BookCheetah Blog

Middlebury College Intern – Peter Heidrich

Heyyy Peter

We are pleased to welcome a new intern to the team: Peter Heidrich. He attends Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT. At Midd, Peter is a member of the Men’s Tennis Team, Student Investment Club, and plans to major in Economics. With experience in internet marketing, he will be able to promote BookCheetah on the Midd network, Facebook, and in person at on-campus events. With January term and our Winter Carnival coming up, we look forward to promoting BookCheetah on campus and putting cash in fellow students’ pockets!

The 5 Things You Need To Prepare for NEXT Semester

The semester’s over. And summer’s on its way. Most students could care less about school once they get on the plane headed to Miami. But the wise student makes sure that he/she not only has fun this summer, but also has fun during the next semester, as well. Which is why looking forward and planning ahead spells the difference between a student who tweets about summer being too short, and a student that laughs at said tweet.

And in order to help you know what to work on while sipping on your Piña Colada, here’s a list of things you need to prepare for next semester:

1. Study Plan to Follow

This doesn’t only apply to those who flunked a course or two. Everyone should keep refining their study plans and schedules. Different semesters bring different deterrents to your studying. You might as well prepare for the battle ahead while you have the time. You don’t want to be caught off-guard at your most vulnerable moment.

2. Clubs to Join

If you forgot to attend the student fair last year, you should find time to join next semester’s. Clubs can be a great tool for you to adjust and adapt to college life. They’re also great ways to harness your interests and talents. It might not be the Barden Bellas, but joining a club or two would surely be a great way to finding out what your passions really are.

 

3. Courses to Take

Maybe you haven’t really decided what your major would be—or maybe you already have. Either way, you should still start thinking about what courses to take for the next semester. And we’re not just talking about those prerequisites recommended in the syllabus, but also those electives that are meant to make your college life holistic and exciting. And don’t be intimidated by the fancy course descriptions, you’ll never know if you can handle it unless you actually try it.

4. People to Meet

There’s a reason why universities are packed with people, and it’s for you to make vital connections with them. Make the most out of this controlled, relation-conducive environment. You’ll never have this much access to people with similar interests in real life again. Know who you want to meet, and go find them. If you work on #2, then you’re most likely on the right track.

5. Books to Buy

This isn’t some form of shameless plug. In reality, book costs take a HUGE chunk off your bank account every year—IF you buy them off the shelf when the semester starts. But if you really are determined to save on a huge amount of money and get some benefits along the way, then you need to plan on what books to buy. You need to know what subjects to take though, before you know what books to buy (see #3). And once you do, you have TONS of resources to locate used books that are a fraction of the price. We here at BookCheetah though, highly recommend our site. We’re comprehensive, we’re not intrusive, and most of all, WE’RE COMPLETELY FREE.

5 Reasons Why College is just like Summer Camp

We’ve all experienced it. Riding on a bus with your over-sized backpacks, hugging your favorite teddy bear closer towards you as the driver pulls over just outside the gates of Camp Jellybean. You enter the log/concrete/marble cabin you’ve been assigned to and see faces you’ve never seen before.  You’re terrified, yet excited at the same time. It’s a whole new experience for you—even if it’s the nth time you’ve signed up for this.

Summer camp was and will always be a great milestone of our lives.

But 5 to 8 years later, you enter the gates of a new adventure. Your stomach churns from fear and excitement. This feels just like camp. But it’s not: It’s college. The feel of familiarity is understandable, though. College is actually Summer Camp stretched to 4 years—or more.

