6 Places to Find Cheap (or Free!) Education
You have no skills, and no experience. Nightmares of a life cooking fries at a fast food chain weave in and out of your dreams. But don't give up yet. There is an escape from your fry-littered nightmares. Education can be the golden ticket that jumpstarts a lucrative and fulfilling career as a corporate manager, editor, or web developer.
Let's stop for a moment before you rush headlong into a student loan nightmare. While college can equip you with useful skills and certifications, the high cost of education has led to a student loan crisis. For those who choose to enter public service careers, student loan debts can be forgiven. For everyone else, you might want to consider that some high-paying companies no longer require a college degree as an application requirement.
Here are other ways to continue your education without spending much — or any — of your hard-earned money.
Seek out educational podcasts on topics that could potentially help you find a job down the line. Colleges like Stanford, Oxford, and Yale create recordings of their professor's lectures and post them online for free. You can find a large collection of free podcasts in the iTunes U portion of the iTunes store.
2. Free Educational Videos and Lectures
Not fond of just hearing a voice drone on about this war or that economic concept? Rather than listening to podcasts, you might want to try to locate educational videos. These are excellent for the more visual learners out there.
Recently, I started listening to lectures by famous fantasy novelist and Professor Brandon Sanderson on YouTube. It's a great alternative to taking a formal writing class.
Informative webinars like TedTalks can also be found on a variety of educational topics. You might also find webinars with professor guest speakers on the resources pages of university websites. In fact, Pepperdine University has some great webinars presented by their professors on business topics like company culture and big data.
3. Training and Learning Websites
Web development, freelance writing, and a variety of careers require the individual to develop specific skills. In order to help individuals acquire those skills, free educational websites have been created.
Codecademy offers free interactive HTML and web development courses. With determination, hard work, and access to a computer, you can quickly acquire the skills to land a job in tech.
Freelance and writing blogs offer informative guides to help you learn to write high quality articles for various news outlets and websites. They also tend to write guides on how to find freelance gigs, how to approach editors, and how to utilize marketing to find success.
4. Audit or Sit In on College Courses
Want to take a class, but lack the funds? Auditing or sitting in on a course might be a good alternative.
With auditing, students are required to attend class, do non-graded work, and the course audit goes into a student's official transcript. Some universities do charge a fee for the ability to audit a class, so make sure to check that before showing up.
Sitting in on a class allows a student to attend the class without paying a fee. The student will probably need to attend regularly and complete all non-graded work. You will need to check with the college and professor first about a sit-in possibility.
5. The Global Freshman Academy
Recently, Arizona State University created a series of online courses called The Global Freshman Academy. The academy allows individuals to take their freshman courses with only a $45 processing fee. It's essentially a way to audit educational courses. If at the end of the semester, the student passes the course and they wish to earn the credits, the student can choose to pay for the credits. Whether or not you plan to attend college, it's a cost-effective way to gain knowledge and dip your toes into higher education.
6. Tuition Assistance Programs
If you dream of a profession that requires a college degree, your best bet might be to apply for a job that has a tuition assistance program. In order to retain employees for a longer period of time, many businesses offer to pay for a portion of a student's educational fees. If you have to work at a retail or food service job, you might as well make it one that will help you acquire an education.
Have you scored any cheap or free education? Share with us in the comments!
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