Professors should not make textbooks mandatory

Professors should not make textbooks mandatory

Professors should not make textbooks mandatory
March 26
13:26 2018

The hardest blow you can give a stressful college student that has to worry about tuition costs, rent and nonexistent parking, is making expensive textbooks mandatory.

I’ve probably gone two semesters or so without buying textbooks, just because I wanted to be able to eat. But it has been a tough decision.

Professors are saying these textbooks are necessary, and they assign very specific readings from them on a regular basis. As a student trying to balance being academically responsible and cheap, the first option is to check and see if any of the UNT libraries have the book on reserve or available for checkout. This can be a lifesaver, but more often than not, this is not the case. 

What do we do then?

The next line of action would be renting. Checking if Amazon or another online source has the book available to rent, before going to the bookstore can help, but this could still be pretty expensive. On top of that though, if you choose to actually buy the textbooks and then decide you do not need them anymore after the class is over (which is often the case, considering you only bought the book because it was mandatory), booksellers will almost always buy the textbooks back for less than half of what it cost you originally.

In my experience, I just forget the textbook all together, and hope I can do enough research on the internet to make up for not buying it. This involves a lot of work and time, and is also a pretty heavy gamble.

More and more everyday, it begins to feel like college has becomes some sort of money scam or trap.

And I don’t have anything against textbooks. They’re pretty cool and informative — completely different from regular teaching methods or regular books. They’re a great learning tool, and they provide a different angle than that of the professor. 

But it seems kind of evil to make these textbooks mandatory, knowing how expensive they can be and how broke most college students are.

Possible solutions would be to assign and utilize cheaper books with maybe a more concise version of the same material in most textbooks. Providing copies of  the specific readings to students is another option.

I run the risk of sounding entitled by asking that of the professor, but if this means students will get better grades and learn more by spending less, I honestly do not feel it is too much to ask for.

Featured Image: Illustration by Austin Banzon

About Author

Maritza Ramos

Maritza Ramos

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