you know you need a book, decide whether you want to buy a real book or an eBook. The upside to an eBook is obviously price and the downsides are that you have to read it on an electronic device and you can’t resell it at the end of the semester. Depending on your needs, make a decision.

Renting or owning

If you’ve settled on a real book, the next step is to decide if you want to rent or own the book. The upside to renting is it’s cheaper, but the downside is you can’t sell it at the end of the semester. If the book is going to be worthless at the end of the semester and you know this, go with renting. If you can sell it back to Amazon or another online marketplace with a textbook buy back program, own it.

Finding the best price

Throughout your search for a book, you will need to compare textbooks and find the best price…and the Internet is here to help. The easiest way to find cheap college books is to search websites for the ISBN and compare prices. There are tons of websites out there for you to compare prices easily and having the ISBN is the best way to do it.

Online Classes from Public Universities

I went to college a few decades ago, at a large public university, where it was consistently difficult to enroll in the classes I wanted.  It may get easier at the graduate level but for this undergrad the “sold out” signs on classes were a consistent disappointment.  It’s got to be a lot tougher today at least in the public schools, because the budget crunch/enrollment surge pattern has been repeated over and over, state after state.  In my home state of California, it is virtually impossible to graduate in four years from a public university because of the overcrowding.

One of the options that students have today is online classes, from their own or another university.  In recent years traditional schools have jumped on the distance learning bandwagon for a number of reasons.  Many students are working significant hours and need the convenience of online access; schools can enroll more students in a class than there are seats in the classroom; and the technology has gotten to the point that most traditional universities feel they can deliver a quality educational experience online.

That gives students in many state universities the option of enrolling in classes that aren’t available on campus.  The University of North Carolina, for instance, offers 240 programs of study in 22 academic disciplines, with classes drawn from all of its 16 constituent campuses.  Many of the courses are intended for students enrolled on the campus offering the course, but there is also a roster of Carolina Courses Online open to all students who are academically eligible.

The State University of New York (SUNY) offers the SUNY Learning Network which is a virtual campus offering online courses, degrees, and certificates from 32 member schools, including both doctoral universities and community colleges.  You can be attending college at one campus and enroll in courses from other schools.

Both Florida State University and the University of Florida have selected degree programs available; from FSU there are both undergraduate and graduate degrees and from University of Florida there are undergraduate completion programs and graduate degrees.  One of the impressive efforts from the University of Florida is the online graduate level options in engineering, with over fifteen degrees and specializations ranging from aerospace engineering to industrial systems engineering to computer engineering.

Three states with three different approaches to online education from their public universities.  If you are struggling with course access at your current school, public or private, you should take a look at the online options for classes that meet your needs.  With a little legwork on the issue of transferability, you may be able to round out your college experience with an attractive distance learning option from your state university.

This post was submitted by Bob Hartzell, who writes on the changes in undergraduate education and on accredited online graduate programs for several websites.

The Most Popular Health-Related Majors

With the current economic downturn, one industry that has not suffered as hard as the others is the healthcare industry. People get sick and injured even when the stock market is down, so there is still a strong need for medical professionals to take care of people. With the relative stability of the field, it’s no wonder that many college students are choosing to pursue health-related majors. Healthcare, however, is a broad term that encompasses everything from CNAs to nurses to medical doctors. With so many choices, it is interesting to take a look at which health careers are most popular among today’s students.

According to the 2011 Princeton Review, the ten most popular majors on college campuses today include three health-related fields of study: psychology at number two, nursing at number three and biology at number four (business administration/management was number one). These three health care majors have appeared in the top ten for several years and do not appear to be going away anytime soon. Many women business leaders have emerged and made a large impact on the healthcare industries within the last ten years or so.

