Over 3 million students enrolled in this free Yale class on how to be happier – here are 4 things I loved about it

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Yale Popular Happiness Course Science of Well Being 4x3

How do we live a meaningful life? For how often it’s asked, that question isn’t easy to answer.

Yale professor Laurie Santos aimed to do just that in 2018 when she launched “Psychology and the Good Life.” The course was designed to bust myths around what we think will make us happy (like the luxury Mercedes-Benz status symbol) while also providing a roadmap of science-backed habits to build a happy life.

The Science of Well-Being (medium)

Naturally, the course quickly became the university’s most popular class in its 319-year history. At one point, one in four Yale students were enrolled in it, and the university even had to pull fellows from its other schools to staff it.

Given its popularity, it was clear that this course could be useful beyond Yale’s campus. So, to increase accessibility, Santos created a free online version: “The Science of Well-Being.” Throughout 2020, a whopping 2.2 million people enrolled in the happiness course online as they stayed home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can take the course for free here, which takes an estimated 10 weeks (19 hours total) to complete. Or, keep reading for an overview of what to expect and a firsthand review of the online course.

What to expect from the class:

Screen Shot 2021 03 04 at 5.35.08 PM
The course intentionally feels warm, casual, and inviting. It was shot in Santos’ home with a handful of students.

The format:

  • Misconceptions about happiness
  • Why our expectations are so bad
  • How we can overcome our biases
  • Stuff that really makes us happy
  • Putting strategies into practice

Each section includes video lectures, optional readings, and “rewirement” activities to do each day to build happier habits. Research suggests that if you do these rewirements as prescribed, you should experience a boost in your mood and overall well-being. After completing the five weeks above, students should commit to practicing one rewirement exercise for at least a month.

My experience taking the course:

Screen Shot 2021 03 04 at 5.30.55 PM
Weekly “rewirement” activities help build habits that make us scientifically happier: savoring, practicing gratitude, meditating, and acts of kindness among them.

I should disclose that I enjoy online classes. In the character-strengths test that you’re invited to take at the course’s outset, “curiosity” was my most dominant trait out of the 20 possibilities.

But despite being a candidate of least resistance, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed a few weeks in the course. It felt immediately and concretely useful – most of the class legwork is completing daily “rewiring” tasks designed to build those research-backed happiness habits into your life even after the course ends.

Here’s what I liked about the course:

1. You can verify whether you’re actually getting happier.

In the beginning, you’re invited to respond to questionnaires that measure your baseline happiness. By the end of the course, you take them again to see whether your score increased. (Hopefully, your numbers rise!) To me, a before-and-after metric lent concreteness to a typically abstract topic.

Surprisingly, I found the baseline happiness survey helpful for an unexpected reason: I was feeling fatigued, and the questions it posed helped me locate an overlooked source of dissatisfaction – I was continually rating one part of my life much lower than the others. It became clear what was wrong, and within the first lecture, I was able to use the framework to see my life more clearly.

2. The online format is less pressure than an in-person class.

To make the class warm and inviting, the lectures are shot in Santos’ own home, with a handful of Yale students in the audience. It feels intimate – Santos’s tone is friendly and conversational, while still providing a great, in-depth exploration of the topic with an expert (most contemporary research was conceptualized and coined by Santos herself).

Plus, you can easily rewind and rewatch lectures without asking Santos to repeat herself. And there’s no pressure to ask or answer questions!

3. It doesn’t feel like extra work.

Santos’ lectures make for easy watching. Once I sat down to play a lecture, I wanted to continue. I never felt like I was forcing myself to complete a task – I was satisfying my curiosity.

More importantly, since so many of us are so busy (and ironically may benefit the most from this course), there’s absolutely no required reading or grade penalty for a missed assignment deadline – so you don’t need to stress about suggested deadlines if you can’t meet them. All the information you need to know is summarized within the lecture. If you want to dive deeper, Santos provides links to complementary readings.

In other words, this class is about well-being – and it aims to practice what it preaches.

4. The optional homework is actually fun.

While you can take the class at your own pace, you’re encouraged to implement the rewiring techniques on a weekly schedule. Research finds that improving your well-being takes daily, intentional effort over long periods – meaning this 10-week class is a great opportunity!

In a follow-up interview that I conducted with Professor Santos to discuss happiness in quarantine, this point – the importance of building these habits every day – remained paramount.

The Science of Well-Being (medium)

Is it worth it to get a certificate?

Maybe, but most likely not. You’ll have access to all the course materials and forums for this class without paying. But, if you want a certificate of completion or graded homework assignments, you can pay $49. You can also always upgrade any time during the course or afterward, so it’s probably worth it to test it out for free before committing to payment.

