I need to find classes I can take as a non-matriculating student in the Chicago area, ASAP
January 5, 2007 1:55 PM   Subscribe

I'm taking the sememster off (see my last question) to work out some personal issues, including ADD/LD. I really need to know which schools will let me take classes as a non-matriculating student, so I can work on my study skills, executive functioning, what have you, with a learning specialist.

I'm interested in pretty much everything besides math, but I'm especially interested in film, literature, and language. It's important to me that whereever I go, I be reasonably academically challenged (if I coast through a class, it really won't do me any good). Getting transferable credits would be fantastic, but is not a necessity. I'm also not too worried about cost, since it'll be hard for one or two classes I take here to cost more that 20ish thousand dollars my old school would have cost for this semester.
I live on the south side, but I'm fine with a long commute so long as it's in the Chicago area and I won't need a car.

I know it's late to be getting on top of this, but well, if I was the sort to start early, I wouldn't really have most of the problems that led me here anyway.

PS. Of course, general advice about doing this sort of thing is also welcome.
posted by njb to Education (6 answers total)
You can probably still register -- here in NYC, classes like that don't start till next week. What you want to do is go to the websites of colleges/universities/community colleges that you have heard of in Chicago. From the main websites, there will usually be a section called "Continuing Education". Sometimes it's at the top level of the site, sometimes it's within the category "Academics." There you'll find a whole listing of classes that are college level and style, but that you can register for without matriculating.
posted by xo at 2:51 PM on January 5, 2007

Some universities allow you to register for any class as a "special" student.

A friend of mine spent a couple of semesters at Roosevelt and I think he liked it fairly well. You might try talking to an advisor there.
posted by sulaine at 2:55 PM on January 5, 2007

This is exactly what community colleges exist for.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 3:15 PM on January 5, 2007

There's some school created for this exact thing in Vermont. Im not sure of its name but a simple search for LDs and Vermont could help.
posted by Meemer at 10:20 PM on January 5, 2007

When I took time off (in Massachusetts, not Illinois), I took classes at one of the state universities (UMass Boston) as a non-student. You'll be registering for individual classes, rather than taking part in a degree program. There are probably similar options in Illinois state universities and community colleges - check the webpages of any ones that are within commuting distance! You'll pay for the class, along with a registration fee; there may be other fees as well, but you'll still probably be paying a few thousand dollars for the term, at most.

If you want transfer credit, check in advance to see what your [real] university accepts. Talk to whoever deals with transfer credits or readmission. Continuing Ed classes may not be acceptable, for example [in some programs these courses aren't taught by the professors who teach the normal classes.] The more challenging the school, the more luck you're likely to have with getting credits.

Personally: When I took time off, I took a combination of classes related to my major (science) and classes that were totally unrelated (art.) I wanted to show that I could handle the subject matter, but I didn't want to end up pressuring myself and screwing up the same way I had at my university. As a result, I took art classes - which would help me work on scheduling/etc., but which would be more fun than demanding - along with the more academic stuff. You might want to consider a similar mix: one or two interesting but serious classes, one or two classes that are mostly just fun.
posted by ubersturm at 11:38 PM on January 5, 2007

njb, I'm a little confused by your question. You say you want to be a "non-matriculating student" yet you're interested in transferable courses (in other words courses you could put toward your degree?)

If you just want to audit courses then most colleges and universities will work something out with you - however if you go that route you won't be earning any credits and personally I think there would be very little incentive to show up and do the course work. You may come out better just registering as a normal student.

In Chicago you have a few options but time is running out for the spring semester - you've got to hurry! Basically you've got to start making phone calls today, pick a school within a day or two and be registered by the end of the week (although most schools have late registration.)

You can check out the city colleges. They are two year institutions and their credits will transfer to just about any other school - particularly Chicago area schools like DePaul, Roosevelt, UIC, and Columbia. The Harold Washington College has completely been remodeled in the last year and looks pretty fancy - it's in the loop, so it may be the easiest commute depending upon where you're coming from. The CCC are also very inexpensive - which is good if you think there is a chance you may not be able to stick with it.

The University of Illinois at Chicago also has pretty open admission so you may want to check them out.

Much of what you want to do depends on if you already have transferable credits or whatever. Again, I just can't see wasting the time or the money on a class for which you won't receive any credit toward your degree.

It's important to me that whereever I go, I be reasonably academically challenged (if I coast through a class, it really won't do me any good).

Given the issues you describe you should keep in mind that the stress from difficult classes may amplify your problems. I'd take some reasonably easy, yet interesting classes that would fulfill general education requirements for your future degree. No need going over board while you're still trying to get your head straight.
posted by wfrgms at 10:49 AM on January 8, 2007

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