  1. Psychology is a versatile field that can encompass a number of different titles and positions. To be a clinical psychologist, social psychologist, or developmental psychologist, one usually requires advanced training or even a doctoral degree, but there are many research and teaching jobs that one can take with just an undergraduate psychology degree. One-third of all psychologists enter private practice or have independent research firms. As of 2008, the average starting salary for a psychologist was $46,153 per year.
  2. Nursing is the biggest field in healthcare, and nurses still continue to be in high demand across the country. There are several different levels of nursing, including licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, and nurse practitioner. The LPN and RN levels, while important and relatively high-paying positions require only an associate’s degree and the successful completion of professional exams to be certified. The specific areas of practice available to nurses are virtually limitless. Some of the more popular areas of specialty include medical/surgical nursing, geriatric nursing, hospice nursing, home health nursing and emergency room nursing. There has been a well-documented shortage of nurses in the United States for over a decade and it will become more pronounced as women in leadership emerge from the crowd and help in hospitals and nursing homes around the nation. Retirement and assisted living establishments are common places for nurses to work, as are hospitals, but there are also many nurses who work in schools or corporations or travel to take care of people in their homes. The average starting salary for a newly-graduated nurse in 2008 was $41,173 a year.
  3. Biology is another broad field that includes several disciplines, such as genetics, medical research and biotechnology, to name a few. Biology is a popular pre-med degree for those who wish to go on and study to become a medical doctor. To qualify for a job in microbiology, biotechnology or research and development, it is helpful to have a graduate degree in biology. In 2008, the starting salary for a general biologist was $38,896 annually, while a biochemist received a higher compensation of $43,961 per year.

Beyond the “big three,” there are a number of other popular majors to help students become masters of public health. Radiology is very popular, as are some of the new and growing fields of study, including holistic health, environmental health, sports medicine and medical administration. The study of radiology provides graduates with the potential to get jobs performing x-rays or, with special certification, working as a CRT or MRI technician. Holistic health focuses on the psychological, spiritual, social and environmental health of a patient as well as the physical. Environmental health study is a path that leads to a career in the occupational health sector or in epidemiology. A degree in sports medicine can lead to a job with a professional or school sports team or a position in a specialty sports medicine clinic. Those who study medical administration are well prepared for a management job in a variety of healthcare arenas. They could also work in medical law or consulting.

Healthcare is a wonderful and rewarding field, perfect for those who wish to help people. The career choices are abundant, and many of them are in high demand. One of the greatest things about the field of healthcare is the wide variety of majors available for students. Whether they choose the more popular majors of psychology, nursing or biology or one of the new and developing fields like holistic health or environmental health, there are plenty of opportunities for students in the medical field.

This guest post article was written and provided by Marissa Krause who finished her Business degree this last fall and has begun working for a soon coming fortune 500 company.

How to Survive Your Freshman Year

How to Survive Your Freshman Year College is the perfect intersection of freedom and young adulthood: Never again will you be allowed to have that much fun while being responsible for so little. But as generations of students have learned the hard way, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by that freedom and go, well, a little overboard. Students who’d never had a problem doing homework find themselves tanking tests when there’s no one around to push them to attend class. People who’d always managed to have a thriving social life discover they’re about to become hermits. It’s a fun but intimidating time, and the best way to get the most out of freshman year is to remember a few key things.

Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan

Spoiler alert: You can’t do it all. Not even close. There will always be one more party, one more trip, one more event, one more night out, one more friend who needs a favor. College is about learning to prioritize and tell the difference between what you can do, what you want to do, and what you need to do. The biggest mistake freshmen make is taking on too much, whether in terms of course load or social commitments. If you want to get ahead, you’ll have to scale back.

Set up a schedule to follow each week and stick with it. (That’s the important part.) It doesn’t have to overly detailed or break down your life into 10-minute chunks. But you should be able to look ahead each week and know basically what you’re going to be doing every day and every night, from attending class to studying or just taking some time off to be with friends. If high school is juggling, then college is juggling chainsaws while riding a unicycle: It can be done, but it takes a lot more planning.

You should also plan for free time, too. That might sound counter-intuitive or just plain impossible, but it’s not, and it’s absolutely worth it. It’s a bad idea to skip through college without any kind of planning or time management, but it’s equally as bad to overschedule yourself. College is work, yes, but it’s also supposed to be a fun time of exploration and self-discovery and all those other fuzzy terms that basically mean “figure out what kind of person you want to be.” As you build time for study and class, leave open chunks for hanging out, eating, wandering the dorms, or just seeing what comes up. Seriously. That way you maintain a schedule and your sanity.

