The College Textbook Industry Needs To Change

The College Textbook Industry Needs To Change

No college student has $500+ lying around to purchase completely useless textbooks every semester.
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With the start of the spring semester recently occuring for most colleges, many students are faced with the dreadful experience of buying or renting textbooks. Whether you order them online or buy them at your campus bookstore, you still find yourself spending hundreds of dollars on textbooks that you doubt you will ever use. The college textbook industry is out of touch with students' needs in five major ways, and it needs to change.

1. Ridiculously high-priced textbooks

$200 here, another $150 there — but wait, there's another $300 over there. By the end of it all, you could have easily spent over $1000 on a bunch of books that your teachers think are vital to your success in college. Think about it this way: You just spent over $1000 (that's about 200 drinks from Starbucks, I might add!) on what is literally a stack of processed pieces of paper. Now remind me, what is it that makes this Calculus book worth $300 again?

2. Access codes that cost $75 plus

But wait, there's more! On top of your $300 book, you need to purchase this $100 access code just to be able to do your homework! You already have a system such as Blackboard or Canvas that your homework assignments can be integrated into, but now you are required to pay another large sum of money just to be able to pass the class (and sometimes they are homework assignments that are only graded on completion).

I personally went an entire semester without purchasing a single book and was still required to spend almost $400 on just access codes to be able to do my homework and pass the class.

3. Textbooks have low resale value

What's that? This chemistry textbook I just paid $280 for only 4 months ago is now only able to be sold back for $40? Oh, over 1600 students took the course and you are only buying back 25 books? Now I'm not a mathematics major, but that just doesn't add up.

Everyone today is so concerned about ensuring that we live more sustainably, but yet so many college students each year can't even give their old books away because the publisher decided to release a new edition and teachers just wont accept the use of the edition that was released just last year anymore.

4. University-specific textbooks

If you were lucky enough to take a class where the professor wrote the book, you are in luck! You now have to pay extra for the book, and you have little to no chance of finding one online that is used or able to rent because it is specific to your college. All because your professor wrote the book and thinks it is better than all the rest.

5. "Required" textbooks that you never use

At the start of the entire process, you have to look at the list of books assigned to you. Most of them say required, while others may be recommended. At this point, you really have two options. You can either get all of the "required" books on the list while they are available or rental prices are low, or you can wait until class is underway to determine for yourself if the book will be used, but at the cost of possibly getting even worse rental prices and being forced to buy the book new.

I personally have found that at least half of the books that are "required" for classes are never even used; and I can almost guarantee that this is a common experience for many other college students. Nothing sucks worse than spending hundreds of dollars on a textbook that you will never use because the professor posts all of the needed information on the lecture slides.

Textbook companies need to get on the same level as the average college student. No one can afford to shell out hundreds of dollars per semester all for textbooks that will only count for that semester. It's time to change the way college students learn by changing the textbooks they are required to purchase every year.



Cover Image Credit: Photo by Morgan Harper Nichols on Unsplash

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A Letter to the High School Senior Ready to Graduate

You are nearing the end.
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Dear Senior,

Congrats! You are nearing the end; you have finally made it through the four years you never thought would end. You made it through the dress codes, the late night cramming, the endless extra-curriculars and so much more that made your high school experience unique.

You persevered through the classes where you learned material you knew you would never use again, as well as the early morning classes you never wanted to wake up for. You made it through the drama you thought for sure ruined your life as well as the heartbreak that made you not want to walk the halls again.

These moments are almost gone and in the past, and I am certain you are so excited to leave the place where everyone knows who you are. As the days become numbered, you look forward to independence and a college where you can start all over.

I know you are excited for the future, but please remember what you are leaving behind.

You have passed your last Friday night football game. The next time you return to that stadium, you will be watching from the stands in a different atmosphere. You are coming up on your last dance. You will never shop for a dress that makes you feel beautiful or ask the girl of your dreams to dance with you again.

You won’t be in the student section cheering on your team with your best friends again. You won’t dress up for homecoming again. You won’t be a part of a team with your best friends. All these moments that went by so fast, so quick you didn’t even take time to realize it was your last, are gone.

Soon you will walk out of your high school hallway for the last time as a student. You will empty your locker that you shared with your best friend, who is probably going to some school hours away from you. You will finish your final test with the teacher you hated but they took the time to know your name. You will return your books, your computer, and say goodbye.

Then you will open the doors, so excited to leave the place you called hell on multiple occasions. Perhaps in this moment you will realize that this school will never be the same.

You are now an alumni, and you will never be the same walking in those hallways the way you were for four whole years. You are no longer a student, upperclassman, teammate or friend. Everything changes the moment you walk through those doors.

Soon you will walk across the stage, accept your diploma and say you did it. At that moment, look around. There are so many people you will never see again. The person you did countless projects with is going across the country and might never come back.

The person who lapped you in the mile is now going into the military, and you have no idea when you will see them again. The friends you spent endless Saturday nights with are leaving too. The people you grew up with, the ones who knew your birthday and favorite subject, won’t surround you.

Perhaps you find comfort in leaving familiarity, but remember that these moments are your last. Appreciate them, because when fall comes, everything will change.

You will leave your parents, your pets, your siblings. You are packing 18 years of your life into boxes as you try to gauge how much clothing you’ll need to bring because you have no idea when you’ll be home next.

You are leaving homemade meals and short drives to places you love. You are leaving everything you have ever known. Your parents will go back home, and you will be stuck alone at a place you now have to live at for the next few years of your life.

Professors won’t remember your name after the first semester. You will cry because you changed your major for the third time in four weeks. You have to choose classes that determine your future. Your parents won’t be there for you when you are sick. Your friends won’t be there when you have no one to eat with. You won’t have time to free read or think beyond the realms of school. You will constantly be buried in homework and anxiety. You have to rebuild yourself, by yourself.

So, senior, when you are so ready to go, please take a moment to realize what you are leaving behind. You will not get these moments back. The last dance, test, lunch, game, tailgate – appreciate them. College is amazing and filled with memories, but do not rush these last few weeks; you will never get them back.

The future will come soon enough. As you prepare for “firsts,” you are also approaching your “lasts” – embrace them please.

Sincerely,

College Student

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6 Struggles Of Being A Young, Dumb, Broke College Student

College is so expensive.

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College is seriously so expensive. I'm just out here trying to get an education, but it sure costs a pretty penny for a degree that doesn't even bring in any money until we use it to get a master's degree.

1. Having to opt out of dining out because food is just too darn expensive.

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2. I’m someone who doesn’t drink coffee, and my question is -- who made energy drinks so freaking expensive?? #sponsormeyerba

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3. Clothes...I firmly believe that most people have a great sense of fashion, but they don’t have the money for it.

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4. Whether you’re in the dorms or apartments, the rent is no joke.

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5. Buying textbooks is a complete nightmare.

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6. Signing up for loans is not fun at all, and you’re actually gonna have to pay that off for the rest of your life.

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Sometimes, college is so expensive that I feel like we all need GoFundMe pages. Literally, who made college so damn expensive?? Let's #makeeamericagreatagain by providing people with low-cost education and get them the education that they need!

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