If you want but can’t afford the $49 certificate, apply for the course’s financial aid. Click on the “financial aid” link beneath the “enroll” button on the left. You’ll be prompted to complete an application and will be notified if you’re approved; applications take at least 15 days to be reviewed.

More online classes:

Read the original article on Business Insider

Over 2.2 million students enrolled in this free Yale class on how to be happier – here’s what it’s actually like to take

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Yale Popular Happiness Course Science of Well Being 4x3
  • Yale’s most popular class in history teaches you how to become happier using science.
  • Through Coursera, Professor Laurie Santos created a free version of the course, The Science of Well-Being. It blew up in popularity during the pandemic.
  • I enrolled and was surprised by how helpful and fun it was. It made an abstract topic feel concrete and useful in everyday life. 

The Science of Well-Being (medium)

How do we live a more meaningful? Answering this abstract life question in a tangible, actionable way can be tough.

But Yale professor Laurie Santos aimed to do just that, and in the spring of 2018, she unwittingly launched “Psychology and the Good Life,” the most popular class in Yale’s 319-year history. Eventually, one in four Yale students were reportedly enrolled, with the university even pulling fellows from the School of Public Health and its Law School to help staff it.

Santos designed the course to bust myths about what makes us happy (like the luxury Mercedes-Benz status symbol) and replace them with research-backed habits for building a happy life. In doing this, Santos gave students what many of us never stop craving: direction towards a more fulfilled life, and the reassurance that our path towards happiness won’t lead us astray. 

Yale’s campus was primed for Santos’ course. “Psychology and the Good Life” debuted in the US – home to supposedly only the 18th-happiest population in the world, according to the 2020 World Happiness Report – and at one of the nation’s most high-pressure colleges

Given its popularity, it was soon clear that this course could be relevant to those outside an Ivy League campus. To increase accessibility to the materials, Santos created a free online version of the same principles: “The Science of Well-Being.” And in 2020, the world was primed for it. During the isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, a whopping 2.2 million people enrolled in the course online.

You can take the course for $0 here, which takes an estimated 10 weeks (19 hours total) to complete. Or, keep reading for an overview of what to expect and a firsthand review of the online course. 

What to expect from the class:

Screen Shot 2021 03 04 at 5.35.08 PM
The course intentionally feels warm, casual, and inviting. It was shot in Santos’ home with a handful of students.

The format: 

  • Misconceptions about happiness
  • Why our expectations are so bad
  • How we can overcome our biases
  • Stuff that really makes us happy
  • Putting strategies into practice

Each section includes video lectures, optional readings, and “rewirement” activities to do each day to build happier habits. Research suggests that if you do these rewirements as prescribed, you should get a boost in your mood and overall well-being. After completing the five weeks above, students should commit to practicing one rewirement exercise for at least a month. 

What the course is like:

To make the class warm and inviting, the lectures are shot in Santos’ own home, with a handful of Yale students in the audience. It feels intimate, and Santos’s tone is friendly and conversational. And, because some of the most contemporary research was conceptualized and coined by Santos herself, it feels like what it is: a great, in-depth exploration of the topic with an expert.

Thankfully, for the busiest among us (who ironically may benefit the most from this course), there’s absolutely no required reading or grade penalty for a missed assignment deadline – so you don’t need to stress about suggested deadlines if you can’t meet them. All the information you need to know is summarized within the lecture. If you want to dive deeper, Santos provides links to complementary readings. 

In other words, this class is about well-being – and it aims to practice what it preaches. You can sign up here for free, or keep reading to learn about my experience.

My experience taking the class:

Screen Shot 2021 03 04 at 5.30.55 PM
Weekly “rewirement” activities help build habits that make us scientifically happier: savoring, practicing gratitude, meditating, and acts of kindness among them.

I should disclose that I enjoy online classes. In the character-strengths test that you’re invited to take at the course’s outset, “curiosity” was my most dominant trait out of the 20 possibilities.

But despite being a candidate of least resistance, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed a few weeks in the course. It felt immediately and concretely useful – most of the class legwork is completing daily “rewiring” tasks designed to build those research-backed happiness habits into your life even after the course ends.

