In 2014 I took the course "Valuing Business and Investment Opportunities" in Stanford Continuing Studies (part of Stanford University). It was a great experience because I was able to learn about investment and furthermore this allowed me to make long-lasting friendships with my classmates as well as Master students. Overall I had a fulfilling experience that opened me the doors for future opportunities. Let me share with you the variety of courses that you can take in Stanford Continuing Studies, my experience as a student in a top university, how is life in Stanford and in San Francisco, the application process and how to participate in other study programs around the world.
1. Stanford Continuing Studies
a. The Program
The courses are targeted to adult students, attracting more than 16,000 students per year and intended to facilitate the assistance to those students who can't easily make it to campus by offering the classes during the evening or on Saturdays and also offering online courses. Since the program started in 1988, adult students from several disciplines as business people, artists, journalists, and academics have joined the courses.
b. Areas of study
- Liberal arts and sciences: Art History, Art Studio: Drawing & Painting, Art Studio: Film & Video, Art Studio: Photography, Classics, Cultural Studies, Current Events, Design, Film Studies, History, Languages, Law, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Religious Studies, Science, Stanford Saturday University, and Theater & Performance Studies.
- Creative writing: Online Creative Writing, Creative Writing Retreat, and On-Campus Creative Writing
- Professional and personal development: Business, Communication, Personal Development, and Technology & Computer Science.
The courses are offered during Fall, Spring, Winter and Summer varying from season to season. The advantage is that their duration also varies so you can search for a course that suits your availability. Their durations are the following:
- 1 - 5 Weeks
- 6 - 10 Weeks
- 1 - 4 Day workshops
The description of the courses above could change so I recommend you to go to the following link to see the updated list of courses: continuingstudies.stanford.edu/courses/courses-overview
Besides the courses, Stanford Continuing Studies also offers approximately 40 special events each year, ranging from small informal readings and lectures to performances, symposia, and conferences, being free the majority. You could see the list of events here: continuingstudies.stanford.edu/events/calendar
e. Official Transcript
After completing the course you will be able to request an official transcript.
f. Tuition fee
The advantage of these courses is that they are affordable ranging from $200 to $ 600USD . You have to consider that sometimes you'll also be required to buy the course's books if they are requested.
The courses' objective is professional development or personal enrichment so the only condition is to hold a high school diploma or its equivalent. International students do NOT need an F-1 visa.
2. My experience as a student
I took the course "Valuing Business and Investment Opportunities" which was a great asset to my career as an Actuary. It helped me complement the financial side of my degree and get a higher business sense. The objectives of the course were the following:
- Get an introduction to a range of concepts and tools for estimating the value of assets, business ideas, and investment opportunities.
- Appreciate challenges that businesses and individual investors face, in attempting to capture economic value.
- Become more efficient in utilizing spreadsheet programs as a primary valuation tool.
3. Life in Stanford and in San Francisco
As my course was held during the weekends, I was living in San Francisco and going the weekends to class. Additionally, I was able to visit Lake Tahoe, which is one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited.
*Transportation: if you are thinking in staying in San Francisco or San Jose, Caltrain is the most convenient option. The following are the costs and duration of a one-way trip:
- San Francisco: costs about $7.25 and takes approximately one hour
- San Jose: costs about $5.25 and takes approximately 40 minutes
Another advantage is that Stanford University offers The Stanford Marguerite Shuttle, the University’s free shuttle bus, which operates several routes, most of them from the Caltrain Station to multiple campus locations.
I was very lucky because one of my friends from my University in Mexico was studying his Master's degree, so he showed me how was the student life, introduced me to other students and for example we went to see the end of the Soccer World Cup and celebrated with the German students. But, don't worry if you don't have a friend currently studying in Stanford, you should know that the majority of the students are friendly and willing to help you. You are going to meet several persons in class but they should be young professionals so you only need to go to the cafeteria or to any of the multiple university events and for sure you're gonna meet someone who could show you around.
b. San Francisco
San Fran is an amazing beautiful city with a broad list of activities that you can do. I went to a theater play, had delicious food in several restaurants, assisted to the cinema, and to a festival downtown.
c. Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is around 4 hours away from San Francisco by car, but the trip is completely worth. It is a major tourist attraction in both Nevada and California, offering clear beautiful water and a stunning panorama with surrounding mountains on all sides. I spent a great day swimming with my friends, taking the sun and attending the Wanderlust Festival.
4. Application Process
The registration is very easy and the whole process is online, just access the following website and follow the steps: continuingstudies.stanford.edu/registration-policies/how-to-register
Don't miss your chance of living a life-changing experience with long-lasting friendships from all around the world!
5. How to participate in other study programs around the world
If you want to know more about other opportunities to study abroad you can read the post How to find scholarships to study abroad to know in which websites you will find databases containing scholarships, grants and fellowships.
You can also read the posts How to win the Ernst Mach Grant for a semester or year abroad in Austria and How to participate in the summer academy Waves of Democracy in Denmark to learn about my experience and the application process.