Take college-level classes online for free at the Online Learning Initiative

Open Learning InitiativeFree college-level online classes have been available since 2001, when Carnegie Mellon University introduced its Open Learning Initiative (OLI). Today, OLI offers 18 introductory-level online classes in a variety of subjects including Biochemistry, Statistical Reasoning and Elementary French. Students affiliated with the university pay a fee to have their tests graded and receive credit for their work. Independent learners, on the other hand, are welcome to work through the pre-recorded lectures for no charge, but they will not be quizzed nor receive credit. Still, they are encouraged to establish a free account with the OLI site so it can track their progress. OLI designs their courses with measurable learning outcomes, which gives them the tools to “iteratively improve our courses and improve the teaching and learning experience.”



Out-of-state college students, ensure your voting status at Campus Vote Project

Campus Vote ProjectCollege students living away from their home state face particular challenges in some states when they try to register to vote. In Florida, for example, all voters must present proof of permanent residence, which is difficult for out-of-state university students. The Campus Vote Project is a non-profit organization that works “with students to remove barriers to voting on campuses across the country.” If you are an out-of-state college student, visit this site to see what you must do to make your vote count.

Campus Vote Project

Find information about tax-free 529 plans at Savingforcollege.com

Savingforcollege.comIt has been said that a college degree has become necessary for success in adult life. But with tuition costs soaring and governments cutting funding for state schools, how are you going to pay for it? Savingforcollege.com offers free state-by-state information about 529 plans, the tax-free way to invest toward your child’s college costs. Download their Family Guide to College Savings for some tuition tackling tactics.


Are you an imposter? Take the test!

Imposter phenomenonSome people feel a disconnect between their outward success and their inward state. They suffer from a distinct impression that they are living a lie and will soon be discovered for the imposters that they are. Read about “IP” in this article from the counseling center at the California State University at Fullerton. Take the Clance IP test to see if you suffer from the Imposter Phenomenon.



Fastweb helps find money for college.

FastwebThis free service (with lots of ads) asks applicants to fill out an extensive online questionnaire about their interests and experiences, as well as those of their parents. Then, it matches these characteristics to a huge database of scholarships. When new scholarships appear that fit a profile, Fastweb sends e-mail to notify students about it. It also can automatically print out a scholarship query letter. All a student has to do is sign it and pop it in the mail. Cool!



Assess your strengths with SWOT analysis

Personal SWOT analysisWhat are your strengths? What do you need to work on to achieve your goals? What are the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing a major or a career? Sometimes, writing it out makes the situation clearer. Try the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) technique, described here, to help you decide what path to follow.


Thinking about college? Get help from U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News EducationThe Education section of the website of U.S. News & World Report, the (now monthly) newsmagazine, is a good place to start exploring college options. Browse their lists of “best” colleges for various courses of study. (Although their ranking methodology has been criticized, they do list the major players.) The site also offers articles about financing college, including a Financial Aid Letter Decoder to help you understand how your award stacks up. Another feature is the “Guide to Admissions,” [http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/features/guide-to-admissions] which addresses the tests, the admission essays, and the latest college admissions news.