The talk about the cost of college has been nerve-racking lately. By the time you pay off college loans going back to school to get your Master’s may seem crazy. If you want some classes or certifications to build your resume or if you just want to learn a new hobby or skill there are plenty options for free or cheap classes.
Check your public library.
Most libraries offer free computer classes. Learning a new computer program would look great on your resume. Speaking of resumes, libraries also offer resume building classes. Does your Library have a special department? You should look into classes or workshops there. For example, Baltimore City Public Library offers grant writing and other non-profit related workshops. Many of the seminars that organizations such as Fred Pryor offer for a few hundred dollars, your public library or a nearby one may offer for free. Libraries receive grants and donations to support their education programs.
Look on Craig’s list.
Craigslist.org is a non-profit community organizing website. The site is available for most medium to large size cities. Craig’s lists offers lists that are organized by date and searchable. One of the lists, under the Community tab, is classes. Many of the classes listed on craigslist.org are reasonably priced and all will be local to the city you select and easily searchable.
Audit a course.
Auditing a course means that you can attend all classes, listen to lectures, and participate in discussion but you can not submit assignments or receive a grade. Most institutions offer auditing for less than half the cost of tuition. The schools will even give you a certificate of attendance. Auditing is a good way to get knowledge for a discount but it can also be a great way to feel out an academic program. Before committing the time and money to getting a degree, audit a course and see if the school and program are for you.
Talk to your supervisor.
If the class or workshop you wish to attend will benefit your company that ask your company to pay for it. Don’t be afraid to ask because your gained skill will be of value to them. Even if your company does not pay for continued education, they may be able to pay for a workshop which is a lot more affordable. Many seminar companies also offer discounts if you go in a group so recruit some colleagues to join you.
Community groups, such as the YMCA, JCC, or even smaller neighborhood organizations would love for teacher volunteers. If you have a skill that you can teach a workshop on offer your expertise to these organizations and ask to attend workshops or classes they offer in exchange. Not only will you get to add the workshop you attend to your resume but you can add volunteer teacher as well.
Bottom line: Think creatively and don’t get discouraged. Education is in everyone’s reach.