Avoid Credit Cards

Bankers have sent their own kids to college on the fees they collect from freshmen who make the mistake of signing up for credit cards without understanding the responsibility required. Every incoming freshman finds his or her mailbox clogged with seemingly awesome offers from lending agencies dangling the promise of easy credit and a life of luxury. What a lot of freshmen forget is that they don’t have any money, or jobs, or the ability to do anything other than buy a cheap sandwich in the cafeteria. That makes getting a credit card an almost suicidal risk.

Building credit is important in the long run. It shows banks that you’re trustworthy, it gives you access to better interest rates on loans, and it generally makes you feel like an adult. But it takes years of controlled work to do that, and college isn’t the time to start. Managing credit means using cards wisely, and only to make purchases you could buy with cash at that moment. Credit cards aren’t for making big buys that aren’t in your budget; they’re for showing banks you’ve got enough cash and maturity to pay your debts in full. Getting into credit card debt while you’re still in college means you’ll be under the thumb of major lenders before you’ve even gotten your degree, let alone found a job that will give you the money to start paying those cards off.

There’s plenty of time to be an adult and work with the complicated payment structures that come with credit cards. College is not that time.

Establish Your Independence

In other words: Don’t go home too often. College is a crucial part of the development process as students make the often rocky transition from childhood to young adulthood, and it’s tempting to make frequent trips home in an attempt to recapture the safety of the nest. It’s understandable, too. Many freshmen spent 18 years in a perfectly welcoming environment (typical dramas notwithstanding), and after only knowing one home environment, it’s a shock to be placed in a world with thousands of other students all going through the same basic emotional crises. You want to escape to a place where you know the rules.

Unfortunately, that’s detrimental to your long-term success as a student and a rounded human being. Independence is usually hard-earned, and that means getting used to being bored or rejected or even alone on campus. It means meeting people and making friends. It means shaking up your established routines and coming up with new ones. It means staying away from home.

Need to get your laundry done? Look for change. Hungry for a home-cooked meal? Organize a get-together with students at a professor’s house. Your parents are going to be there to support you as you work through the challenges of college, but you actually have to do the work on your own this time. (And if they’re like most parents, they’re probably happy to help you as much as possible but reluctant to have you extend your childhood. They’re ready for you to start growing up.) College teaches resourcefulness and problem-solving, but you won’t be able to learn those skills without first relying on yourself.

Don’t Rush the Big Choices

Freshman year can feel like a barrage of life-or-death questions: What’s your major? What do you want to do? Where do you want to live? Do you want to go out sometime?

Those are all, to be sure, pretty big decisions, but the good news is that you’ve got more time than you’d think to figure out how to make them. For instance, you don’t have to commit to a major when you begin your freshman year, and many schools don’t push you to declare until you start your sophomore run. That doesn’t mean you can slack off your freshman year — you should still take your school’s required courses, usually speech, English, math, an elective, etc. — but it does mean you’re free to explore topics that interest you and get a feel for where you fit in at school.

Your major will be a guiding force in your education and career, and it’s not a choice to be made lightly. One of the worst things you can do is select a major because you don’t want to weigh any other options, or if it’s something you don’t like but are betting you will come to love in time. (The odds are slim.) Take your time on this one. Take a month, a semester, a year. Don’t just leap; look carefully. This is a great opportunity to get to know your guidance and career counselors, as well as professors in fields that grab your interest, to find out what’s required by students in your prospective major. Check out employment prospects with seniors or counselors. Do some Googling.

The real lesson in picking a major is to learn how to examine yourself and figure out what you want, then take the steps to get it. That’s not something you can knock out overnight.

Get Some Sleep

Really, do it. Get some good sleep as much as you can. Your mental and physical health depend on it. A 2009 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that only 30% of college students surveyed got more than 8 hours of sleep a night, while more than 68% percent (!) had trouble sleeping because of stress related to their academic or personal lives. As a result, students with poor sleep habits turn in greater numbers to over-the-counter drugs to regulate their sleep cycles and moods. This, if you were wondering, is not good.

