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The Savvy Applicant

A College Admissions Blog

The Best Deal in Education

Posted: 5/16/2015 12:00 AM by Benjamin Caldarelli | with 0 Comments

Filed under: College Courses


The Best Deal in EducationGoing to college is expensive. It is so expensive that many are beginning to question its worth through a cost/benefit analysis.  Of course, there needs to be a distinction made between education, which few question as a universal good, and four or more years away at a college.
 
Many of you may remember the scene from the film, Good Will Hunting, where the autodidact Will (played by Matt Damon) outshines his Harvard educated interlocutor in a barroom debate of sorts.  In the scene, Will points out the fact that he can get the same education for the price of a library card, Free! 
 
Most of you reading this blog, however, are not trying to decide whether to go to college, but rather seeking advice on how to get in to a great one. Maybe you’re even looking for a great deal. I would argue that whether you are college bound or not, education is a process of life-long learning that can be had or enhanced for not much more than the price of the proverbial library card. For those of you who are looking for a leg up on the competition to the most selective colleges and universities, there is nothing more impressive than an individual who loves to learn, desires to learn so much that it is obvious he or she is not padding a resume, but pursuing a passion.
 
This is the platonic Eros, and the best way to show that you possess it is to investigate a subject in more depth and for a more sustained amount of time than is required for an A in a course. So besides checking out from the library all the books that interest you, or camping out in your local booksellers coffee shop, what can you do?
 
Try an edX course
 
Participating in Pre-College programs during the summer is a popular option to pursue an interest. The best programs can be great, but to college admission committees it can sometimes demonstrate an ability to pay a steep tuition as much anything else.   A low cost, or in some cases, no cost option is an open source course on-line. edX offers the opportunity take real courses from Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley and more. This can give you a leg up in the college admission process and help you stand out from a crowd of college applicants
 
One of the best and most popular of these is Harvard University’s Moral Reasoning 22, more commonly known simply as JUSTICE. This is not only one of the most popular courses on-line, but for the past two decades, one of the most popular courses on campus. Anyone interested in it or the multitude of other options in every subject area can browse the course catalog here.
 
Any course you choose will give you an introduction to college level work in a subject you are curious about and provide a great foundation for further reading, research and / or action which can really impresses admissions officers. Remember that it is not only about what program or course you attended; it is about what you do as a result. Discussing the impact of the experience on your life in an application essay or interview will signal that you are intellectually ambitious and the kind of person that will be valuable to campus life and beyond.