Here’s why:

  1. IT’S FULL OF STRANGERS

    • As you open the door to your cabin, you brace yourself, hoping you won’t end up bunking with Sammy Snorer. The scene replays when you open the door to your dorm room. You have no idea who you’d be spending the year with. You came to college with only a handful of friends. But that’s the fun part about it. You have all four years to build new friendships, rekindle old ones and expand your network beyond your imagination.
  2. IT’S AMAZINGLY FUN
    • The early morning swim, the tire swings, the get-yourself-muddy games, the s’more-making—Summer camps are designed to be fun. And so is college. Parties, competitions, clubs—more parties. You shouldn’t spend all your time lying around in your dorm room, not a lot of fun memories happen there.
  3. IT’S FULL OF LESSONS
    • You learn how to tie a bowline and how to share a meal. You learn how to calculate differentials and how to drive a friend home. You learn a lot of stuff from Camp and College. Whether it may be in the classroom, or outside. Whether it’s theoretical or practical. Camp and College makes you learn a lot. It nurtures you. And you grow. 
  4. IT DOESN’T LAST FOREVER
    • As much as you want to stay and play with Kyle and Joey, goodbye always comes. The week is over, and you’re all homeward bound. You cry about it, and you make promises to keep in touch. You’re all far away. You rarely see each other again. But everytime you think of the fun you’ve had, you smile. You smile because it happened.
    • As much as you wanted to go on one more road trip with Mark and James, goodbye always comes. The year is over, you’ve just graduated and you’re off to start your career in a new city. You cry about it, and you keep updating each other on Facebook. You’re all far away. You rarely see each other again. But everytime you think of all the craziness you’ve gone through, you smile laugh. You laugh because it happened.
  5. IT CHANGES YOU.
    • You come home. You cry because you miss your friends. You share your experiences to your mom, you dad, your sister, your brother, your neighbor, your dog, your cat. You come back with new wisdom. With new dreams. With new ambitions. You come back changed and better. Camp has been good to you. College, even better. Even if you think you’re the same person, you’re not. You’ve grown a bit older, a bit wiser and a bit more mature. You’re still you, but now, it’s a completely different you.

A semester just ended. Finals are over and done. Some of your friends just graduated. Camp is over for them, and they’ve got to get going. But as for you?

Well it ain’t over yet.

The strangers you haven’t met, the fun you haven’t experienced, and the lessons you haven’t learned are waiting for you.  And you’ve got to hurry, because it’s not gonna last forever.

5 Vital Connections You Should Make in College

BookCheetah is all about connecting with people. The whole idea of the site is to bring people together to share resources and mutually benefit from it. Most connections end up being beneficial for both parties. Which is why building links with people during college is an important aspect in high education. Establishing relationship and forming bonds properly prepare you for what’s to come after. And knowing which people to connect with is key to making the most out of your college experience. Which is why we give you the 5 people you should talk to in College:

1.       Your Professor/Teacher 

No doubt that these guys know how you’re doing and what’s good for you when it comes to your class. In the end, they’re the ones who’ll decide if you pass or fail. So you better find ways to not just casually know that you exist, but also let them see that you’re pretty interested in their subject. And even if you’re not THAT interested in their subject, the fact that you’re concerned enough with your performance would allow them to see how much you value your learning. There’s no harm in befriending your instructors. In fact, they might turn out to be valuable mentors in the future.
Possible Alternative: Other professors

2.       Your Student Affairs Head 

College isn’t just about what you learn within the four walls of the classroom. Extra-curricular activities are equally as important in your growth as a person. The amount of learning you get from the experiences of participating in fundraisers, outreaches, lectures, seminars, and trips can greatly add up to your life’s resume. Which is why we believe that getting to know your school’s Student Affairs Advisor is a great step towards a more holistic college experience.
Possible Alternatives: Student Activities Head, Dean of Students, Club Presidents, ACPA Members   

3.       Upperclassmen taking the same major you’re taking/interested in


These guys can show you the ropes on your major and give you sound advice on what to expect—and how to survive them. Who better to ask about the journey than those who have gone through it? And what’s more is that connecting with people who’re headed towards the same type of career you are can prove to be an extremely valuable resource in the future.

Possible Alternatives: Former graduates, Faculty members of the same department.

