We should never stop learning, my mother once said. She helped pay for the bulk of my college education, but now that I'm on my own, learning will have to come on a budget. Being a lifelong student, however, doesn't mean you have to pay lifelong tuition. Today, access to inexpensive or free educational resources are more available than ever - you just have to know where to look. Here are four great ways to keep on growing as a student and an individual, without sacrificing your wallet.
1. Free online classes from universities: Many world-class universities have put their syllabus and materials online for everyone to peruse. You can even listen to free recordings of class lectures or watch the lecture on YouTube. Universities offering these services include elite academic institutions such as MIT, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Stanford, Oxford, Yale, and Johns Hopkins. If you are disciplined and self-motivated, you can receive the benefit of attending class taught by elite professors - for free! For a very comprehensive list of these classes, see Open Culture. Get great classes for free (and you don't even have to drop in an application). This is what some may call a "no-brainer!"
2. Personal study courses: There are several free sources for people to study online. Want to brush up on your business acumen but have no inclination to spend $100,000 and 2 years in business school? Check out the Personal MBA project. Started in 2005 by Josh Kaufman, a marketer with Procter & Gamble, this self-study course shows you what books to read so you can learn from some of the greatest business minds of the 20th century for no more than the cost of books. Or, if you need a bit more guidance, Personal MBA recently started a 12-week Crash Course series for less than $500. If you are looking to kick start your physical fitness instead, consider the Couch to 5K program. You don't have to hire an expensive personal fitness trainer, just load up on discipline and follow this program instead.
3. Community college classes: If you need some more human instruction and interaction, community college classes are a great option. In California, residents pay as low as $13 per unit to take a class. Many community colleges offer a variety of classes, from language (Spanish and French are two popular courses), to vocational classes (cooking, computer technology, etc.). If you want to expand your academic knowledge (or just sound smarter at a dinner party), community college delivers on that front as well. You can find classes ranging from Anthropology to Economics to Zoology. Many classes are offered at night, so that working professionals can also take advantage of this resource.
4. Adult schools: Similar to community colleges, adult schools offer affordable classes and flexible schedules. Adult schools are also great sources for "fun" classes such as social dancing, yoga, martial arts, bowling, crafts, scrapbooking, etc. In addition, many adult schools offer classes that will yield an immediate, practical benefit to your life, such as classes in personal finance and tax preparation. The registration process for adult schools tend to be even simpler than community college classes.
20 Free Online Finance Courses [GenX Finance]
University of Idaho Offers Free Personal Finance Course [Bargineering]
Free Community Fitness Classes [My Plan for Health]
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