Originally Posted: May 13, 2020
Last Updated: Aug 17, 2020
As schools have moved learning online, students may find themselves with more free time or a desire to supplement their current course load. Take advantage of this time by searching for and enrolling in free online courses! Taking online courses can be an ideal way for you to challenge yourself beyond what your school is offering at this time, increase your knowledge, and/or help your college application stand out in a crowded field.
Online courses can help you learn more about your future major, add a new skill, or explore a possible career path. All of the courses listed below are available entirely for free and through accredited organizations and universities. By taking advantage of college-level courses, you can show college admission staff at your schools of interest that you’re ready to tackle the more challenging material at the college level. Here are the top free courses for high school students to get ahead during the coronavirus pandemic.
Free college application prep courses
It’s never too early to start preparing for your college applications. The Common Application personal statement prompts have already been released for the 2020–2021 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. Alternatively, younger students can take advantage of College Planning: High School Students. This free online class teaches students essential skills and how to start planning for college. Beyond these two courses, Moon Prep is offering other valuable courses for free that you can explore on their site.
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 much 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.
Open Learning at Harvard
Students can learn from professors at the prestigious Harvard 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 include The Health Effects of Climate Change and Abstract Algebra.
Carnegie Mellon University: Open Learning Initiative
Carnegie Mellon University’s Open Learning Initiative (OPI) offers a variety of classes. Because of the pandemic, they’ve offered additional courses for free, but even during normal times, students can still take many self-paced courses at no charge. A few courses students have the opportunity to take include Engineering Statics and Introduction to Programming in Java.
Apple’s “Everyone Can Code”
Apple’s “Everyone Can Code” course 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 free app and complete the course.
Whether you choose to participate in one or more of these courses, know that they’re only working to your benefit. Being proactive in learning new skills will reflect positively on your character and showcase to your future college what a hardworking student you are. Show your best self and get signed up for one of these courses today!
For more advice and information for your pandemic concerns, check out our COVID-19 student resources page.