College admissions counselors look at more than the GPA of applicants. There would be several applicants with perfect 4.0 GPAs, and admissions officers only know too well how many students take easy courses to inflate their GPAs.
This is why they also look at how AP, IB, and Honors courses an applicant has taken. If the applicant has taken college-level courses, it is all the more impressive, as it shows initiative on the part of the applicant.
Whether you are looking to explore career options, dive deeper into your intended field of study, or expand your knowledge in a new field, you can’t beat free online course offered by a top university. Below is our top 10 list of elite universities offering courses.
Colleges that offer free online coursesColleges that offer free online courses
Colleges that offer free online courses:
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT’s OpenCourseWare Initiative has 2,300 courses (these are all from the material that the university uses in its undergraduate and graduate-level courses), so you could pick the ones of your choice, in the subjects that interest you the most. All these courses are self-directed, so you can study at your convenience. Some of the courses include video-streaming lectures by MIT professors. (https://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm)
2. Carnegie Mellon University: Under the Open Learning Initiative, you can actually keep track of your learning progress with periodic assessments, just like your professor would in a real college setting – that is what makes OLI so valued. (http://oli.cmu.edu)
3. Tufts University: The Tufts OpenCourseWare lets you access college-level courseware from its highly-specialized Tufts School of Medicine, Tufts School of Dental Medicine, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and the School of Arts and Sciences. (http://ocw.tufts.edu)
4. Stanford University: Its offerings, under the banner of Stanford Online, are ‘professional education’ courses. These can be highly valuable for any college applicant as it shows an advanced level of maturity on his/her part. You don’t even need a PC –they have an iOS app through which you can access their audio/video content. (http://itunes.stanford.edu)
5. University of California at Berkeley: Several of their video lectures can be viewed on YouTube as well as iTunes video. This means you could be taking classes while on the move! (http://webcast.berkeley.edu)
6. The Berklee College of Music: If you like music, you could learn Music Theory, Music Production, Songwriting or even better your knowledge of a musical instrument. (http://www.berkleeshares.com)
7. The University of California at Irvine: Their OpenCourseWare has some 50 online courses on offer that are both on-demand as well as cohort-based. The latter means that although you are offsite, you learn online along with a ‘cohort’ or a group of students that is taking the course. A cohort-based program has the added advantage of allowing you to interact with the faculty afterward. (http://ocw.uci.edu)
Course lectures can be viewed online, anytime.
8. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Materials from more than 100 courses, all developed by college faculty, can now be accessed with their OpenCourseWare initiative. (http://ocw.jhsph.edu)
9. Yale University: Lectures that were recorded in Yale University classrooms are available online as audio, video and text transcripts. (http://oyc.yale.edu)
10. The University of Washington: It offers its courses through the Coursera and EdX platforms. They are the same as what you would learn if you were a student there. (https://www.pce.uw.edu/online/free-online-courses)
Read more about online courses on our Forbes article: Four Tips For High School Students Considering A MOOCs Online Course