4.       Student Council Guy 

First of all, if you can, join the student council. What better avenue to practice leadership than college? But then again, not all of us have the time for that. But that doesn’t mean you should completely knock involvement altogether. Try to go and talk to someone who’s part of the student council and ask about opportunities for you to volunteer in. You’ll be surprised at how beneficial it ends up being for you than the group you volunteer for.
Possible Alternative: Club presidents, Volunteering sites like this one.

5.       Your Parents

They might not be able to give you advice on your thesis, or have opportunities for you to save the whales, but your parents are the best advisers for you when it comes to surviving life in general. They are the people who know you the most and they are there for you no matter what. So even all the others fail to help you achieve your goals for college, you can always count on your ‘rents to help you out and support you all the way.
Possible Alternative: There are no greater alternatives for your parents.

So before you assume that college is merely an obstacle before you get to the real world, think of how much better it would be for you in the “real world” if your friends and connections in college would be there to help you out? College is not an obstacle, as a matter of fact, but a preparation phase for you. To allow you more room and more time to grow and ultimately become the successful citizen you are destined to be.

 

5 Questions You Should Ask When You Read

“To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry.” ~Gaston Bachelard

Reading, contrary to popular notion, is an exciting adventure. It takes you to far-away lands, shows you secret worlds and gives you more enlightenment than you can ever imagine. The reason why people see reading as a boring chore that’s inevitably a waste of time is because they approach books (and reading as a whole) like a lion. They assume the worst out of it, and they right away judge it for its cover. They judge books as bad reads when they don’t even know what it’s about.

Yes, there may be good books and bad books, but you’ll never know which is which unless you crack them open and read away. And in order for you to legitimately call the shots, you need to be legitimately knowledgeable about the book. You need to know the right answers. And for you to know the right answers, you need to ask the right questions.

So here we give you 5 good questions to ask when you’re reading a book. Textbooks or otherwise.

 

1.      WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT? 

But don’t strain yourself. Take it easy.

a.  The whole idea of reading a book is to try and understand what it means. What it’s all about. You, as a reader should be able to understand the whole point of the book. The context clues, the structure, the dialogue allow you to put these pieces together, by the  turn of the last page, and get the main idea being driven by the author. Is it about true love and overcoming its obstacles? Or maybe about the benefits of liberal education? You have to make sure you get it first before answering any other questions. Read, learn and comprehend. But if you’re not one to wait, try this hilarious website.

 

2.      WHAT ARE ITS MAIN POINTS?

a.  After finally getting and understanding the whole point being driven by the author, try to figure out the main arguments be brought out. These may or may not be blatantly acknowledged (e.g. “The first reason why badgers are bad animals is…”). In novels, they’re usually found in key events in the story. How the characters react to these key events and the corresponding repercussions of these actions would give you an inkling of what the author is driving at. Try to figure out what made the author (or the characters) reach the conclusion it arrived at. Understanding the journey is as vital as understanding the destination. If you insightfully do this, no matter how personal your comprehension would be, it would nonetheless be very profound.

 

3.      IS IT GROUNDED ON THE PRINCIPLES I STAND FOR? 

a. Although you can always browse the books by their subject matter, things might not have been what you expected. So now that you know where a book’s ideas are headed and how it’s getting there, it’s time to make a judgment call. Do you agree with the book’s ideas, moral stance and standpoints? Are you inspired to continue what you are doing or discouraged to go on any further? Can you relate to the ideology of the author/characters or are they the very mindsets you find yourself rooting against? Answering this question with a “NO”, does not mean you should dump the book in the trash. In fact, allowing yourself to look at an issue through another perspective can help you strengthen your very own. This question merely begs for your own personal evaluation after reading the book. It’s a rain-check for you to know if, at the end of the day, you’re still at the same standpoint you were when you first opened the book.

 

4.      IS IT A BOOK I WOULD RECOMMEND TO PEOPLE I KNOW? 

a. After everything, would this be the kind of book you wished you never read? Or would this be a book you’d want to share with your loved ones? How you felt, what you experienced and your ultimate eagerness to share it would probably be the strongest testaments of how the book affected you as a whole.

