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The Why’s and How’s of Volunteering in College

College By January 13, 2021 No Comments

First, the WHY?

It pays to do the right thing! Besides the chance to do something nice for others, volunteering has many benefits for college students. So before you think your semester is too busy with school and work, consider these reasons to get out and serve…

According to a study by the Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteering is associated with a 27% higher rate of employment because an employer is more likely to choose a candidate with volunteering experience. 

Volunteering helps students learn new skills with hands-on experience. Fill that resume with examples of problem-solving, and leadership. Plus it shows that you know how to manage your time balancing school and extracurricular activities. 

You can meet new people! Make friends outside the classroom and expand your connections on campus. Volunteering also lets students network with businesses and community leaders. And, you never know when a new connection will translate to an opportunity for you after school. 

Helping others through volunteering has several health benefits including decreasing stress, lowering depression, and lengthening your life according to a study by the Mayo Clinic, “The 6 Health Benefits of Volunteering”. Everyone can benefit from tasks that keep you physically and mentally active. 

Volunteering can give you a chance to break out of your comfort zone. If you are typically shy, try to volunteer for a setting that will have you speaking or presenting to gain confidence. Or you could use this as an opportunity to listen and learn from others whose life experiences are far different from your own. 

And finally, it doesn’t have to be completely altruistic. There are sometimes scholarships or paid opportunities that can result from volunteering. See what options are available in your school or community. Here is a list of “13 Community Service Scholarships”. 

Then the HOW?

Now that we’ve shown you some of the benefits of volunteering we’ve compiled a list of places to find volunteer opportunities: 

  • Campus Life or Student Activities Associations are a great place to start looking for opportunities in and around your school. 
  • Search for causes you care about such as animals, the environment, the arts, mentoring teens, or support something that has affected you or a family member like cancer. 

 Volunteers are needed now more than ever to help strengthen and support your community. Take action now! 



How to Spend Your Semester Break Wisely

College By December 23, 2020 Tags: , , No Comments

You finished your last exam.  Close your books, and look forward to a well-earned break from school. Before you think you’ve got nothing to do but binge-watch all the shows you missed, you might want to consider a few activities to make your next semester go smoothly. 


Order a few books now that you are sure you’re going to need and get a head start on that reading. It may feel tough to do this now but your future self will thank you. And BookScouter.com is the best place to find the lowest prices on those textbooks with our search tool that does all the work for you. 



Update your resume. It’s easier now while notable highlights from your semester are still top of mind. Plus you’ll have it ready for any opportunities that present themselves. 


Plan your calendar for the next semester noting any travel, deadlines for summer events, and any exams or paper due dates to begin to see any conflicts you may have. Don’t forget to keep looking for scholarships– they’re not just for freshmen. 


Look for volunteer opportunities. You might need service hours for school or scholarships, or you just might want to give some of your time. No matter your motivation, service hours are always beneficial and could lead to other opportunities (hint: internships)! Get started with Volunteer Match for opportunities in your area. 


Find seasonal work and make a few bucks for things you will need during the upcoming semester. This may also give you an advantage in finding work next summer. 


Continue to eat well, exercise, and get a proper amount of sleep. You’ll not only feel better but you’ll keep your immune system working at its best. 


Do something fun to reward yourself: watch a movie, pick a book you want to read, get takeout from a favorite restaurant. Don’t be a Scrooge, it is your break after all! 

We hope you’ll use your time off wisely and have a productive and fulfilling break! 



