College Admissions Insider - 2020


Free Courses for High School Students: Get Ahead During the Pandemic

By Lindsey Conger

As school has moved online, students might find they have more free time. Students can take advantage of this time by enrolling in online courses. It can be an ideal way for students to challenge themselves, increase their knowledge, and help their application stand out from a crowded field. Taking an online course can allow a student to challenge themselves beyond what their school is offering at this time.

By learning online, it can allow students to learn more about their future major, add a new skill, or explore a possible career path. All of the options listed are available for free and through accredited universities. By taking advantage of college-level courses, students can impress the college admission staff that they are ready to tackle more challenging material. Here are the top free courses for high school students to get ahead during the Coronavirus pandemic. For all the links below, see note at the end of the article.

Free College Application Prep Courses

It isn't too early to start preparing for your college applications. The Common Application personal statement prompts have already been released for the 2020-21 cycle, and students can get started on the 650-word personal statement.

“How to Write a Winning Personal Statement" is a free online course that covers brainstorming techniques, opening paragraph strategies, common mistakes, and real-world essay examples and why they worked.

Younger students can take advantage of “College Planning: High School Students." The free online class teaches students essential skills and how to start planning for college.

Learn more: moon-prep-school-l-bb41.thinkific.com/bundles/free-courses

MIT OpenCourseWare

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) boasts one of the largest collections of free OpenCourseWare (OCW). Students can choose between classes in fine arts, engineering, mathematics, business, psychology, and many more. “Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Python" and “Mathematics for Computer Science" are two of their most popular courses. With the OCW's classes, there are no deadlines or schedules; students can learn on their own time.

Learn more: ocw.mit.edu

Open Learning at Harvard

Students can learn from professors at a prestigious university for free through the Harvard Extension School. There are a wide variety of subject matters covered online, including literature, mathematics, history, computer science, and more. A few of the courses students can take The Health Effects of Climate Change and Abstract Algebra.

Learn more: www.extension.harvard.edu/open-learning-initiative

Carnegie Mellon University: Open Learning Initiative

Carnegie Mellon University's Open Learning Initiative (OPI) offers a variety of classes. Because of the pandemic, many more courses are available for free, but even during normal times, students can take self-paced courses for free. A few courses students can take include Engineering Statics and Introduction to Programming in Java.

Learn more: oli.cmu.edu

Apple's “Everyone Can Code"

“Everyone Can Code" helps teach an essential skill through an app created by Apple. Learners solve puzzles as they apply their new coding skills. To learn coding through this platform, students have to use an iPhone or iPad to download the app.

Learn more: www.apple.com/education/k12/teaching-code/

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Lindsey Conger is a College Counselor and tutor at Moon Prep. She helps students create memorable personal statements and tutors students to increase their academic profile to universities. www.moonprep.com