 

5.      HOW WILL IT BE ABLE TO HELP ME BECOME A BETTER PERSON?

a. If you end up loving the book’s gist, understanding the points forwarded, sharing similar standpoints, and eagerly wanting to share what you’ve read, then you best ask yourself where to go from there. How will you grow as a person and how will to benefit your personal development? This is the part where you evaluate and implement your take-away. Despite the fact that all books you read in your lifetime would ultimately have some sort of impact on you, you should make it a point to determine which ones to act on.

It should be noted though that these questions are pretty subjective. How they should be asked all depend on how you read the book. It all boils down to you. You, after all, are the reader. And the author can only do so much. They supply the words, the stories and the questions. Putting them all together and answering them is entirely up to you.

Free At Last

We had a dream: to help students across the country better afford their higher education experience. So far, we’ve seen students hundreds of students from over 220 schools sign up and join the movement.

We wanted to take it up a notch.

BookCheetah is now completely and totally free. Previously, BookCheetah required you to purchase tokens to connect with the buyer or seller of your book. No more. Now you can signup, browse, and find someone on campus for free. Free at last, free at last!

_ _ _ _ _ _

? Have you signed up yet? Go here to register.

? Still not sure how BookCheetah works? Go here to see HOW IT WORKS.

? Have you seen our goofy video? Go here to see on youtube.

 

 

The 3 Phases of Textbook Reading

Contrary to popular belief, Textbooks are NOT like your ordinary paperback novels. For one thing, they last the whole semester. Second, they don’t have a single, focal storyline to hang on to. Which means you don’t simply get to rely on holding on to a few tidbits of background info to get the whole plot. Actual work needs to be done in order for you to completely understand what you’re reading.

Which is why we would like to introduce a new (or old, depending on how much you listened to your Reading Comprehension classes) method of reading textbooks. They not only allow you to learn more about what your teacher was talking about:

  1. Skimming

    And NO, blindly flipping through the pages does NOT count as skimming.

    • This is the phase wherein you briskly read the whole chapter. You read it without really stopping at any specific point. You don’t mark anything, don’t highlight specific phrases or fold any page. Your aim is to get the “feel” of the passage. You familiarize yourself with the tone of the author, the way he orders his ideas, and most importantly, the main idea being forwarded by the chapter.

  1. Scanning

    If you end up highlighting everything, you’re in big trouble.

    • Time to take out the highlighters and bookmarks. This is where you nitpick through the chapter and filter the more important details from the less important ones. There is no specific guideline as to what is important and what’s not. This all depends on what you have gotten from your class lectures and discussions. If you thought that simply reading your textbook would solve your confusion, think again. You also have to put in some effort into listening to your prof. He has things to say that aren’t in the book, and the book, in turn, has things your professor might have forgotten to say.

  1. Soaking

    Well maybe not THIS intense.

    • This time, you re-read the whole chapter and emphasize on the important details you highlighted during the scanning phase. You “soak in” all the information—either by applying it in sample problems, or by reading other sources that are directly related to the matter at hand—until you reach the point where you fully comprehend the lesson. This way, when examination time comes, answering questions under the context of what you’re reading would be second nature. You understand the topic more, learn how it can be applied and eventually become capable of assessing how you can apply it to real life. This is the intense part of your reading.

So yes, reading your textbook is nothing like reading your typical James Patterson softcovers. They don’t have the fight scenes you’re looking for, and there’s no love story you can get giddy over. But that doesn’t knock its important at the very least. These books may not necessarily be thrilling and entertaining, but the amount of understanding you get when you master the art of reading them would be enlightening enough to make your life just a little more exciting.

6 Tips for Taking Care of Your Textbooks

We, being in the textbook industry, know how important they are to your learning experience in college. And we know how hard it is to use these textbooks when they start crumbling into moldy pieces before you even had the chance to use them properly.