Awesome Apps Every College Student Needs

College, Mobile By August 27, 2020 No Comments

Awesome Apps Every College Student Needs

Sometimes the difference between success and failure is having the right tools. Luckily for students today there are a ton of great apps that are often free to help them get through a busy semester. Work smarter in college (no way!) with these awesome apps that we picked to assist with everything from notetaking and time-management, to sleep and healthy eating.  You should totally check these out…

Use in the classroom

Soundnote – lets you type or draw while recording a lecture

Evernote – takes notes, to-do lists, reminders, clip anything from the web and share easily with classmates

Otter – records lectures and lets you do keyword searches 

OfficeLens – converts images like whiteboards to editable documents

awesome apps every college student needs

Use to study for exams

StudyBlue – a top site for flashcards, content library and works with different student learning styles 

Brainscape – make flashcards customizable or use their for standardized exams like the GRE or MCAT

GoConqr – offers flashcards and quizzes plus tools like Mind Maps to connect complex concepts

TopGrade –  another great choice for flashcards, courses, quizzes, and a bonus–language tutorials

Use to write a paper

Grammarly – checks grammar, wordiness, and works on lots of platforms

EasyBib – use for creating your citations in the proper style format

Coggle – create a Mind Map to structure your paper

Dragon Dictation – this app is handy if you aren’t a fast typer or you can use to break writer’s block

awesome apps every college student needs

Use to get organized

Timetable – very aesthetically pleasing time management app is easy to set up and has lots of options to customize 

myHomework – try this cross-platform organizer to access assignments and reminders for due dates

Mint – manage your money, track your monthly spending, and set a budget–good lessons to learn for life

Flipd – helps keep your focus and manage your time 

awesome apps every college student needs

Use for your well being

SleepCycle – track, monitor and analyze to get your best sleep

Alarmy – you are NOT sleeping through this alarm

Fooducate – track your eating and set goals –bonus it tells you foods to stay away from

MapMyFitness – lets you find running routes, link with lots of devices, and challenge friends

Wisedrinking – responsible drinking app to track alcohol consumption

Smartwatcher – connect with other friends to let them know where you are and stay safe walking home

And finally, don’t forget an app you’ll Use to Save Time and Money: BookScouter.com  to help you quickly find the best prices from the most vendors to buy, sell, or rent your textbooks. Available in the app store for IOS or Android.


8 Proven Tips to Ace College Move-In Day

College, General By August 12, 2020 No Comments

8 Proven Tips to Ace College Move-In Day

After waiting all summer, your college move-in day is finally arriving! There is a lot of work that goes into moving to a school across the country, across the state, or even across town. Don’t panic, we’ve assembled time-proven recommendations to ensure your dorm move-in goes as smoothly as possible with 8 tips to ace your first day on campus.

1. Be smart

  • Look up floor plans, email RA for rules, and organize at home as much as possible
  • Beat the rush and get there early. You might get first pick on a side of the room and avoid the lines for elevators
  • Dress comfy and be sure you don’t lock yourself out of your room or building

2. Bring this

Ready-made Packing Lists are a great short cut. Here are two we thought covered a lot of essentials:

  • Off to College Checklist 
  • The Ultimate College Packing Checklist
  • Wardrobe–don’t get carried away with too many t-shirts and shoes, but pack enough socks and underwear in case laundry doesn’t get done as frequently as you’d like. Limit yourself to one formal outfit and winter coat–climate-appropriate of course!
  • And don’t forget to look for ways to save money and time such as these great tips

3. Don’t bring this

  • Check your school’s specific guidelines but as a general rule do not bring: appliances like a hotplate, toaster, candles, incense, firearms, window a/c units, or pets
  • See if your dorm provides: trash can, mini-fridge, microwave, mirror, or lockbox
  • And finally, your Dorm’s RA (Resident Assistant) might have access to infrequently used items like a vacuum or iron

4. Space-saving tips

  • Find hidden spaces-under beds (loft or use risers), behind doors, bedside pockets or a mattress caddy
  • Use hooks with command strips for backpacks, towels, laundry bags, etc. and keep less clutter on the ground
  • Add an additional hanging rod underneath your closet rod to double your closet space

5. The Roommate factor

  • You might want to hold off until you talk to your roommate about a fridge, microwave, coffee maker, electric kettle, blackout curtains, and a rug
  • If you have a shared bathroom, talk with your roommate about: hand towels, soap, bath mat, curtain and rod, plunger/scrubber, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies
  • And last not least don’t forget and duplicate your Entertainment setup: TV, streaming device, and game systems