Robbing yourself of sleep means relying more heavily on medical cheats to get some rest, and it also has a negative affect on your performance during waking hours. Sleep-deprived students tend to perform worse in class and on tests than their more rested counterparts. Your body becomes sluggish, your brain has to operate through a thick fog, and your moods become more erratic. Basically, depriving yourself of sleep is a shortcut to having a terrible time at college.

So what do you do? It’s related to the time management issue that confronts so many freshmen. A lot of students stay up too late the night before an 8 a.m. class, or they simply try to live on less sleep out of a fear they’ll miss something amazing if they go back to their dorm to rack out. The “fear of missing out” is a real one, and it leads to some hectic and damaging hours. Don’t cheat yourself out of some healthy sleep. It’s one of the best things you can do to stay healthy.

Moderation

If there’s one overriding piece of advice freshman should heed, one thing that feeds everything else, it’s this: Strive for moderation in all things. Party, but party responsibly. Work hard, but leave time to relax. Make new friends, but give yourself time to recuperate. Don’t shy away from big choices, but don’t rush into them, either. Lean on your folks, but not too much. Freshman year is like nothing else. If you do it right, you’ll never forget it.

Article supplied by the writing team from AccreditedOnlineColleges.com.

Choosing Your College Classes

Guest Post: Madison Hewerdine is an author who writes about health insurance attorneys and has a passion for dancing.

Picking out your college classes can sometime be just as stressful and hectic as picking from the many different health insurance attorneys. You have to first figure out which classes you are required to take, these are normally called general classes. The general classes are required but you still have to figure out the timing to fit them into your schedule.  You then have to figure out what classes you want to take each semester for your major and minor. Only after you have finished these can you figure out the classes you want to take for fun or for extra help.

Here are some tips to help you as you’re figuring out your class schedule:

  • Use the required classes as a base. As you are going through trying to pick out your classes, pick out and map out the classes you are required to take first. These include your generals and the classes you need for your major.
  • Map out a four year plan. Before you sign up for classes you should map out a four year plan. Then each year after you originally map it out you modify it each semester you sign up for classes. You modify it to make sure it is accurate in what you are required to take and what you have already taken.
  • Make a list and prioritize. Make a list of the classes you want to take and put it next to your list of required classes. Prioritize the classes or rank them according to what classes are most important. After this you will be able to figure out where you can make sacrifices as far as your classes and scheduling goes.
  • Ask around. Once you have figured out what classes you need and want to take you have to figure out the scheduling and the teachers. Sometimes you will not be able to pick a teacher or a time that you want but you should try to make it work the best you can. However, when you can choose your teachers and the times of classes, ask around. Ask others about the teachers you have and what they think about them.
  • Go to class. Go to more classes than you need the first day. You will get to see all the different classes and teachers and be able to choose better what you want for yourself. After you decide, you can drop the classes you don’t want to keep.

Aiming for Excellence in College Classes

If you are one of the few college students who are aiming for excellence in their classes then you should be aware that it doesn’t include procrastination and in addition you must do the following –

  • Always show up to your classes. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can learn all by yourself. Professors often go over the study materials the next day after giving it the day before. You fail to learn major things if you don’t attend classes specifically topics and ideas you have not quite grasped yet.
  • Look at your instructor’s office hours as your window of opportunity. Many professors are given with office hours to assist students with problems or clarify questions about the study material given. This is your chance of having a tutorial-like discussion with him or her.
  • Always read textbooks. It is bothersome but if you are aiming to excel in your class then you must face this challenge once and for all. Reading textbooks allows you to be ahead of the game and enables you to maximize the learning time you have in class.

Finally, do not forget to take down notes because even when you can’t afford to buy textbooks you can still maximize your learning experience by taking advantage of the information you get from class. It helps you to slowly understand difficult concept which will give you leverage when the examination time comes around. Your notes are the number one weapon you can wield during crunch time.

Best Practices in Taking Notes for College Students

The mere fact that you’re taking down notes means you wanted to retain the information you wrote down. With that said, you should know exactly what you need to write down otherwise you’ll end up with too much garbage in the information you tried to acquire.