So we’re here to provide you with SIX important things to take note of when taking care of your textbooks:

1. Use Proper Bookmarks

  • Book bindings may be quite sturdy, but prolonged usage of pens, pencils, cellphones as temporary bookmarks can damage them prematurely. They can cause unwanted gaps between pages (even when the book’s closed) and may even rip the bindings apart. And the best part about it is they don’t have to be boring pieces of carton. You can buy great ones at your nearest bookstore or you can make one on your own! Cards Made Easy is a great place to get great designs for bookmarks you can use.

2. Cover it in Plastic/Newspaper

  • Now’s the chance for you to be doubly creative. Covers can significantly raise the lifespan of your textbooks—protecting them from dust, water and insect damage. And just like bookmarks, they make your textbooks look even more interesting. Check out how this imaginative college student covered her book:

3. Use good highlighters

  • The main purpose of highlighters is to allow you to mark key sentences and words in a page so that you’d be able to spot them at first glance when you review your lessons. So it would be quite a problem if you’d use a highlighter that bleeds through when you use them or fades after a few days. As much as you would love to save up on a few bucks, a good high-quality highlighter would be a worthwhile investment for the struggling college student. And according to some highlighter connoisseus, Zebrite seems to be the best one out there.

4. Store it in an ideal place

  • Paper products are highly sensitive to hot and humid environments. The humidity and temperature encourages the growth of highly-damaging mold. Make sure, before you store your books, to see if the room has a more or less stable temperature and humidity level. You don’t want to open those books and find that you can’t even read the words due to the abundance of mold in them.

5. Keep it away from book-loving insects/pests

  • Also, when looking for a place to store them, make sure they aren’t accessible to mice or cockroaches. These guys just love the smell of book binding and textbook ink and would chew on them as much as they can. They can cause severe damage to your books, creating holes, tears and stains all over. And even though we know how much they love books, we love AND need them as well. And finding ways to get them away from their reach ensures a longer lifespan for your textbook.

6. Fix Torn/Damaged Binding

  • If you read this list a bit too late and already found yourself with a damaged book, then it’s not TOO late! Fix the damages as soon as you can to prevent further ripping and tearing. This great book can be a great way to help you use old damaged books—and even make them marketable to other students (with the help of BookCheetah, that is).

So next time, don’t make a damaged textbook an excuse to avoid learning and discovering more. Because the treasures you find in these textbooks add up to the holistic college experience you’ve been looking forward to all semester.

The 2013 Bucket List for College Students

Another year has arrived. And along with it, new experiences and new lessons to learn. But with our journey with 2012, have we experienced and learned enough? What should be our goals for this 2013?

To start off the year, we give you 10 things to aim for in the next 365 days. A bucket list, per se, for the college student for 2013.

  1. Get better grades.
    • As a college student, you ought to try a bit harder keeping yourself a student. If your grades aren’t really brag-to-your-parents-worthy, you might want to cut down on the partying, and focus more on your term papers.
    • If you are doing OK, then you can always do better. Pushing that B average to an A may spell the difference between you and a job offer.
    • But if you’re already acing it, then good job! But don’t be too complacent, there’s always room for improvement. Find your weaknesses and work around them. Pretty soon, you’ll land that dream internship you’ve been working hard for.
  2. Get a bike.
    • This 2013, it’s time to be a bit more health-conscious and eco-friendly. Riding a bike around campus can not only help you prevent heart problems, but it can also contribute to a greener, smoke-free environment. It’s more cost-efficient than a car (no gas needed), and it’s faster and more efficient than running (exercise without the time delay). You can even read more reasons why you should here.
  3. Meet more people.
    • Focusing on your studies a bit more doesn’t mean you should shut yourself out from society completely. Take time to meet new people, learn different cultures and even share ideas. Personal connections go a long way after you graduate from university.
  4. Join clubs.
    • I mean, seriously, who hates sitting in the grass? AMIRIGHT?

      If you haven’t yet, then now would be a good time to start! Joining clubs would mean honing your interests and finding ways to express them. If you have no idea where to start, you can always approach your school’s Student Affairs office and ask them about the existing clubs you can get involved in.

