Earn College Credit by Taking Free Online Classes

Student working at home
David Ellis/Aurora/Getty Images

It is possible to earn legitimate college credit by taking a free online class. The process isn’t always easy. But, if you’re willing to jump through a few hoops, you could complete a degree requirement by studying free online class materials. Here's how:

Choose a College That Permits Credit for Experience

In order for this to work, you need to be enrolled in a college that gives credit for some form of life experience. Ask your current college if they allow portfolio credit, independent study, or credit by exam. Alternatively, you could enroll in one of the big three flexible credit colleges. You may earn a regionally accredited degree from one of these programs, or you may transfer the credits you earn to a traditional college. Note that most colleges will still charge you a tuition fee for credit earned non-traditionally.

Select a Free Online Class With a Counselor

Talk to an academic adviser at your college to get help choosing a free online class. The counselor will help you select a class that fulfills your credit needs and help you understand what will be required to earn formal credit.

Follow Program Guidelines to Create a Portfolio or Complete Exams

Earning credit by taking a free online class will require you to submit portfolio work to your college, study alongside an instructor, or take a standardized exam to prove your learning. As you complete the free online class, stay on top of the requirements set by your college.

Transfer the Credits to Your Regular College

Once the free online class and additional college requirements are complete, you should be awarded a grade. If you are temporarily enrolled in one of the big three life experience colleges, you will need to transfer the earned credits to your traditional college.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Littlefield, Jamie. "Earn College Credit by Taking Free Online Classes." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, thoughtco.com/free-online-college-courses-for-credit-4025360. Littlefield, Jamie. (2020, August 25). Earn College Credit by Taking Free Online Classes. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/free-online-college-courses-for-credit-4025360 Littlefield, Jamie. "Earn College Credit by Taking Free Online Classes." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/free-online-college-courses-for-credit-4025360 (accessed May 30, 2023).