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6 Free Online Learning Resources for High Schoolers

Quarentine has been a great time to learn new things, and with modern technology, there are so many resources online to help students who have been impacted by the pandemic continue their education. It’s also a great way to brush up on your learning during summer for free by taking courses from top universities and organizations around the world as an extracurricular activity to do during summer. Here are some of my favorite free online resources that I’ve used during quarantine!

Disclaimer: I am not sponsored or affiliated with any of the resources mentioned.

1. Coursera

Coursera provides open online courses from some of the most prestigious universities around the world, such as Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, and University of Edinburgh just to name a few. So far I’m taking eight courses including Introduction to the Biology of Cancer from Johns Hopkins University, and I’ve finished three courses including Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us from the University of Pennsylvania. There are just so many courses to choose from, and I’m enjoying all of them! I wrote an in-depth review of Coursera including my favorite courses (including great courses for high school students!) on biomedical science that anyone can take, and you can check that out here!

Cost: Coursera offers a Course Certificate for $49, although if you don’t need the certificate, some courses have an Audit option, where you can access all course material for free. Financial Aid is also available. Currently, there is a promotion where college students with a registered school email can take an unlimited amount of courses for free until two months after the date of enrollment as long as you sign up for the course before September 30, 2020.

2. Khan Academy

Khan Academy has a wide variety of classes for all students, especially K-12. Test prep, such as SAT Prep, is also available on the site. I’ve been enjoying the Health & Medicine section, while also brushing up my math skills with the Algebra 2 section. Sadly, Health & Medicine will be retired on July 15, 2020, although High School Biology will still be available. I’ve found that you can still watch the videos if you have the link to Health & Medicine, so here is the link! However, they will no longer be updating or maintaining the Health & Medicine section. There is also a great unit on biotechnology within the course High School Biology and Biology Library, which has many useful resources for biology.

Cost: Free! Khan Academy is a non-profit dedicated to providing free education for all.

3. Codecademy

Coding is a skill that has been in high demand, and while there are many other websites that teach code, such as and Scratch, I believe that Codecademy is a great resource for older students that are ready for text-based code. I’m currently taking Learn Javascript, although they teach many different code languages including Python, Java, and C++. They also teach Data Science, which is important in Health Informatics. Learning to code is a great activity that STEM students can do, especially since it’s a very relevant skill to have today!

Cost: Their Basic plan is free, and you can take basic courses. They also have a Pro option, where you can practice job-ready skills, and it costs $19.99.

4. Student-run Educational Programs

Many incredible student leaders have created their own programs to teach other students, through tutoring or lectures. I’ve attended a couple, including the Harvard Vision Global Health Conference and the Wave Learning Festival. The Harvard Vision Global Health Conference was an amazing experience, I got to meet so many like-minded individuals from around the world! Wave Learning Festival hosts many different classes in “waves” taught by students from universities like Harvard and Stanford. There are many more, but these are just the ones I’ve attended. Since attending the Harvard Vision Global Health Conference two years in a row, I decided to write a review of my experience, which you can read here!

Cost: It depends, but both of these programs are free!


5. YouTube

Yes, there are a lot of educational resources on YouTube. Some of my favorite channels include TED-Ed, CrashCourse, AsapSCIENCE, Kurzgesagt – In A Nutshell, Lindsay Holiday, and The Thought Emporium. They provide a lot of quality information and answer crazy science questions! Also, TED Talks are really interesting to watch, and the TED-Ed animations are adorable. I wrote a post about my favorite YouTube channels for high school students and science enthusiasts, so check out that list here!

Cost: Free! Some YouTubers have Patreons for extra material, but most videos are free.

These are some of the courses available on Harvard University’s online learning website!

6. College-specific Online Courses

Many universities, such as Stanford, Harvard, Rice, and MIT have their own courses available online for free! Stanford has a program called Stanford Online that features the Stanford Center for Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses, which are usually geared towards medical professionals to update their knowledge. However, I’ve taken a couple of these CME courses, and I think it’s worth a try to challenge yourself! In addition, Harvard University has a wide variety of online courses from medicine to religion to programming. Rice University also has an online learning courses, including a partnership with Coursera called Coursera for Rice. Most of these courses are designed for students of Rice University, but I’m currently taking a course called Fundamentals of Immunology: Innate Immunity and B-Cell Function, and it’s fascinating! Finally, we have MIT OpenCourseWare, which provides the course materials, readings, and more for an incredible number of courses in various subjects. Personally, I’m excited for these courses because of the cool classes they offer, such as Stem Cells: A Cure or Disease?, The Biology of Aging: Age-Related Diseases and Interventions, and more!

Cost: Most of these are free! Some courses from Harvard University have a fee that varies from around $30 to over $2,900, but you can find many other amazing courses for free. Coursera for Rice also charges $49 for a course certificate, but Rice University students can take the course for free or apply for financial aid. MIT OpenCourseWare is also free, and there’s no registration or deadlines involved, so you can try out as many courses as you want!

In conclusion, there are so many resources to continue your education through quarentine! Here are just some of the ones that I’ve tried that I would recommend. It’s always a great time to learn new things, so I’m encouraging you to try an online educational platform and learn a new skill this summer!

Want to learn the best study strategies for high school? Check out this post!

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