Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How to Take a College Class for Free (and in Just 3 Weeks)

This semester I was able to take a 3-hour, basic requirement college class for almost free. (If I had planned better, I could have taken it 100% free.) To top it off, I finished the course in just 3 weeks. How?

What you need:

  • A little cash (you'll get this back)
  • A computer with internet connection
  • Determination

What you do:

1. Get a scholarship for your tuition. So this is the one step that I can't do for you -- you have to find a scholarship on your own. If you aren't on a scholarship, don't worry. You can still take the class for cheap. Just follow the rest of the steps.

2. Buy the textbook. I'm a huge fan of renting, but if you're going to use my method, buy the textbook. Protect the textbook. Don't highlight in the textbook. Don't rip a page in the textbook. It is gold. It is treasure. It's at least 70 bucks, so treat it right, okay?

3. Take your class online. It is impossible to finish the class early if you do not take an online, self-paced course. Some online classes only open a module per week. You don't want that class. You want a self-paced class. Check out the online reviews of the professors or ask around to find out which ones are self-paced, and which ones aren't, at your school.

4. Get a free trial. Quite a few online classes use a third-party website to do quizzes. If your online class requires this, your access code is going to cost 50+ dollars. But most sites offer a free trial of 2-3 weeks. Start with that before you buy an expensive code.

Okay, all set? When the class opens, carefully read and use your book (no highlighting, damaging, etc.) to take all of the quizzes within the first two or three weeks (using your free trial). When you're done with the class work, send the book back for a refund and never purchase an access code.

There. You're done. 3 credit hours out of the way and you didn't have to deplete your bank account.

I highly recommend this route for a core class (government, history, psychology, basic economics class, etc.) but not for upper level classes or writing intensive classes.

Image found here
If you don't feel comfortable sending your book back or miss the return date, just sell it back. Amazon or Chegg will gladly offer you cash for your book (usually at least 50% of what you paid for it).

And the brightest side to all of this? You're done with your class in the first three weeks of the semester. Now you have extra time to spend on your other, more difficult classes. You're welcome.

Now, go get 'er done.

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