By Shea Drefs and Allen Taylor
Donald Trump wants to reduce the Department of Education’s influence, Ted Cruz promises to eliminate the department altogether and Hillary Clinton is committed to no-loan tuition. As radical as the ideas of these U.S. presidential candidates are, Bernie Sanders’ plan for higher education may be the most radical of all; the Vermont senator wants to get rid of tuition at U.S. public colleges and universities. If he were elected and successful, how would free college affect Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)?
James, a 17-year-old high school student from rural Georgia, took his first MOOC when he was just 15. Since then, he’s completed four others in a variety of subjects. With hopes of pursuing a career in chemical engineering, MOOCs have helped set James in the right direction. “MOOCs have definitely helped me decide on my future major,” he says. “Without them, I probably would not have gotten the opportunity to explore different areas, such as energy.”
College decision letters have just been sent out, and for many high school juniors, April is a reminder that their own admissions process is right around the corner. It means it’s time to start considering campus visits, standardized tests, and crafting the perfect college essay. The biggest question on many students’ minds, however, is how to stand out in the midst of dropping acceptance rates. How do you get noticed in a pool of over 8 million other applicants?
One creative method is to take advantage of the thousands of online courses available to any high schooler with internet access. Online learning can help both give you a competitive edge and better prepare you for college itself. Here are 10 tips for juniors (and even seniors) to capitalize on the online education movement:
1. Let colleges know what they’re missing. Show off your skills by taking online courses and excelling in whichever course you choose. Colleges have been known to recruit top talent from online courses!
2. Discover whether the school is a good fit. Take classes at a prospective university to see what you think. Many schools offer the same online courses taught to students at their universities to online participants. Use courses to help make your final decision this April or when deciding where to apply this fall.