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Free courses for high school students interested in STEM

BY KRISTEN MOON*

For the ambitious student, taking online classes is an excellent way to expand your knowledge, advance your education, and help your application stand out from a crowded field. Some high schools, faced with budget cuts and overfilled classrooms, have had to cut out intensive courses. This leaves them at a disadvantage, and lacking in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education. Other students want to challenge themselves further than what is offered at their school and must look for alternatives.

With STEM jobs on the rise, gaining exposure to this discipline is becoming increasingly important. Regardless of whether a student is looking to explore a career path, learn more about their intended major, or simply to add a new skill to their resume, there are options online for high schoolers to master STEM, without having to spend a dime.

Many of the offered courses are through accredited universities, created to allow for an even platform for learning. Students can find college-level classes that can showcase an impressive drive for learning to college admissions counselors. Here are some of the top free courses for high school students interested in learning STEM.

MIT OpenCourseWare

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has one of the largest collections of free OpenCourseWare (OCW) on the internet. A majority of their thousands of courses do cover STEM topics. “Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Python” and “Mathematics for Computer Science” are two of their most popular courses. No matter what your age or occupation is, you can find something of value with the MIT OCW content. There are no signups, enrollment, or deadlines you have to hit; you can learn on your own time.

Learn more: https://ocw.mit.edu

Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative offers a variety of classes, many of which are free. Their courses do not have any start or end dates, and you won’t have any tests or receive any certifications at the end of it, but you can gain invaluable skills by the end of the course. A few of their offered courses include “STEM Readiness” and Chemistry.  

Learn more: https://oli.cmu.edu/

Open Learning At Harvard

Through Harvard Extension School, motivated students have the chance to learn from the prestigious university. They offer free courses on a variety of subjects, including STEM courses such as Introduction to Game Development or Data Science Probability. The courses are all self-paced, and often do not require a big time commitment per week, making it easy for even a busy high school student to complete during the school year or summer.

Learn more: https://www.extension.harvard.edu/open-learning-initiative

Apple’s “Everyone Can Code”

Apple created “Everyone Can Code” because the company realized how essential coding is, and it wanted to give everyone an equal platform to learn. The tech giant created the app-development curriculum using the Swift programming language that is incredibly easy to use. Through the app, users have to solve puzzles to master code. As you advance, the puzzles become harder, allowing you to learn complex code in a fun way. The only caveat is students will have to use an iPhone or iPad to download Swift Playgrounds.

Learn more: https://www.apple.com/everyone-can-code/

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