The best way to get a college-level education is by studying what people study in college, plain and simple. It doesn’t matter where the information is coming from. The accreditation bureaus are the gatekeepers. The prices of colleges and universities have surpassed their actual values. It’s now entirely supply and demand. Inflation is rampant for a product that doesn’t mean much anymore. Unless you’re getting a STEM degree, you might as well accept that things are going to be hard.
Books Assigned To Enrolled Students
These can be books in syllabi or you can take a gander at lists of books most commonly assigned in college classrooms here and here. In terms of general education, these are some great places to start. The cheapest books that college people read are fiction. STEM books cost a kidney.
Free Online Learning Organizations
Khan Academy, Coursera, Open Culture, and Wi Phi (wireless philosophy) are all good places to start. You want a base-level, general education that’s similar to what they’re getting at Fancypants U. These types of websites will help you get up to snuff on the stuff that everybody should know after two years. What’s nice about this is that you can go at your own pace.
Free Online Lecturers
These can include things like 3Blue1Brown (math), CrashCourse (everything), The School of Life (philosophy), to more specific things like Calling Bullshit: Data Reasoning in a Digital World (syllabus and videos).
Old Compendia & Free Online Books
These are series like The Harvard Classics, Gateway to the Great Books, and The Feynman Lectures on Physics. Classics like those published from Harvard purport to give the autodidact a liberal education. Many of the books listed in these are free on websites like Project Gutenburg and Internet Archive.
Having a library card can save you a lot of time and money. The first place to start is by checking out the books on the subject that you want to learn about. You like math? There’re a lot of math workbooks in your local library. Libraries don’t just have books either. You can access the internet, print things out, listen to music, watch videos, and access old tomes.
The best resource: the librarian. They know more than you about what you can find. Sometimes, you’ll find a genuinely knowledgable individual behind that counter.
Podcasts on finances, science, grammar, history, politics, biographies, economics, self-help, etc. There are hours upon hours of learning opportunities. There are too many to list. It all depends on what you see as important.
Grammar would be a good one for people who didn’t take it in high school. It’s almost like cursive. Grammar Girl is an awesome resource that I always reference whenever I have a grammar question.
A great way to learn about political science is to dive straight into it. This is also a lesson in researching information. Two good resources on the trustworthiness of a newspaper are Media Bias/Fact Check and Media Bias Chart. This includes learning about cognitive biases and informal fallacies.
Free Lectures At A College
Oftentimes, you’ll be able to go and listen to an author or researcher give a lecture. It might not be the education you want, but it can sometimes be an enlightening experience to hear someone else’s perspective. It can be refreshing just being in front of someone with unparalleled charisma.
Eliminating The Mumpsimus
This is a big one. Wikipedia has a list of common misconceptions that’s a fun read. This can include letting go of unfounded beliefs and prejudices. YouTube channels like The Atheist Experience and CosmicSkeptic are good places to start. Debates with Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris against people like William Lane Craig and Frank Turek are also great places to begin.