I’ve been wondering how potential students could use free courses to augment what they were already doing. I know in other posts I have mentioned that those courses are a great opportunity for individuals that want some education or information, more in hobby form, than for anything very serious.
But then I came across a website called Open2Study and I saw that they were offering lots of classes that directly related to subjects you would take at the college or university level. Plus, they were different than other free platforms because they were accredited by Universities Australia.
I also noticed that the instructors had major credentials which intrigued me even more given the classes were presumably all for free. And the final point that really peaked my interest was the fact that at the end of the course, students received a Certificate of Achievement for passing the requirements.
All of this got me to thinking how you could take advantage of this situation, since it is there all ready for the taking and should be used. Consequently, I’ve thought of ten reasons why taking a free course can help you with a certificate or degree.
#1 Gets You Back In The Groove
If you’re been away from school for some time, it is a bit of a transition getting back into things. There is homework to contend with, daily assignments to hand in, periodic quizzes, exams, essays and maybe class participation. Yes, online courses do require students to communicate and interact with others!
All of this is good practice for taking a course credited toward a degree or certificate program. And just because the course is free doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. Use it to your advantage and do the best you can by:
- developing good study habits,
- understanding how things work in today’s educational world,
- and meeting the goals and objectives of the course.
#2 Stepping Stone To Certificate or Degree Program
Granted, the free courses cannot be used toward credits at college or university, but the benefit of taking one or more classes is that you can record it on your resume in the educational section. It demonstrates that you have been trying and you have the desire to succeed.
#3 Choose A Discipline
Additionally, if you start out by taking the free online course, you can decide whether or not the course is going to be the right fit for you. Often times, potential students think they would like to take a specific degree, but find out that it is not right for them.
I know this firsthand because after I had spent my tuition and time for the full first year of university, the Bachelor Degree I thought I wanted was not all that great. I wanted to change specialties.
But, if you can take a couple classes before choosing a final discipline, without the worry of tuition fees, you only lose your time and if you pass, you really haven’t lost anything. Taking the free course gives you a greater understanding of what is to come.
#4 Test Out The Facility
Some of the places that offer free course are also accredited to provide curricula for certificate or degree programs. In this case, you can take one or two classes to determine whether or not you like the institute and can decide to continue to take the degree requirements there, as well.
#5 No Barriers
If you are nervous about taking a class and interacting with others in person, free courses can certainly help improve your confidence. Likewise, it will be a lot easier to learn online than it is to get to a classroom daily.
The online courses have no discrimination, either, so you can feel confident in taking your courses and enjoying them. Anyone can enroll in the classes regardless of race, age or where they live.
#6 Save Money
Free courses give you the opportunity to sample or taste a range of topics without investing a lot of money. Of course, at college or university, there is a deadline for which you can drop out of a class and still receive a refund of your tuition fees, but this is different.
In my opinion, if you register for a free class, you should see it to the end. By doing so, you reap the real benefits of the class and know for sure whether you like the topic. Plus, you are not wasting the resources of the institute. But the beauty of the courses is that you make an informed decision with very little expense.
#7 Add New Skills
For some people, adding new skills to their repertoire can make them more appealing for promotions at work. If a new job posting goes up, the applicants may not be sure if they have the right skills or not. By taking a couple courses, they can augment their knowledge, and then decide whether a full credited course load will be worth the investment, both time and money.
#8 Best Institutions Are Online
As the educational field becomes more competitive, Ivy League schools are examining ways to make their curricula more accessible to the masses. That doesn’t mean they have lowered their academic standards, it just means that they are offering some free classes, so that many more people have access to learning.
Examples of schools that participate are Harvard, MIT and UC Berkeley. Even The Smithsonian has become involved, too.
#9 Stay Current
With college schedules being very strict, often students are not able to take a course when they want to. Classes fill up very quickly. Of course, you will probably need a specific credit to graduate, but if it takes a couple years to get into the class, you can always take one of the free courses to keep yourself current in the subject material. This way, when you finally take the required course, you will have some knowledge behind you.
#10 Exam Preparation
I need to mention Harvard and MIT again because they have done such a good job with their free classes program through the edX platform, that you can prepare for exams and course study. This is a huge bonus if you are new to college courses.
Even for someone that has already taken a degree program, being able to learn how to prepare for exams from experts will be advantageous. And if you decide to take a class with one of the other free programs out there, it should still help you with acing your exams!
Here’s a virtual tour of edX.