Free Online Courses and Skill Building Opportunities for Teens
Last updated March 1, 2022
First, congratulations on wanting to build your skills further! Going to college is a new exciting adventure, and with any adventure, you can do things to help you prepare. Self-paced opportunities are a great way to develop in areas ahead or during your college journey. We have curated a list of free online courses and skill-building opportunities that can help you: get ready for college, add more skills to your toolkit, strengthen your study techniques, get a grasp on budget and financial planning, and transition to the college campus (college 101).
Free Online Learning Courses
Online classes or a hybrid model of in-person and online courses have become the new normal. There are pros, like saving time on commuting and some self-pacing, but there are some pitfalls if you don’t have a good plan. These programs below are free online learning self-paced opportunities to help introduce you to an online learning environment and build some pretty excellent skills. In addition, taking these courses will help you be ready for areas you embark on in your college and professional journeys.
Explore courses and skill-building opportunities on edX
Course description: Designed for those excited about building skills through e-learning. Duration for each course: 2 weeks, 2-3 hours per week. The strength of edX is its substantial range of offerings that include marketing, computer programing, data, storytelling, and a variety of topics knowledge developing topics. The courses are sponsored by credible institutions and organizations like HarvardX, MITx, IBM, etc.
Codeacademy is an excellent opportunity for those wanting to learn code. They have a free section that is beginner-friendly to help you explore what coding is. As you further navigate Codeacademy, the Career Path programs (paid or discounted) can help you level up to discover where you want to go in the technology field.
Course Description: Driven pathways are free to start but require Pro Memberships to follow through. There are potential free Pro memberships for high school classes through Clever, and college students receive a 35% discount. We also recommend contacting Codeacademy to inquire if they offer annual scholarships.
Khan Academy is an excellent option for free online learning. Khan Academy specializes in high school curriculum. The course offerings are by subjects ranging from Math, Physics, Grammar, Biology, and more. They also have a good SAT prep program.
A massive chunk of your online learning will be the video modules and studying. Let’s face it, the study techniques you used in high school may not be up to the rigor and fast-paced style of online courses. But! Like any skill, you can learn how to improve your study techniques. At the same time, this is self-paced, so it’ll be up to you to dedicate the time to get the most out of your online learning experience. Here are some techniques to help you in online learning.
- Dedicate time. Ensure you don’t overwhelm yourself on top of school, activities, friends, work, family, and other priorities. If you’re short on time, Spring or Summer break might be the best opportunity to do Free Online Courses.
- Make a plan and set goals. What do you want to learn? How many courses do you want to take a week?
- Make a schedule. Along with time and goals, making a schedule that you can follow will be essential.
- Take notes. We always find taking notes is always a win. Taking notes will increase the likelihood that the information is sticking.
Below are free courses that can help you further your online learning techniques.
Improving your study techniques offered by the University of Groningen on Future Learn
Course description: Improve your study skills and get better results. Duration: 4 weeks, 2 hours per week
Learning how to learn offered by McMaster University and UCSD on Coursera
Course description: Learn about the illusions of learning, memory techniques, dealing with procrastination, and best practices shown by research to be most effective in helping you master tough subjects. Duration: 15 hours to complete
Budgets and financial planning
You will experience a new sense of financial independence in college and responsibility with that freedom. Don’t let coffee breaks or late-night study snacks ruin your bank account. Learn how to budget and gain a sense of financial planning:
Budget Basics on Udemy
Course description: Learn to budget and create the most simple, powerful budget of your life. Duration: 30 minutes to complete
Financial planning for young adults offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Coursera
Course description: An introduction to basic financial planning concepts for young adults. Topics covered include financial goal setting, saving and investing, budgeting, financial risk, borrowing, and credit. Duration: 18 hours to complete
College life will be new and exciting. If you choose to live on campus or spend some time on campus, it’s like experiencing a new world. You can get ready for college life by attending your college orientation (in-person or online) and enrolling in one of these courses:
U101: Understanding College and College Life offered by University of Washington on Coursera
Course description: If you were just admitted to college and are nervous about what the next step in life might look like, this course is for you. If you are the parent of a newly admitted college student and curious about what college life is like, this course is also for you. Duration: 6 hours to complete
Live Smart: Your Essential Guide to Living at University offered by University of Reading on Future Learn
Course description: Prepare for the transition to higher education and think about the life skills for living at university and beyond. Duration: 3 weeks, 3 hours per week
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