6. Books

  • The earlier you purchase books the better chance you have of getting the best selection of used books
  • Check your professor’s syllabi –do you need those books’ access codes?
  • The best way to compare prices for books is with BookScouter.com. We answer the question, “Should I buy or rent?” and “Should I get physical books or digital books?” Our pricing tools make it easy and can even show you the potential buyback prices to sell your books back at the end of the semester

7. Safety

  • Tell a friend about your plans when you go out
  • Park your car or bike safe locations, under lights, if possible
  • Use Campus Security options for a ride to your car or dorm
  • If you run alone outdoors don’t use headphones or earbuds and vary your route

8. COVID adaptations

  • See if your school requires any of the following items: masks, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, disposable gloves, and a thermometer
  • Check for any changes to how meals are served on campus, building access and protocols for things like accessing the workout facilities
  • Be sure to do things to help your mental health–get outdoors, workout, and talk with friends and family
  • Be open to change and willing to adapt during these times

Pros & Cons of eTextbooks

College By July 23, 2020 No Comments

Pros & Cons of eTextbooks

Points to Consider

Students have many considerations to make when selecting textbooks: new or used, rent or buy, and print or digital eBooks. Quite often the decision comes down to a student’s learning style and their understanding of the limitations of each option. In this blog, we are breaking down the pros and cons of eTextbooks, as well as discussing how students learn from each format (Spoiler Alert! You retain more reading the paper version).

Pros of eTextbooks

  • May have cheaper upfront costs (know for sure by checking prices on BookScouter.com)
  • Can buy or rent
  • Can have multiple books on one device
  • Less to carry and store
  • Can’t lose or damage a digital version
  • Most up-to-date version
  • Full-text searches and highlight capabilities
  • May have interactive features like flashcards, videos, and quizzes
  • Purchase instantly with quick downloads
  • Can access without internet after you download
  • Don’t have to bother with returns or reselling; access to rentals just expires automatically

Cons of eTextbooks

  • Can’t resell and get some money back
  • Can’t be read on some mobile devices due to screen size
  • Strict return policies based on number of days, percentage of book viewed, using any access codes, etc. (here is one return policy for example)
  • Limited by battery life for reading device
  • Screen fatigue and eyesight strain
  • Easier to get distracted with additional notifications on a device
  • Limited device downloads
  • May have to download multiple eReader apps for different books
  • Depending on the publisher, may not be able to print or cut and paste from an eBook
  • Page numbers might not match supporting materials

Final Thought: Which format is better for studying?

Finally, there are differences of opinion on which format is better for student learning. Proponents state that eBooks are designed to keep students engaged with highlights and annotations while allowing them to easily share notes with peers or teachers. Furthermore, embedded hyperlinks let students quickly reference additional information. However, research has also shown that students learn better from printed books. When tested, students were able to recall more key points and details from the printed material than when reading from a digital copy. Some of the differences can be attributed to time, with students scrolling at a faster pace through the digital material.

Ultimately, no matter which format you choose, there is a place for both variations in your studies if you understand the pros and cons of eTextbooks.


Buy or Rent Textbooks…or try Digital!

College By July 9, 2020 No Comments

Solving the Textbook Dilemma:
Buy, Rent, or go Digital?

Let’s face it – getting your textbooks for college can get complicated. Should you buy or rent textbooks? Physical or digital books? We’ve done the research to present you with the pros and cons of each solution.

Solving the Textbook Dilemma: Buy, Rent, or go Digital?

Don’t buy new when you can buy used textbooks.

BUY Textbooks


  • You can decide whether to keep it or sell it at the end of the semester
  • No deadline to return it
  • Sell it at the end of the semester and get some spending cash!


