Love the Libraries


We’ve got 41 libraries on campus. You don’t have to wait until you get to campus to start exploring them! Our librarians have created a handy research guide specifically for transfer students to help you learn about the resources available.  Be sure to check that out, and also note that if you already satisfied your Communication A general education requirement, you may not receive any formal instruction on library research in the way it’s expected at UW-Madison.  In this case, we’d recommend enrolling in the Libraries Sift and Winnow tutorial through Learn@UW.  You can move through it at your own pace, and it can be particularly helpful if you’ve already had a research paper assigned to you.

Buy Books

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What books do I need?

Your textbooks for each of the classes you’ve enrolled in will appear in your student center, accessible via the MyUW portal, as soon as your professors load them. This handy tutorial will show you where. You can buy your books as soon you know what they are, but many students prefer to wait until they’re sure which classes they’ll be taking and have gotten their syllabi.

How do I get them?

That all depends on you and your budget.  Here are some options:

Buying:  You can buy your books locally or from online vendors, and used or new.  Local vendors that faculty often use include the University Bookstore, and A Room of One’s Own.

You can also investigate buying international editions of textbooks, which are often offered from online vendors at much lower prices than domestic editions.  Websites that list international editions include Abe Books and Biblio.

Multiple sites such as BookFinder and the University Bookstore search for books and offer price comparisons.

Facebook groups such as UW Madison Book Exchange and UW-Madison Student Book Exchange may also be good resources.

Renting: The University Bookstore and online vendors including Amazon or Chegg offer textbook rentals as well as sales.

Borrowing: Many professors will also put copies of their textbooks (and other course materials) on reserve through the UW-Madison Libraries.  If you don’t need your own copy of the book, using course reserves to access the text is also cost-effective.

When should I buy them?

Many transfer students recommend waiting until after you’ve had your first class to buy any books. That way you don’t purchase books for a class you then decide to drop.  You also may find during the first class that there are certain books that you don’t need as frequently and can avoid substantial costs by reading them at the library or borrowing someone else’s copy.