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10 Online Learning Resources for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Asian beautiful woman thinking idea with laptop computer in coffee shop

10 Online Learning Resources for High School Students

If you are a high school student preparing for your getting into college, it is highly likely that you have experienced the struggles that come with choosing a college and preparing for the admissions process. It requires plenty of preparation and resources. Luckily, a wealth of resources is available at your fingertips, making college preparation less daunting and more manageable.  This blog is your guide to ten online learning resources for high school students that can help streamline your college preparation process.

What are best the resources available for online learning?

1. Brown Pre-College Online Courses

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: $3,094 – $5,314
  • Duration: 1 to 6 weeks
  • Eligibility: High school students

Brown University’s Pre-College Online Courses offer high school students a unique opportunity to experience college-level learning in a virtual environment. Catering to students completing grades 9 to 12, and aged 14 to 18, these courses are designed to provide immersion in various academic fields, mirroring the richness of Brown’s undergraduate curriculum.

The courses range from one to six weeks and are offered in various formats: asynchronous, mostly asynchronous, or blended, catering to different learning styles and schedules. This flexible structure allows students to manage their time effectively, balancing different academic pursuits with other responsibilities. The program offers an extensive selection of over 100 courses, covering diverse areas such as environmental studies, medicine, leadership, law, psychology, mathematics, creative writing, history, and more. This variety ensures that you can find a course that aligns with your interests or introduces you to new disciplines.

View of a female student working in front of her computer.

Top Brown pre-college online courses:

  • Biological and the Natural Sciences
  • Business, Economics, and Legal Studies
  • Literature, Writing, and Communications
  • Medical and Health Studies
  • Physical Sciences and Math

2. Cornell Online Courses

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: $1,750 per credit hour
  • Duration: Self-paced
  • Eligibility: Undergraduates, high school students, professionals, alumni, and other interested adults

Cornell University offers an intensive and flexible online learning experience, allowing you to engage with its world-class faculty and curriculum from anywhere in the world. You have the opportunity to enroll in various online courses across different academic sessions, including winter, spring, and summer, each offering a unique set of courses and experiences.

For the Spring 2024 semester, running from January 22 to May 18, there is an undergraduate course available to precollege students: BIOEE 1781, an introduction to evolution and diversity. This course, like others offered, is part of Cornell’s commitment to providing high-quality online education to a diverse range of students, including high school students​​.

Top Cornell online courses for high school students:

  • Leadership Essentials
  • Cybersecurity
  • Business Management Essentials
  • Mechatronics
  • Social Media Marketing

3. Open Yale Courses

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: Free
  • Duration: Self-paced
  • Eligibility: No eligibility criteria

One of the best free online learning resources for high school students, Open Yale Courses (OYC) offers you an opportunity to access a selection of introductory courses from Yale University, completely free of charge. This initiative is designed to broaden educational access for everyone interested in learning. The courses are taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale and cover a wide range of liberal arts disciplines, including humanities, social sciences, and physical and biological sciences.

You don’t need to register to access these courses, and while they don’t offer course credit, a degree, or a certificate through the OYC website, they provide resources for self-directed and life-long learners, educators, as well as high school and college students. The courses are available in various formats, including high-quality video lectures, audio versions, and searchable transcripts, allowing you to learn in the way that suits you best.

Top Open Yale courses for high school students:

  • ENGL 300 – Introduction to Theory of Literature
  • EEB 122 – Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior
  • ECON 159 – Game Theory
  • PHYS 200 – Fundamentals of Physics
  • PSYC 110 – Introduction to Psychology

4. Stanford Online High School

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: $5,970 – $29,850
  • Duration: Operates as a six-year school
  • Eligibility: Grades 7-12

The curriculum at Stanford Online High School (OHS) is notably challenging, ranging from advanced middle-school classes to 32 post-AP and university-level courses, designed to challenge and engage students at every academic level.

Key to the Stanford OHS experience is the quality of instruction. About 65% of instructors hold Ph.D.’s in their respective fields, providing you with an opportunity to learn from and work closely with experienced educators. This is complemented by an individualized student support system that includes wellness counselors, academic advisors, and college counselors, all dedicated to helping you reach your full academic potential.

Top Stanford Online High School Courses:

  • Leadership Course Series (OL010)
  • Portrait Drawing (OPD10)
  • Chinese – Foundations (OCH11)
  • Intermediate Algebra (OM012)
  • Advanced Problem Solving and Proof Techniques (OM050)

5. MIT Opencourseware

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: Free
  • Duration: Self-paced
  • Eligibility: No eligibility criteria

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is an initiative by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offering you free and open access to a vast collection of courses across every department and degree program at MIT. This digital platform includes over 7,000 lectures straight from MIT classrooms, which you can watch on the OCW YouTube channel. It’s a free and open publication of materials from more than 2,500 MIT courses, covering the entirety of the MIT curriculum. Whether you’re interested in engineering, humanities, or the sciences, there’s something for you.

