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Free Online Learning Opportunities to Prepare You for College

Last updated June 7, 2021

First, congratulations on getting into college! Going to college is a new exciting adventure and with any adventure there are things you can do to help you prepare. We have curated a list of free online classes that can help you: get ready for online learning or distance learning, strengthen your study techniques, get a grasp on budget and financial planning, and college 101.

Get ready for online learning

Online classes or a hybrid model of in-person and online classes are becoming a new normal. There are pros, like: saving time on commuting and some self-pacing; but there are also some pitfalls. Get ready for college online learning or distance learning with two classes that will help you prepare to learn online and develop successful strategies.

How to learn online on edX 

Course description: Designed for those who are new to e-learning, this course will prepare you with strategies to be a successful online learner. Duration: 2 weeks, 2-3 hours per week

Preparing to learn online at university offered by University of Leeds on Future Learn

Course description: Discover study techniques and skills for learning online. Duration: 3 weeks, 2 hours per week

Study techniques

A huge chunk of your time at college will be 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 college courses. But! Like any skill, you can learn how to improve your study techniques.

Improving your study techniques offered by 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 with that freedom, responsibility. 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 budgeting and create the most simple, powerful budget of your life. Duration: 30 minutes to complete

Financial planning for young adults offered by 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 101

College life will be new and exciting. If you are choosing to live on campus or at least spending 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


If you want to explore other interests and courses by world-class universities and experts, visit any of the following sites: Coursera, Future Learn, and Class Central.

Learn more:

Online learning opportunities for every subject

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