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Introduction

We all know that getting an education is important, but what about when traditional schooling just doesn’t fit our needs? Enter – online education to the rescue. In our GetSmarter review, we’ll tell you what you need to know about how the course on GetSmarter can help you – you guessed correctly! – get smarter.

From the unique structure of the weekly modules on this online learning platform to the top-tier customer support and wide range of offerings, GetSmarter has a lot to offer.

In fact, according to countless users’ reviews, it offers the ideal learning experience – just look at the high completion rate on the courses as proof. 

But is it right for you?

In this GetSmarter review, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to decide.

What is GetSmarter?

GetSmarter is an online course provider that offers educational programs from some of the world’s leading universities. In this GetSmarter review, we’ll go a bit more in-depth about the advantages and benefits of these courses – but first, what exactly do GetSmarter courses look like?

The courses you can take on this online learning platform are offered by prestigious institutions such as Stanford, Harvard, Oxford, MIT, Yale, Cambridge, and more. 

Those prestigious names are a good enough reason to consider signing up right now – but you should also consider that many of these university partnerships are exclusive to GetSmarter.

While there are other online learning platforms out there that offer similar partnerships, like edX, none have quite the extensive range of partnership lineups that GetSmarter does. This, in itself, is part of GetSmarter’s unique approach.

Founded in 2008, GetSmarter first opened in Cape Town, South Africa. It was created by Rob and Sam Paddock and was later acquired by the massive online learning company 2U, Inc. – the same company that now owns the aforementioned edX. It was acquired in 2017. 

Although GetSmarter had a lot to offer prior to the acquisition, this merger has only accelerated its offerings. It has an even more extensive catalog of online courses, growing from just a handful of partnering universities in 2016 to nearly two dozen different partnerships now. 

And it just continues to grow! 

Who is GetSmarter for?

When you take courses on GetSmarter, you’ll be able to take a deep dive into all kinds of different subjects.

The courses on the GetSmarter platform are considered short courses, but that by no means indicates that they are not expensive. You can take courses on a wide range of subjects here, including marketing, design, cybersecurity, HR< health, data science and analysis, finance, business, and more.

All in all, there are more than 250 different online courses you can take on this online learning platform. 

Sure, it’s not the most extensive line-up – there are plenty of other online learning platforms out there that offer thousands more courses to choose from. However, GetSmarter shoots for quality over quantity and offers bite-sized chunks that are quick and easy to complete – yet also high in quality.

At the time of writing this GetSmarter review, the organization partners with schools such as:

  • Stanford University
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Toronto
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
  • Harvard University
  • Yale University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • George Washington University
  • University of California, Davis
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Cape Town
  • Institute for Management Development
  • Rice University
  • Bocconi University 
  • Syracuse University
  • The London School of Economics and Political Science
  • University of Stellenbosch Business School
  • University of Dayton 
  • Tecnológico de Monterrey 

…with more likely to come! 

How Does GetSmarter Work?

GetSmarter is an online learning platform that specializes in short courses meant to rapidly accelerate your career.

These classes take around six weeks to complete. While they aren’t the micro-courses that only take a few hours to do, like the ones you might find on Udemy, they are much more in-depth. 

Since they are university-led, the learning you experience on this platform will be much more extensive and higher quality than what you’d find from, say, watching a YouTube video, but they’re also much more affordable than what you’d get from a formal college course. 

With every course, you’ll be able to tap into extensive resources and support along with career development services. 

To get started, you’ll need to first find a course that interests you. You can choose to browse listings either by university partnerships or by the categories of online courses. Once you select a course, you’ll be prompted to complete a short registration and payment process.

After signing up, you’ll be able to complete course assignments within the specified timeframe in any environment you want to study in. Want to take classes from bed? You can do that. Prefer to sit in your local library? That’s fine, too. The courses here are totally flexible – as long as you can log in during the preset time frame, you’re good to go.

All you need is an Internet connection, a computer, and a bit of time to complete the courses. It’s as simple as that!

Features and Functionality

Here are a few key features of the courses on GetSmarter. 

Course Categories

When you’re looking for the best class to take on GetSmarter, you’ll have lots of options to choose from. You can browse by the institutional partner (Harvard, Yale, MIT, etc) or by the category.

Included categories on GetSmarter are:

  • Business Management and Strategy
  • Design and Creative
  • Finance And Investment
  • Digital Transformation and Disruptive Technology
  • Data Science and Analysis
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Fintech and Blockchain
  • Health Sciences and Wellness
  • Human Resource Management 
  • Lawn and Compliance
  • Marketing
  • Operations and Supply Chain Management
  • Leadership and Interpersonal Skills
  • Information Technology and Cybersecurity 
  • Project Management
  • Politics and Economics 
  • Real Estate
  • Sustainability
  • Sales and Business Development

Short, to the Point Online Education

A core feature of the online courses on GetSmarter is that they are all short, sweet, and to the point. 

You don’t have to dedicate thousands of hours of your life to online learning. Instead, you can improve your knowledge in a specific field (ideally, one that’s personally tailored to your career) and get done with it all in just 10 weeks or so. 