A woman studying

What makes OCW unique is not just its comprehensive coverage but also its commitment to making high-quality educational materials universally accessible. With the recent launch of its next-generation platform, OCW has become even more user-friendly, especially for mobile users. This update means that no matter where you are, you can access MIT’s world-class content on your phone, opening up new learning opportunities.

Top MIT Opencourseware courses

  • Introduction to Computers and Engineering Problem Solving
  • Engineering Mechanics I
  • Writing About Literature
  • Psychology and Economics
  • Fundamentals of Music

6. Class Central

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: Free
  • Duration: Self-paced
  • Eligibility: No eligibility criteria

Class Central stands as a comprehensive online education platform where you can find a wide array of courses from various universities and institutions. It serves as a catalog that allows you to browse and enroll in massive open online courses (MOOCs) offered by top-tier educational platforms like edX, Udacity, and FutureLearn. Class Central specializes in bringing together courses from different providers, making it easier for you to access a diverse range of learning opportunities in one place.

The platform caters to a global audience, offering courses in various disciplines, including technology, arts, and science. It’s known for its user-friendly interface, which helps you easily find courses that fit your interests and schedule. Class Central also keeps pace with the evolving online education landscape, regularly updating its offerings to include the latest courses and learning paths.

7. Udacity

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: $249 per month
  • Duration: Self-paced
  • Eligibility: No eligibility criteria

Another one of the online learning resources for high school students, Udacity, is a cutting-edge online learning platform that specializes in providing Nanodegree programs, a term they use for their unique, compact courses. These programs are created to equip you with the skills needed for future careers, particularly in technology and business.

a female student understanding how to start a college application essay

Known for collaborating with industry leaders like Google and Microsoft, Udacity ensures that the content of its courses aligns with the current demands of the job market. The platform offers an extensive range of Nanodegree programs in various fields such as programming, data science, artificial intelligence, and more, enabling you to gain practical skills and advance your career. What sets Udacity apart is its focus on quality and real-world applicability. The courses, co-created with leading tech companies, are project-based, offering hands-on experience in dealing with real-world scenarios.

Top Udacity courses for high school students:

  • Learn to Code
  • Business Analytics
  • Programming for Data Science with Python
  • Artificial Intelligence for Robotics
  • Become a Product Manager

8. Coursera

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: $399 per user/year
  • Duration: less than 12 months
  • Eligibility: No eligibility criteria

Coursera continues to be a prominent player in the online education space. It collaborates with leading universities and companies to offer courses, specializations, and degree programs. The platform’s content is known for its quality, thanks to its partnership with institutions like Stanford and Duke University, as well as industry giants like Google and IBM.

This collaboration ensures that the courses are not only informative but also relevant to current industry standards. Each course typically spans 4-6 weeks and includes several hours of video lessons weekly, along with graded assessments, quizzes, and forum participation. Specializations, which are grouped courses, can vary in length from 4-6 months to a year. Degree programs, created in partnership with top universities, usually require 1-3 years of study​​.

Smiling african-american student girl sitting on stairs working on laptop

Coursera’s educational offerings are segmented into three business areas: Consumer, Enterprise, and Degrees. The Consumer segment focuses on individual learners with courses, guided projects, and specializations. The Enterprise segment provides professional certificates in various fields such as data science, technology, and business. Finally, the Degrees segment offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, and postgraduate programs in data science, public health, management, computer science, and more.

Top Coursera courses for high school students:

  • Algorithms, Part I by Princeton University
  • Introduction to Philosophy by the University of Edinburgh
  • Applying to U.S. Universities by the University of Pennsylvania
  • Calculus: Single Variable Part 1 – Functions by the University of Pennsylvania
  • Computer Science: Algorithms, Theory, and Machines by Princeton University

9. Udemy

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: start at $35/month (additional courses may cost extra)
  • Duration: mostly at your own pace
  • Eligibility: No eligibility criteria

Udemy offers a wide range of online courses, covering subjects like technology, business, and personal development. It’s a great resource for high school students. You can find courses in mathematics, science, coding, art, music, and more. These courses are self-paced, so you can learn at your own speed and fit your studies around schoolwork and extracurricular activities. This flexibility makes it easier to manage your time.