Here’s what I liked:

  1. You can verify whether you’re actually getting happier. In the beginning, you’re invited to respond to questionnaires that measure your baseline happiness. By the end of the course, you take them again to see whether your score increased. (Hopefully, your numbers rise!) To me, a before-and-after metric lent concreteness to a typically abstract topic.
  2. There are unexpected benefits. Surprisingly, I found the baseline happiness survey helpful for an unexpected reason: I was feeling fatigued, and the questions it posed helped me locate an overlooked source of dissatisfaction – I was continually rating one part of my life much lower than the others. It became clear what was wrong, and within the first lecture, I was able to use the framework to see my life more clearly. 
  3. The online format is low-pressure. You can easily rewind and rewatch lectures without asking Santos to repeat herself. Plus, there’s no pressure to ask or answer questions!
  4. It doesn’t feel like homework. Santos’ lectures make for easy watching. Once I sat down to play a lecture, I wanted to continue. I never felt like I was forcing myself to complete a task – I was satisfying my curiosity.

The only thing to note is that, while you can take the class at your own pace, you’re encouraged to implement the rewiring techniques on a weekly schedule. Research finds that improving your well-being takes daily, intentional effort over long periods – meaning this 10-week class is a great opportunity.

In a follow-up interview that I conducted with Professor Santos to discuss happiness in quarantine, this point – the importance of building these habits every day – remained paramount. 

Should you get a certificate? What does it include?

Maybe, but most likely not. You’ll have access to all the course materials and forums for this class without paying. But, if you want a certificate of completion or graded homework assignments, you can pay $49. You can also always upgrade any time during the course or afterward, so it’s probably worth it to test it out for free before committing to payment. 

If you can’t afford the $49, apply for the course’s financial aid. Click on the “financial aid” link beneath the “enroll” button on the left. You’ll be prompted to complete an application and will be notified if you’re approved; applications take at least 15 days to be reviewed.

The Science of Well-Being (medium)

More online classes:

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to get into 4 of the best law schools in the US, according to consultants, admissions officers, and students

student loan forbearance
Applicants should have a clear vision on why they want to be a lawyer and be able to communicate that.

  • Yale, Columbia, UChicago, and Harvard are some of the most prestigious law schools in the world.
  • Each school values high test scores, letters of recommendation, and an honest personal statement.
  • Insider regularly interviews experts on how to get into your ideal law program. You can read it all by subscribing to Insider.

Attending law school is time-consuming and expensive, but if you end up in the right program, it could lead to a fulfilling and successful career.

For example, according to Yale Law School’s website, over 13,000 YLS alumni are leaders in their organizations – and a decade after graduating they almost unanimously express job satisfaction.

But to get into a top school, you’ll need more than just high test scores. Here are some tips and best strategies on how to get accepted into one of the best law schools in the country, according to people who’ve done it. 

Yale Law School

Yale Law School is the No. 1 law school in the US, according to US News & World Report, while the 2023 acceptance rate was a slim 7.3%.

Yale places high emphasis on obtaining letters of recommendation from professors who know you well and can personally evaluate aspects of your academic work. Something unique about the YLS admissions process is their faculty is heavily involved in selecting each class, so they might especially value strong academic letters. 

Read more: How to get into Yale Law School, the No. 1 program in the US

Columbia Law School

Columbia Law School is currently recognized as the fourth best law school in the US, trailing only Yale, Stanford, and Harvard (and tied with the University of Chicago). Of the more than 7,000 students who applied for the class of 2020, only about 16% were accepted.

Applicants to Columbia Law should pay extra attention to their personal statements. Use this as an opportunity to reveal who you really are and what you’re passionate about. Having strong reasons to be in New York City helps as well since it’s an integral part of the school, Timothy Knox, a law school admissions counselor, told Insider. 

Read more: Admissions consultants and recent graduates of Columbia Law share what it takes to get into the top 5 law school

UChicago Law School

UChicago Law School consistently ranks among the most prestigious graduate law programs in the world, with an acceptance rate of 18%. Unlike some of the other top schools, UChicago Law has an especially small class size, at just over 600 full-time students. (Columbia, which shares its No. 4 ranking, has double the number.)

The community prioritizes close faculty engagement and “the life of the mind.” Once you’ve taken your LSAT and applied, prepare for your interview by nailing your answer to the question, “Why UChicago?”

Read more: UChicago Law students and a dean of admissions explain how to nail your interview and personal statement to land a spot at the elite law school

Harvard Law School

In 2018, Harvard Law School – currently third in the rankings – offered admission to just 12% of applicants. In 2019, it made the shift to rounds of admission.

Per law school admissions coaching consultant Anna Ivey, “HLS admissions officers are very conscientious about recruiting minorities of various kinds: They want a diversity of people and geographic areas,” including veterans and older applicants. This means there’s no standard profile for an HLS student. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t fit what you think to be their ideal type of candidate.

Read more: How to get into Harvard Law School, according to the chief admissions officer, students, and admissions consultants

Read the original article on Business Insider