  • Identify what’s new to you. There is no point writing down something that you already know. Why will you write down the information you’ve known from the heart?
  • Determine whether your professor will most likely use the information later. Focus on things that directly demonstrate the lesson you’re studying including pertinent names, places and dates.
  • Tricky information. We are well aware that our professors always try to trigger our logical mind by setting out traps and tricky questions in their examination. More often than not, the answers to these traps are given out during their lectures – not in the book. If you are particularly keen about observing such habits then it will be easier for you to crack it down.
  • Side comments. Sometimes, side comments are ignored or considered unnecessary. However, most practical questions and answers can be found on side comments whether during lectures or books.
  • Doubts. Your doubts and questions are the best source of useful information especially when you are faced with a tough exam ahead. There is not a single student in existence without questions about a certain lesson. If you have doubts, write it down and verify it in your research later on.

There is no easier way to face college than to plunge into it headlong.

How to Make the Best Out of Your Semester

Most students worry about making the best out of their semester which is usually gauge by the lessons you have learned throughout. But a more important thing is – how?

Organization This is usually self-explanatory for college students who have a hard time coping with time management and even studying. But here are some practical things you can follow –

•Take notes – “A dull pencil is better than a sharp mind.” This is usually one of the greatest adages that you can follow about studying and learning. There are things that your sharp mind tends to miss later on but when you write everything down on your notebook or post-it papers you enhance your chance at remember it later on.

•Agenda list – It is important that you make a regular weekly list of itinerary. Your agenda should give you sense of direction and purpose making everything better every day.

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•Real time inbox – This is a figurative term which simply refers to a permanent place in your room or apartment where you study. This is where you will place all your notes, books and assignment papers.

•Get to know your professors – Search engines usually give you short biography on your teachers. Alternatively and more accurately, you can search about them in your school library. Learn about their research interests and knowledge.

•Study partner/mentor – The secret to success is not about being alone but being able to find someone who can understand your habits and study style.

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How to Improve Your Performance on a Written Exam

“In life, you take the exam first before you learn but in college you learn first before taking the exam.”

There are two primary skills that you need to practice and learn about namely –

  1. Time management
  2. Deduction

Time Management

When you are taking a written exam, the first thing you need to do is to allocate an enough time for you to complete the total items of the exam. This is what proper time management is all about. If you don’t allocate enough time for each of the item, you wouldn’t have enough time to think. The best things that you can do include –

Sort out the Exam Questions

There are three categories by which you can divide the sets of questions during an exam but even though this takes time the end result is usually worth it. The three categories include –

  • Questions you know well (easy questions)
  • Questions you know better (moderately hard)
  • Questions you know nothing about (hard questions)

If you go through the examination items, answer the easy questions first since they usually don’t take too much time followed by the moderately hard questions. More importantly, allot more time on the hard questions since they would usually take time to answer.

Do not leave any items blank especially on items that you know nothing about. Sometimes, the best guess is the best answer rather than leaving the space blank.

Deduction

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The power of deduction is usually related to answering questions especially in the moderately hard and hard questions. By using this skill, you will be able to arrive at an answer that most people would call “educated guess.” Deduction merely takes off two erroneous answers basing on factors.

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Being Productive While Commuting

Generally, it is not good for the eyes to read while on the road. Well, I beg to differ – most of the time we spend at least 30 minutes walking to get to our classes.

Thirty minutes can make a big difference in your learning experience. Here’s how to be productive while commuting –

  1. Listen to audio books, podcasts and class recordings – It has been proven that listening can significantly improve your knowledge base. It helps you discover the things you might have missed before.
  2. Always keep flash cards with you all the time – Flash cards are easy to read and it doesn’t even take 30 minutes to cover everything.
  3. List your priorities for the day – You can list on a piece of paper your itineraries for the day so that it is easier for you to stay on track.
  4. Proofread your papers – You can scan your papers and check for grammatical, spelling and sentence construction errors.
  5. Scan class notes – Reading while you are on the move is a big no-no thus it is better to scan your notes or probably take a peek on highlighted texts.
  6. Return calls and text messages – If you missed some calls and messages, the great time to respond or take a call is during your commute.

Finally, learning how to relax through breathing techniques while you are commuting is a great way to become productive.

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