Mind Expansion: Summer Courses for Ambitious Professionals and College Students

Looking for summer courses to get ahead at the office or in school?

Summertime actually creates a perfect opportunity to slip in some mind expansion by taking an online course or two. Aside from a plethora of free options, even paid courses can have lower fees and more flexibility during summer months. And don’t think that because they’re free or inexpensive that they’re not good – we’re talking Harvard, Stanford, MIT and Yale in the mix. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are among the most notable places to find classes, but there are also specialty websites where you can select interesting, educational online classes for skill and knowledge building. So check out our list of prime destinations for summer courses for ambitious professionals and college students.


Coursera is a company that offers Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) using curricula from notable organizations and universities around the world, including Stanford, Yale, Penn and Michigan. You can take many courses for free, but you must pay fees if you want certification or credit.


edX, founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) destination. edX offers high-quality courses from over 90 leading world universities and institutions. Students can earn college credits and professionals can build career skills.

Academic Earth

Academic Earth offers free online video lectures covering many topics from universities like UC Berkeley, UCLA, Michigan, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale. Like Hulu, Academic Earth standardizes content from multiple sources into a single platform, focused on outstanding online academic lectures.


Udemy has created an online marketplace for educational and vocational courses. Udemy provides tools that enable users (hopefully subject matter experts) to create a course, promote it and earn money from course fees. Udemy courses are not available for college credit, but you can take courses to develop practical career skills (e.g., writing HTML, using spreadsheets or creating podcasts).

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a non-profit organization that provides a “free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere” via short YouTube videos and online exercises.

Code School

Code School is a resource for more technical learning. Courses are organized into Paths that help you learn skills like developing websites, programming apps or using databases quickly. If you’re looking to solidify your career, technology skills are one of the better investments you can make – tech has permeated nearly every department of companies, from marketing to finance to management.

Summer Courses for Ambitious Professionals and College Students

If you’re an ambitious professional, look for summer courses that could apply to your role at work. Hopefully you can find something that’s both interesting and useful for advancing your career. If you’re a college student looking to get a jump start on next fall, you should verify that any summer courses you choose can earn credit (unless you’re just taking courses to learn for fun); you wouldn’t want to spend extra money only to learn that the course was not acceptable at your college or university.

Summer courses are a valuable tool for staying sharp, adding skills & knowledge and getting ahead. If you don’t find what you’re looking for on this list, keep searching – there are hundreds of MOOCs, aggregated learning sites and skill-specific platforms to choose from. The rest is up to you.



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