  5. Narrow Down your Goals.
    • For those who haven’t declared their majors, this New Year would be a great way to think it over again. Ask yourself on what you REALLY want to do and where you REALLY want to go after college. Remember, college is the time for you to prepare yourself for the rest of your life. You don’t just cross the bridge when you get there.
  6. Manage your time better.
    • If 2012 wasn’t exactly the best year for you, then you might want to re-check on your time management techniques. Get a planner (or use programs like Last5) and plan your year ahead of time. Write down long-term goals, as well as short-term ones. Fix your schedule and stick to it. Keep commitments and don’t make promises you can’t keep. The benefits and consequences of your actions aren’t mutually exclusive, you know. You yourself hate the thought of an impulsive, uncommitted flaker.
  7. students travel for fun!

    And they’d make cool Facebook posts, too:
    “Just chillin’ at the Alps. LOL. FTW.”

    Travel.

    • Go explore the world. May it be on a road trip or an overseas volunteer mission. Finding a new perspective on the world makes a lot more sense when you’re doing it literally. Go far, or not-so-far. Go long-term, or go short-term. Go with friends, or go alone. It all depends on you and how much step you’re willing to take outside your comfort zone.
  8. Try out new things.
    • “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will NEVER grow.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
    • Go live life and try out new things. You’ll be surprised at how much you’re actually capable of doing.
  9. Nurture existing friendships.
    • As much as this New Year is a sign for you to build new relationships, you should also take time to keep your existing connections strong. Plan reunions, dates and get-togethers with your friends and loved ones. They helped you survive 2012. Now’s the time to pay it back.
  10. Save more money.
    • The New Year also brings about the hope of a fresh start. And this includes another chance for you to save up on your college expenses. Buy less clothes, party less and be more cost-conscious. There are tons of areas you can work on when it comes to saving money. One of which is your books. Considering how much you spend on books and course requirements, saving up on them would allow you to do more stuff throughout the semester. And we here at BookCheetah  are more than happy to help you with that.

5 Huge Facts You Don’t Know About The Textbook Industry

Money from textbooks

Show them the money

Of all the college-centric markets out there, textbooks would probably be the most dependent on the students. No students would mean no textbooks. This interdependence supposedly gives us the idea that the publishers of these books would keep the financial circumstance of college students in mind. But instead, the prices for these textbooks are still quite ruthless. Especially for the American Student. Here’s a rundown on the five big facts you might not know about the textbook industry in 2012.

 

1. The Average Student Pays…

An American college student spends around $1,100 annually on books and required course materials. This and the added expense of tuition fees and dorm rates would result in financial instability, whether it may be on the part of the student or their parents. This then takes away the focus of a student’s stay in college from learning and preparing themselves for their future careers to merely keeping themselves enrolled.

 

2. The Money Goes To…

A mere 12% of every book sold would go to the authors, compilers and editors of these books. While more than half the price tag—around 68 percent—go to the publishers. This may be under the premise that most of the books creation and printing goes are done by the publishing company, but considering how bookstores take more than 20 cents per dollar of every textbook you buy from them, it does not negate the fact that most of these books actually give more to the bookstores that showcase these books than to the people who research and create these books in the first place.

 

3. High Prices From Limited Competition…

Seven giant companies run the American college textbook market, namely: Thomson, Pearson, Jones & Bartlett, Houghton Mifflin, McGraw-Hill, Norton, and Wiley. This means the competition for better quality and affordability runs between these few key players. This explains why there is a decreased growth in variety these past few years and why this results in a lose-lose situation for the American student.

 

4. All Adds Up To…

…an $8 BILLION industry. It’s an industry that depends and is depended on by millions of students needing several textbooks PER semester.

 

5. There is Hope…

The presence of an entity that allows students to buy and sell old textbooks at THEIR preferred prices is required. A disruption in the industry is required to better support the buying side’s power in pricing for the market. You’re in luck — we know just the place where you can buy used textbooks and cheap textbooks directly from other students at your university or college.

Will you join our movement to support students?