  • Pay the higher price upfront (we suggest buying used – it’s always cheaper)
  • If a new edition comes out, you will get a lower price when you sell

RENT Textbooks


  • Lower cost upfront
  • Guaranteed to be able to return it


  • Penalties if you don’t return it on time – could be costly
  • If you decide you want to keep the book, you will need to check with the company about the process



  • No heavy textbook to carry around
  • Access your book anytime you have a device handy
  • Rental price for an eBook is comparable to the rental price for a physical book


  • May or may not be cheaper than the physical textbook options
  • You have to keep track of where your books are, i.e. how to access the different books. Did you download them, do you have to access different sites for different books?
  • In most cases, you cannot resell an eBook

If you’re still on the fence with whether to buy or rent your textbooks, you’ll need to do the math. BookScouter.com makes it simple to check your price options for textbooks. You need to compare the difference between the buy and sell price to the rental price. BookScouter lists the estimated buyback price on the Buy results page, so when you search the ISBN, you can easily see how much we think you’ll be able to sell it for at the end of the semester. You can also easily toggle from Buy to Rent on the same results page as well.

In addition, be sure to check the rental cost for the period of time you want to keep the book. Renting may appear cheaper upfront, but companies will usually display multiple rental periods. Be certain to look at the price to keep it for an entire semester and use that as your comparison price.

Solving the Textbook Dilemma: Buy, Rent, or go Digital?

The question of whether to buy or rent textbooks now has another dimension…the digital option.


Here are a couple of pricing comparisons using current textbooks:

Example 1)

ISBN 9780135056080
Rent $53.26 for a Semester
Buy New $146.78
Buy Used for $110.17
Estimated buyback value $64.94 includes FREE shipping
Recommendation: The cheapest option is to buy it used and sell it back. The total cost to you is $45.23.

 Example 2)   

ISBN 9781305957404
Rent for a Semester $29.14
Buy New $86.18
Buy Used – $84.12
Estimated buyback $34.12 includes FREE shipping
Recommendation: The cheapest option in this case is to rent for $29.14.


And lastly, eBooks introduces a whole new factor to the equation. Going digital has some definite advantages, the biggest of which is not having to carry around that rucksack of books. You can access your books anytime you have a device and Internet access and if you download them you just need the device. Is it cheaper to go digital? Not necessarily. Here’s a comparison:

Example 3)

ISBN 9780134523804
Buy eBook – $49.99
Rent eBook – $29.99
Rent Textbook for a Semester- $25.98
Buy New Textbook – $73.93
Buy Used Textbook- $51.69
Estimated Textbook buyback – $32.55

In this case, buying used and selling back or renting the physical book are both less expensive options than the eBook. However, renting the eBook for the semester comes in close behind. So, if you prefer to access your books on your device, this example comes out close to even on price.

Solving the Textbook Dilemma: Buy, Rent, or go Digital?

Going digital has its advantages.


Get the best price on a textbook buyback by taking care of your book and using the FREE shipping labels all the BookScouter vendors offer. Here are a few more tips to get the most value on your return.

Remember, there are no guarantees on the sell-back price. If a new edition comes out, it will certainly lower your sell-back value, or at times, eliminate it. If you are concerned that this might happen, rental is the better option. When you rent, you are guaranteed to be able to return the book. However, there is a caveat with renting.

Be sure to read the fine print when it comes to rentals! Most rental companies will allow a reasonable amount of highlighting, but they may have fees based on the returned condition. In addition, penalties for not returning your rental on time can be heavy. In most cases, they will charge you an extension fee first, and if you miss the extended deadline, charge you the full price of the book. So we can’t stress enough that you have to return the book on time. Write it in your planner, set reminders on your phone, tell Alexa to remind you…just don’t forget!

And a final note – be aware of Access Codes. If you need an access code, you may get stuck buying a new book. Used books and rentals don’t guarantee that supplemental materials will be included. Wondering if you really need access codes? Here’s some advice.

COMING SOON: Our next blog will take a deeper dive into all things eBooks.