A college education can be expensive, and if you rely on student loans to complete your education, chances are you will find yourself in debt for many, many years even after landing an excellent and high-paying job. But it doesn’t mean that college is an unattainable dream for people who can’t afford to pay the tuition.
The good news is, with the technology we have today, you can find free college classes and programs online. From computer statistics to web development and so much more, there are countless opportunities for completing a college education for free in the comfort of your home.
While many universities offer these online courses in the form of podcasts, lectures, and tutorials, some of them may not be accredited degrees. However, they will add value to your overall education and resume.
Here are some of the resources:
Arguably the best and most popular online resource for learning a wide variety of skills, from the arts and marketing to science and technology, Coursera offers a huge range of programs including humanities and biology, as well as computer science. It is an online collaboration between several top-tiered universities with classes being offered from Duke University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Princeton, and Stanford among many others. There are online lectures, free textbooks, and other resources. It’s free to register, and you can earn a certificate for the classes that you complete.
Yes, the well-respected Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the universities that offer free courses online. In fact, they’re one of the first venerated institutions to open their doors to it. You will find over 2,100 different classes to choose from including free lectures notes, exams, and videos and it’s on a wide variety of expertise from architecture to science.
Berkeley features an online hub for online and video classes called Berkeley Webcasts, and they are being streamed worldwide. You can effectively use their search tool to find a specific class or topic, and the results will show you information by department and semester.
MIT and Harvard have come up with a collaboration called edX that allows people to take online classes for free. It even awards certificates of mastery to students who complete particular courses.
Udemy offers free and paid classes, and the courses are taught by people who have excelled in their fields like Mark Zuckerberg. You will find plenty of course offerings such as Product Development at Facebook and iPhone App Design.
Stanford University offers an ongoing selection of free courses on a variety of topics. They also feature the Stanford Class2Go which is an open platform mostly for online research.
For those interested in the medical field, Johns Hopkins offers a wide range of public health courses and materials. You can take the course with audio presentation, case studies, core courses, and several different ways. This is great in helping those who want to advance in their healthcare career.
Khan Academy has grown to be one of the most popular learning destinations online. The site has a collection of videos on a wide range of subjects from computer science to test preparation. There are free assessments and exams for students to know if they are retaining what they learned. The courses are self-paced, and you can earn customized badges to show your progress.
Though it offers a limited selection of courses and all courses are computer related, Udacity allows students to learn directly from the experts like the co-founders of Google and other distinctive leaders in a variety of fields. Classes are organized by level from Beginner, Intermediate, to Advanced. They are taught in video format, and there are quizzes and homework that you need to answer to get a certificate.
There are a bunch of other sites that offer free college classes online, but the ones above are the best recognized worldwide.
Tips for Succeeding in an Online Course
Once you’ve decided which course or courses to take online, make the most out of it by keeping these helpful tips in mind.
Make a Study Plan
Once you register for the online course of your choice, establish a home study schedule depending on your tasks and other responsibilities. It is generally a good practice to devote 3 to 5 hours a week. When you’ve identified your regular study times, ask the members of your household to respect this time.
Designate a Study Space
Online learning is hard work. It takes time, discipline, and peace and quiet. To avoid prematurely dropping out of your courses, take time to find a place in your home and claim it as your study space. It can be a space in your garage, basement, or attic. A Do Not Disturb sign is a must and make sure to enforce it with your family members.
Seek Your Employer’s Support
Perhaps you’re not aware of it, but many employers subsidize at least part of their employee’s tuition and bills if you happen to find a course that you like that is not entirely free. Try asking about tuition assistance programs at your company and if they cover online courses. Usually, they would require that the course is related to your line of work and will help you improve in what you do.