Udemy frequently has sales and discounts, making courses more affordable. Once you buy a course, you have lifetime access, allowing you to revisit the material whenever you need.

When you finish a course, you’ll receive a certificate of completion. Although Udemy is not an accredited institution but the certificates can make your academic and extracurricular profiles more attractive.

Top Udemy courses for high school students:

  • The Complete Python Bootcamp From Zero to Hero in Python
  • Microsoft Excel – Excel from Beginner to Advanced
  • Adobe Photoshop CC Complete Course + NEW Generative AI Tools
  • Pianoforall – Incredible New Way To Learn Piano & Keyboard
  • The Ultimate Drawing Course – Beginner to Advanced

10. edX

  • Location: Online
  • Cost: between $50 to $300 (depending on the course level)
  • Duration: 6-12 months
  • Eligibility: No eligibility criteria

edX is a nonprofit online learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT, offering courses from top universities and institutions worldwide. Many of these courses are perfect for high school students, ensuring you get high-quality educational content.

You can explore a variety of subjects, including science, technology, engineering, mathematics, humanities, and business. Whether you’re interested in expanding your knowledge or meeting academic needs, there’s likely a course for you.

College female student learning remotely.

Many courses offer the option to earn a verified certificate for a fee. These certificates show that you completed the course and include logos from both edX and the partnering institution. Each certificate has a unique URL and ID for authentication, making them shareable and printable. Courses are often self-paced, allowing you to learn at your convenience. However, some have set start and end dates, helping you maintain a structured learning schedule.

Top EdX courses for high school students:

  • Introduction to Computer Science by Harvard University
  • AP® Biology by Rice University
  • College Writing by Berkeley University of California
  • Precalculus by Arizona State University
  • Introduction to Psychology by University of Toronto

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which online learning resources for high school students offer college credits? 

Several online learning platforms offer courses that can be taken for college credit. Coursera, edX, Saylor Academy, and University of the People all offer courses that can be considered college credits.

2. Which paid online learning resource is the cheapest?

edX and Udemy offer courses and subscriptions that start at $30 to $50. If finance is a challenge to you, there are plenty of online learning resources for high school students that offer free courses such as Class Central, MIT Opencourseware, and Open Yale Courses.

3. What should I consider before choosing a paid online learning platform? 

Before choosing a paid online learning platform, there are several important factors to consider to ensure you get the best value for your investment and that the platform meets your educational goals. Here are some key considerations:

a young college student writing while on online class

Accreditation and Credit Transfer:

  • Ensure the platform partners with accredited institutions.
  • Verify that the credits earned can be transferred to the college or university you plan to attend.

Course Offerings:

  • Check if the platform offers the courses you need for your degree or personal development goals.
  • Look for specialized courses that align with your career or academic interests.

Cost and Payment Options:

  • Compare the pricing models (subscription vs. per course/exam fees) to find the most cost-effective option.
  • Consider any additional fees, such as proctoring fees for exams or certification fees.

Flexibility and Convenience:

  • Determine if the platform offers self-paced courses or if there are fixed schedules.
  • Assess whether the course format (videos, readings, assignments) fits your learning style and schedule.

Support and Resources:

  • Look into the availability of academic support, such as tutors, discussion forums, and instructor feedback.
  • Check for additional resources like study materials, practice exams, and community support.

Technology and Accessibility:

  • Ensure the platform is user-friendly and accessible on your devices (computer, tablet, smartphone).
  • Verify that there is reliable tech support available in case you encounter any issues.

Reputation and Reviews:

  • Research reviews and testimonials from other students to gauge their satisfaction with the platform.
  • Look for any red flags or common complaints regarding course quality, support, or credit transfer issues.

Trial Period or Money-Back Guarantee:

  • Check if the platform offers a free trial period or a money-back guarantee, allowing you to test the courses before committing fully.

Career and Certification Opportunities:

  • Explore if the platform offers any certification programs that are recognized in your industry.
  • Check if they provide career services, such as job placement assistance or networking opportunities.

Personal Learning Goals:

  • Reflect on your personal learning goals and how the platform can help you achieve them.
  • Consider if you prefer a more structured program or the flexibility to explore different subjects.

Final Thoughts

As we wrap up, remember that preparing for college is a journey that requires dedication, effort, and the right resources. The online learning resources for high school students tools we’ve explored are just the beginning. They provide a strong foundation for your college prep, but your success ultimately depends on how you use them.

Stay curious, keep learning, and remember that every step you take brings you closer to your dream college. The future is bright, and it’s yours for the taking. So go ahead, make the most of these resources, and take one step closer to turning your college dreams into reality.

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