Summertime is synonymous with long lazy days and no school to worry about, but if you play all summer, college could end up being way harder than it needs to be. Little things you can do now can make the upcoming semester and the move back on campus so much better. None of these activities take long, you can do them last-minute, and each of them will make going back to school easier.

Check Out Your Professors

You may not know this, but college professors have ratings, just like movies and laptops. Just go to Rate My Professors and start searching. You can use the information to decide which classes to take or just to get a heads up about how that particular professor operates. Read the reviews and learn how your professors this semester teach. You may even find some hints and tips to help you get the best grade possible. Remember to stay open-minded and don’t let others’ experiences bias your own opinion of the prof.

Get Your Textbooks

One of the best things you can do before going back to college this semester is get your books. If you wait until the semester starts, you will have to get your textbooks from the campus bookstore and likely pay way more than you need to. Plus, you will actually have to buy them. While owning the books means you can sell your textbooks later, you may be able to rent your textbooks or get them digitally or from the library. Sites like CampusBooks let you compare the cost of renting versus buying and printed books versus eBooks so you can get the best deal.

Friend Your Roommate

You are going to be sharing a room with your roommate for the semester, if not the year. Go ahead and friend him or her on Facebook, send an email, or Skype before the semester starts. Together you can decide which furnishings and appliances to bring and lay the groundwork for the “rules of the room.” Plus, by contacting your new roomie ahead of time, you can avoid that awkward first day.

Stock Up

Once you and your roommate decide what you each will bring, it is time to go shopping. Appliances like a mini-fridge can be a blessing for those times you don’t feel like walking to the dining hall or when having a late-night study session. In addition to your textbooks, you should also make sure you have a laptop or netbook, extra bedding, non-perishable foods, and a few things to make your dorm space more like home. Also, stock up on pens, paper, notebooks, and highlighters. Those little items really add up, and if you have to buy them on campus you could spend way more than you intend (or need) to.

Make a Plan

Lastly, make a plan for how you will do everything. Budget time for extracurricular activities as well as study time. Allow yourself to plug events and activities into the blocks you schedule, and that’s it. That way you won’t over-commit yourself. Also, talk with your parents about when you intend to come home, how often you will call, and how much interaction with them on social media is okay.

College is a special time with new responsibilities and new experiences. Doing a few last-minute things to make collegiate life easier before your semester starts is a smart idea.

 

Back-to-school rush is on and things are crazy in terms of time and money. We’ve been working hard to bring students more tools to help them better manage those precious resources and we’ve released four new-and-improved time-and-money-savers just in time for textbook season!

screen322x572-11) Totally New Mobile Apps

CampusBooks for Android and CampusBooks for iPhone are totally rebuilt from the ground up and both provide a great way to buy, rent, and sell textbooks on the go. Get the apps and start scanning and saving ASAP. It’s so easy and you’ll save more than you knew possible.

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 11.47.12 AM2) Innovative (and Exclusive) Buy Vs. Rent Tool

Wondering whether it’s better to buy or to rent? Not sure if that $200 chemistry text will have any buyback value at the end of the semester? Questioning if renting really is the best deal just because it seems cheap now? We can help! Check out the Buy Vs. Rent tool in the left column of your price-comparison results at CampusBooks. You’ll see our recommendation for your best option. Based on a proprietary algorithm, BvR takes much of the guesswork and risk out of getting your textbooks.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 11.59.45 AM3) Revamped BookBag

What’s better than saving some money on one or two books? Bundling four or five and saving even. The revamped CampusBooks BookBag takes the multiple books you add and does all of the math behind the scenes so as to take tax and shipping and coupons into account and present you with the overall best deal on the whole package. Maybe that’s all books from one merchant, maybe it’s a combo of a used book from Amazon Marketplace plus an international edition from Half plus a rental from Chegg and an eBook. Let us figure it out for you with the BookBag.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 11.55.06 AM4) Library Inventory

The only thing better than cheap textbooks is free textbooks. Be sure to enable the Libraries option and enter your zip code in the filters of our price comparison so we can check area libraries (college and public) to see if they have your book nearby and available to borrow for free.

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And Still More Upgrades and Updates…

In addition to these new-and-improved tools, we’ve optimized our website for speed and performance and we’ve added more merchants and more options for rental durations and digital downloads. We’ve also loaded up the site with coupons for many of the merchants. The costs of college textbooks may indeed be on the rise again as publishers roll out new editions and bundle access cards to make sure that their texts must be purchased new … but with some information and options, you can keep costs in check and get all of your books without breaking the bank.

Best of luck for the new semester!

Sexual assault on college campuses is a problem that is difficult to quantify. The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault launched the resource website Not Alone and released a report stating that about 20 percent of college students experience some form of sexual assault during their time in school. However, there is no way to know how accurate that number is. Victims often fail to report incidents of sexual assault due to the trauma of the assault and painful nature of reporting it, which often feels like reliving the assault. As few as one in 20 campus rapes gets reported. This may be largely because of misunderstandings about what constitutes rape; it may also be because victims who speak up about rape often face the stigma that goes with it.

So what can you do to make campuses safer from sexual assault? First and foremost, take responsibility (that means you too, men). Sexual assaults don’t just happen, they are committed by perpetrators. Don’t be that perpetrator; respect others, accept that no means no, and understand that drinking or using drugs or being in a relationship with someone does not mean that it isn’t assault.

Stick With People You Trust

The party over at the frat house may sound like fun, but before you attend it, do some investigating. Are some of your friends available to go with you? What kind of reputation do the guys at the frat house have? If anything you discover raises a red flag, don’t attend. If you do go, keep a death grip on your drink; even take it with you to the bathroom so no one can slip date-rape drugs into it. Also, don’t drink anything that tastes strange or that comes from an open punch bowl.

Control Your Situation

Sticking with people you know is not a sure-fire way to prevent sexual assault. In fact, it is often acquaintances who perpetrate acts of sexual assault. If someone you barely know offers to give you a ride home, say no. Your best bet is to call a taxi or walk home in a group. Keep in mind that alcohol often contributes to sexual assaults, so if you’re ever uncomfortable with the amount of drinking taking place at a party or when you’re on a date, leave.

Respect Yourself and Your Limits (and Those of Others)

Before you go to a party or on a date, know your limits and prepare for any situations that might try to push you beyond them. Practice being firm about saying no. Anyone who you think might stop liking you if you say no is a person that you do not want it your life. Drinking, drugs, dating someone, or the way your dance or dress is not a reason or an excuse for assault — EVER. No one is “asking for it” or “has it coming.” In general, be aware that no matter what, some people won’t respect your boundaries and consider learning some basic self-defense techniques.

Participate in a College Rape-Prevention Program

Some schools offer programs that equip students to better prevent sexual assaults. If such classes are available at your school, attend so you can learn detailed tips on how to protect yourself and be respectful of others. Share what you learn with your friends or invite them to attend with you.

Remember: It is everyone’s responsibility to make campuses as safe as possible. Learn how to protect yourself, respect others, take appropriate precautions, and create an environment that is safer for everyone.

Back-to-school fall rush is a huge time for retailers. In fact, the August back-to-school period is second only to the winter-holiday window (Thanksgiving-Christmas) in terms of seasonal spending. Here’s some perspective on the money matters and must-haves (including apps) for heading to college in 2015. You’ll be astonished by how much money is spent on goods beyond tuition, room and board, and textbooks. And don’t forget those downloads, they can help you with your courses, your wellness, and minding your money of course.

3 Money & Must-Haves