Discounted Harvard

Colton De Los Santos
May 2, 2021
Social Policy

Summer is approaching, and you are met with a stand still. What are you going to do with your new excess of time?  Will have an awesome vacation all summer, or are you going to have a nice summer job. But, most of us will still have a large amount of idle time on our hands regardless. One way more and more Americans are using to advance their careers and futures is perfect for young adults this summer. Online certificate courses have appeared everywhere on the internet, but are the courses worth the time and money paid? Thankfully I put in my own time and money to see what are the best options for college certificates. 

EdX: Harvard and MIT’s Academic Lovechild

Edx is one of the foremost names in the world of online education. Edx is especially famous due to its creators, as it is the result of an academic joining of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The site teaches an array of subjects from dozens of accredited universities worldwide. I took the Constitutional Foundations Course. The test was the average Harvard price of $99, but unlike other classes had strings attached. The course had under reading materials a textbook written by the instructor Thomas Patterson. The tests were fairly easy, but that was not the highlight of the Harvard courses. The highlight was the high-quality videos, in which the instructor introduced the week's lesson from locations including Lexington, the Capitol, and Independence Hall. Overall, the online Harvard experience was an excellent one, but the class was on the more expensive end.


Coursera is another one of the big names of the online learning platforms. Coursera for the most part has more and a wider variety of courses for your disposal. The two courses I took were from Leiden University and the University of Virginia, and both showed a good view of the learning community of the websites. The courses, though similar to Edx’s courses, were less streamlined and significantly more engaging, including group discussions and group graded assignments. Despite the fact it is run by less prestigious colleges, it is more in-depth in its sources. The classes had a large amount of information including insightful reading lists. Coursera offers an abundance of interesting courses at a significantly cheaper price than alternatives, and not to mention if you are a voracious learner, a subscription can definitely be an advantage. 

 The Conservative Alternatives

As a reaction to the rise of online education conservative establishments created their own alternatives to mainstream colleges. One college and one society has shown forth as the conservative Harvard and Yale. The two sources are Hillsdale Liberal Arts College and the Federalist Society. 

Hillsdale College’s courses are one of the best for its price. The courses are free along with free textbook materials, already beating out Harvard on that front. The books supplied are well translated and include copies of historical and modern documents. The courses include subjects ranging from religion to mathematics, all with a conservative tint. Despite its conservative leanings it does not deny the impact of liberal influence in politics and philosophy. For example in the philosophy course both Nietzsche and St. Augustine are seen as fathers of Western Philosophy. Hillsdale offers a good value, but the certificates may not be as valuable as other aforementioned certificates, as they are not verified within a system.

 The Federalist Society, unlike the others, does not offer certificates from my knowledge. The Society offers new weekly videos focusing on subjects from Roman law to current events. As a member of the Federalist Society I do not want my bias to show in my writing, so I will leave it simple. The Federalist Society offers opportunities online for young conservatives and libertarians to continue their knowledge with their No. 86 programs. Whilst it may be a good source of reaffirming knowledge it may also be useful for those of different political beliefs and backgrounds to form counter arguments to reaffirm their own.


In the end, all forms of education and self-improvement are good as long as they teach the truth. When you are being instructed by trusted institutions, you tend to be in good hands. The aforementioned courses provide a more needed service especially for young people to get into politics. Taking classes like these or similar classes can not only improve your skills but also improve your fledgling resume and help propel you into success. One warning I must give is to beware of unaccredited institutions, as they can not only be a waste of time and money but also damage your reputation if you use it on your resumes.

Colton De Los Santos

Colton De Los Santos is currently a Staff Analyst at the Institute for Youth in Policy. He has previously has been a Teachers Assistant at Preston Middle School for Beginning Band for one and a half years. He is currently enrolled in at Dripping Springs High School along with Certificate Courses from HarvardX. He has also served as School President, 5th Grade Representative, and News Paper Writer and Editor at St. Paul's Christian Day School. He also is a active member of the American Numismatic Association and as well as a member of his school Marching and Symphonic Bands.