Weekly Assignments

Technically, the courses on GetSmarter are self-paced. You can learn at your own pace and take things as slowly as you’d like – well, kind of.

For the most part, you can move through your courses at your own pace, but it’s important to note that assignments do have some deadlines. You’ll have to show up at certain times for tests and submit assignments at specific times. 

User-Friendly Interface

GetSmarter has excellent course completion rates – some of the best in the industry, in fact – which is something we’ll tell you about in greater detail below.

But why?

Some people argue that it’s because this online learning platform has one of the most user-friendly interfaces around. The website has a sleek, modern feel that is highly intuitive to navigate through. 

The entire experience here is simple, smooth, and seamless, regardless of whether you’re taking a class in marketing, finance, health and wellness, or something else entirely. 

Certificates 

When you take a course on GetSmarter, you’ll receive a certificate of completion after your class. Although GetSmarter itself is not accredited and therefore does not offer accredited certificates, you can still get a certificate that shows that you took the course and built your skills in a certain area.

Though not quite as highly valued by employers, these certificates show that you have the know-how to be successful in your career. 

Career Engagement Network

You’ll be able to tap into an extensive career-engagement network when you take a class with GetSmarter. These resources are offered at no extra cost so that you can get the skills you need to build your career – from resume development to interviewing skills. 

Outcomes-Based Design

GetSmarter prides itself on what’s called an “outcomes-based design.” This means that the curriculum is career-focused and uses industry feedback and standards to design all of its courses.

When you complete a class you’ll have skills that are verified by your university and your instructors to be relevant to your industry. These courses are designed and guided by long-standing expertise in data analysis, business, and market research to be accurate and data-driven. 

GetSmarter Pricing Model

GetSmarter has a somewhat complicated pricing model – however, it’s important to understand it before you decide to take a course here, since the cases are significantly more expensive than what you might expect to pay on other online learning platforms like Udemy or Coursera.

The pricing structure varies depending on the university you choose and the specific course you decide to enroll in. 

An individual class might cost anywhere from $2000 to $3000 or more. The price varies, again, based on the course, but everything is offered up and detailed ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about any hidden fees.

Where it gets complicated is in how you can choose to pay for your course. There are single, split, and installment payment options available.With the single payment plan, you’ll pay the full amount before the course starts. The major benefit of this kind of payment method is that you won’t have to worry about any extra charges – you’ll pay exactly the amount that is written. You can choose this payment method for any of the many courses that are offered on GetSmarter.

There is also a split payment method. With this, you’ll pay for the course in two separate installments over the duration of the course. This gives you a bit more flexibility in that you don’t have to front the entire cost of the course upfront. However, you’ll have to pay a total of 3% extra in fees. 

As with the standard single payment method, the split payment method is also available for all courses on GetSmarter.

The final payment option is through the installment plan. This is just like the split payment plan but you’ll have to make three payments rather than two. Unfortunately, this option is only offered for courses that take more than 10 weeks to complete. 

Support

Customer support at GetSmarter is some of the best you’ll find. You can get in touch with customer service for anything you need, whether it’s an issue with course enrollment, registration, billing, or something else. 

Support here is ranked as being some of the most flexible in the industry. In many cases, students report being able to have deadlines extended or postponed – or even being able to get refunds if they decide they don’t want to continue with a program of study.

You can get in touch via phone, chat, or email. The customer support here is available 24/7 and is very responsive. 

The Advantages (Pros) of GetSmarter

Here are a few of the biggest benefits of taking courses with GetSmarter.

Top-Ranked Universities

The biggest advantage of taking a class on GetSmarter is, of course, the fact that you’ll be able to take a class from one of the world’s leading universities – but at a fraction of the price. If it’s Stanford, Cambridge, or Harvard that you’ve always wanted to take a class from, you’ll be able to access that top-notch education here. 

Excellent Course Completion Rates

Although percentages of completion might not mean much to you as you’re looking for the ideal online course provider, they really should, as they can serve as a metric of an online education platform’s quality and overall user experience.

This platform has an impressive course completion rate of 90% over the lifetime of GetSmarter’s existence. This is one of the highest in the industry – and when you consider that most other online course providers have a completion rate of less than 13%, that number becomes even more impressive.

Why are course completion rates so high? Read most GetSmarter reviews out there, and you’ll didn’t think it’s likely due to the partnership lineup with such great schools, the excellent customer support, and the career and faculty connections that you’ll gain. However, you can’t deny that taking a class on GetSmarter is fun and engaging either – and the experience you have while taking a class on this platform is really second to none.

Courses Taught by World-Renowned Professors 

When you sign up for a class on GetSmarter, you won’t be learning from a college dropout recording YouTube videos in his basement. Instead, you’ll be learning from world-renowned professors who have the academic credentials to actually back up what they’re teaching you.

These courses are offered by major industry partners like MIT – meaning you’ll be learning from actual MIT professors like Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson. These teachers are highly valued and highly educated – and you’ll be able to work with them directly as you complete your courses. 

