Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Scholar Selection: Chegg

iTunes App Store - Free!

All us students know how much a monopoly our campus bookstores are. Spending close to $500 for books we're only going to use for just over 4 months, and then returning them for a fraction of the original cost. Many of us are left to look for alternatives as our wallets get skinnier and skinnier throughout our term in school. Many of you probably heard of Chegg Book Rental Service before and used alternatives such as Amazon or other rental sites. Well, the Chegg App is the website equivalent made specifically for your iDevice for those on the go.

Packing their ISBN database into this App you can easily find your books for a fraction of your bookstores cost, while your browsing the shelves for to correct texts. Broken down into an easily navigable 5-button toolbar, you can access your Chegg account whenever, and utilize all the features Chegg has to offer to get you saving that dough you saved up over vacation.

When you first open the App, it will ask you for your account information one time only and/or ask you to sign up, which is free. Then from there, you'll always be at the Search tab upon startup, which is where you will find your books. Here you can simply enter in your ISBN numbers that your professors have provided you with, or, if you're like me and browsing the bookstore for price matching, you can pick up the text you need and scan its barcode. Searching their massive database, you'll be directed to a screen in which you can choose to rent the book for the entire semester for a greatly reduced price. Just keep in mind that it is a rental, unless you decide to keep the book where you'll be charged the full price.

Once you find all the books that you're going to rent, you'll be taken to the Cart tab before you checkout. Here you can make any last minute adjustments before you checkout and see the total amount of money you'll be dropping on books you'll probably only be half reading anyway. $150 sounds much better than $300 doesn't it?

The My Books tab will show you all the rentals you have, and all the books you've ever rented from Chegg. You can track the shipping, see the approximate date of arrival, and when you're going to need to return the book (in which Chegg is really gracious with the time given, about 3 weeks longer than the actual end of my semester). By tapping any current book; you can extend your rental if need be, you can return the book by having the app print you out a return slip, and you can purchase the book at full price (minus the rental price). You can also find the closest UPS store in your area via GPS and drop the book off in the original box with the packing slip you printed for your free return.

Your Alerts tab will show you any noteworthy progress or complications of your order, also sending you push notifications and badge numbers with each new alert keeping you on top of your game. The More tab allows you to edit your account information such as name, email, shipping address, and school info (to give the site a social network feel, knowing who else from which school rented what). The help section contains plenty of menus for any sort of issue you may be having with Chegg (which I haven't had yet), and you can always give them feedback to let them know how they're doing. Lastly, there's another button to find UPS Stores around you.

I've personally had experience with Chegg for over a year now, and let me just tell you that their service is one of a kind. I've dabbled with other sketchy book rental services that can't deliver quickly and always sent your book in a shipping bag or torn up box, usually degrading the quality of the book a bit. Chegg has always shipped my book immediately with an arrival of usually 4 days or less. The books always come in a high-quality orange Chegg box (which you should keep for easier returns!!), with packing foam to protect the contents. Chegg has also won me over with the little freebies they like to throw in each of their boxes, such as Chegg post-it notes, bookmarks, notepads, pencils and coupons for plenty of other things. It's the little things that turn me on to their high-quality customer service. When it comes time to return, they'll even call you to let you know that the books are due soon from a pleasant recording from Chegg's CEO.

I'd have to make this one of my Scholar Selection Essential Apps, simply for the quality of their service. Plus, who doesn't like saving a couple hundred dollars on mandatory books?

And for all the eco-friendly people out there! With each purchase from Chegg, they will plant a tree to whichever forest reservation you choose, so they're keeping it Green.

Wanna see more from my Scholar Selection? Follow the link below to see more!
The Scholar Selection for Great Apps Related to School

Like Saving or Earning Money from Apps? Follow the link below to see more!
Apps That Save and Earn Money to Get That Cash Flow

As always, let me know how I'm doing with a comment! Follow me if this material is awesome!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Scholar Selection: iStudiez Pro

iStudiez Pro
iTunes App Store - $2.99

2010 Best Young Adults App for iPad!
2010 Best Parenting App for iPad!
2009 Best App Ever Award Winner in Education category!

Let me start off by saying that if it wasn't for this App in particular, I would not be where I'm at right now organizationally in college. This App, hands down, is simply beautiful, aesthetically and functionally. I would have to label this App as The Student's Everything School Organizer/Planner.

Now, why do I find this App as one of the most essential Apps for any scholar?
Because it does everything you would need it to.

Easy to navigate, iStudiez has four main buttons on its bottom toolbar consisting of Today, Calendar, Assignments, and Planner.

Today and Calendar organize your school schedule amazingly well, even integrating your iPhone calendar events within the App to give you a better picture of your full schedule. Today will show you the classes/exams/events that you have lined up for the day, the assignments for that event, and time and length of said event. The Calendar works the same way, but instead shows you your monthly schedules with nice little graphics resembling classes, events, and exams. Of course you can toggle reminders for assignments, labs, classes, etc. so you won't be late for the Midterm that has a date different from the rest. Turning your iDevice to landscape while in Calendar will give you a weekly schedule view, for those who check iStudiez out.

Under the Assignments tab, you can add and view all assignments by way of due date, course, or priority. With the color coding of classes, it's easy to determine which homework is due when, always keeping me on top of my game throughout each semester. Once an assignment is finished you just tap the exclamation point, it turns to a green check, then disappears from your current assignments (don't worry, it's now in the completed assignments section).

The Planner is the building blocks to the entire App. Here, you would enter your semester's term, length, holidays, and classes. Each class entered has many features included, as to whether you have an alternating schedule, labs, and what professors teach where. You can add Professor contacts specifically to iStudiez for each class with contact info, department, etc. From there, you can determine how your classes grades are weighted throughout the semester, so you can track your grade progress in depth. With each assignment completed you can enter in the grade you got, and it will weigh it to the rest of your grades and project your estimated GPA so far. Cool, huh? I thought so.

iStudies has push notifications to alert you of events you have scheduled and utilizes the Badge feature to show you how many assignments you have due today and tomorrow straight from your home screen. iStudiez Pro also has the option to backup your data and send it to you in an email in case anything were to happen (Which I haven't seen anything happen in the year and a half I've used this App).

For $2.99, this app is a steal for all that it does. It's very reliable, and has become a daily use App of mine. You can try out the Lite version as well, but it does have a limitation on its features. I must say once again that this App is an almost necessity for any college bound students who wish to stay on top of their work for the multiple semesters to come.

Just from one college student to, hopefully, another.

This post is just one of many! Check out my Scholar Selection for apps related to school!

Monday, February 14, 2011


New Features Added!

So, I've decided to do a little organizing. Think of it like a preemptive spring cleaning of my page. What I've decided to do is add an easily accessible widget on the top of the page that'll organize all the different areas of Apps that'll I'll cover as time goes on.

Don't worry about having to navigate to see new posts though, because I'll drop each new post on my landing page. I will be archiving them in the Pages section to make it easy for you guys to navigate to previous posts regarding specific Apps that you may have read about before. So, if you feel like this is a good addition let me know, and if not.. flame all you want about it. I want this page to be enjoyable for you guys so let me know what I can do to make this a better place!

Oh, and stay tuned. This week, I'll be attempting to drop as many new posts as possible for my Scholar Selection, which will go over school essentials for your i-Device.

And as always, comment just to chat, or give hints and tips, or talk about other Apps that catch your eye. I plan to make this semester a very active one on here, so lets get this party started!!