Career Support Services Included

While it’s easy to find online courses in just about any subject, not all of them offer the kind of extensive professional and career support that you’ll get on GetSmarter. You’ll be able to access the broad 2U Career Engagement Network regardless of which course you take on this platform.

This resource offers learners a great way to connect with potential employers. You’ll be able to tap into resources like workshops on interview etiquette, resume and CV preparation tool kits, career fairs, and more. In fact, these career fairs are worth mentioning even by themselves – they include insights and networking with major companies like Google and more.

You’ll be able to interact directly with industry professionals while getting insights on your profession that you wouldn’t get anywhere else. Everything is aligned directly to h4e industry meaning the learning that you do with GetSmarter won’t just prepare you on the academic side of things but also give you the real-world training you need to be successful. 

Wide Range of Subjects Available 

Of course, you’ll be able to access a wide range of subjects when you decide to take classes on GetSmarter, too. Though the list of offerings isn’t quite as extensive as what you might find with other online education platforms, like Udemy, you’re getting quality rather than quantity here.

The Disadvantages (Cons) of GetSmarter

GetSmarter is one of the best options out there when it comes to growing your skills and expanding your educational horizons – but there are a few disadvantages to consider. 

Courses Are Somewhat Costly

While an Ivy League education does not come cheap – and GetSmarter offers students a significant discount compared to actually attending one of these schools – GetSmarter is not the most affordable online course provider out there.

The prices are in the thousands of dollars range – and again, while this is cheaper than actually attending an Ivy League school, you are going to pay much more money to complete a course here than you might on other online course platforms, like Udemy or Coursera. Plan ahead – you’re paying for quality, but you’re really paying quite a lot. 

Slow Certificate Arrival

Unfortunately, certificates tend to arrive quite slowly from GetSmarter. While the certificates are a nice feature of the platform, it can be frustrating to not have the paperwork you want to list on your resume when you expect to have it.

This is not something you will find with all online course providers – in fact, many of them offer digital or electronic delivery of certificates so that you have them immediately as soon as you complete all the course requirements. 

Not Accredited 

Again, GetSmarter is not an accredited educational institution – and as such, you may find that you have a harder time applying what you learn at GetSmarter to later educational programs. Since you aren’t earning actual “credits’ ‘ here, nothing is transferable if you want to earn an actual degree later on.

Plus, this lack of accreditation means that you can’t use financial aid or obtain financial aid from outside sources – although this is something that you’ll find with all MOOCs (massive open online course providers), it’s important to note if you know that you are going to need outside funding. 

GetSmarter Alternatives

GetSmarter is by no means your only option as you’re considering online courses to take. Other good options include Udacity, Udemy, and Datacamp. Here are some of the major features and benefits of each so that you can make the decision that’s right for you and your individual career goals. 

Udacity

Udacity is a popular online course provider that’s known for its individual online courses and its nanodegree programs. These Nanodegrees are like miniature college degrees rolled into a more convenient and flexible online program.

This is the best alternative to GetSmarter if you own a company and want all of your employees to be able to take online courses in their free time. They’ll be able to pay for accredited certificates of completion and take high-quality courses. Many of the courses are paid but there are also totally free courses that you and your employees can take if you’re interested in doing so. 

Udemy

Udemy was mentioned several times in this GetSmarter review – and while it has a significantly different layout and function than GetSmarter, it’s a notable alternative to consider.

Udemy has a massive variety of courses, with thousands upon thousands of classes to choose from. You’ll enjoy a 30-day refund policy and get free certificates of completion.

Not to mention – many of the individual courses are even free, here. There are thousands of different free courses you can browse. To get that kind of variety, though, you do sacrifice some quality. The courses are not always taught by the most accomplished instructors – some are people who teach as a hobby and therefore, the courses aren’t always top-notch.

That said, you get what you pay for, and Udemy does offer quite a few high-quality paid courses as well. 

Datacamp

A final alternative to GetSmarter is Datacamp. Although this platform is really only focused on data science skills – meaning it’s not a great platform for you if you’re interested in learning anything besides data science – it’s one of the best in the industry for that subject.You’ll get free certificates of completion and be able to tap into a very easy-to-use interface as you take your courses. The platform is extremely transparent about pricing and has quality content delivered on a feasible and flexible timetable.

All in all, it’s a great alternative to GetSmarter to consider if you want to learn data science skills at your own pace and from the comfort of your own home. 

Conclusion

Without a doubt, GetSmarter is one of the most valuable online learning platforms for students and professionals. With lots of short courses to choose from and prestigious university partnerships to back up its credentials, the GetSmarter platform should be your top choice as you look to grow your skills and expand your career.

Whether you decide to take a course on GetSmarter or not, hopefully, this GetSmarter review has been helpful in showing you its many benefits. Now hop to it – and start getting smarter today! 

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Rebekah Pierce

Rebekah Pierce is a writer with a B.A. in English from St. Lawrence University and a Master’s in Special Education from SUNY Plattsburgh. She has worked both as a college admissions counselor as well as a high school English teacher and has also written extensively on topics related to educational technology and the college selection process.

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