For the uninitiated, Hilary Erhard Duff was born in 1987, and she rose to prominence as the teen idol that took center stage in the hit TV series Lizzie McGuire; she has been nominated for a People’s Choice Award for her portrayal of Kelsey Peters in the series Younger. She has dabbled in business ventures, singing, songwriting, writing, and producing, all along her lucrative acting career. 

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She has been to Harvard before

One of the coolest facts about the star is that she has an education background with Harvard University’s name on it although it’s not what you may have originally thought about. Duff has taken different classes at Harvard, spanning over a variety of topics like sociology, government and environmental sciences. However, the truth is that she hasn’t actually enrolled into the prestigious university in the same way as most students. She never took the notoriously difficult entrance exam that scares even the biggest brainiacs!


Instead, the actress has opted for the route of auditing her classes instead of properly registering for completions. If you are lost, don’t worry; we will explain in detail. When you are a university student who needs to complete a certain course for your degree, you tend to go through the process of registering for a class, attending the lessons for the whole semester. In addition, you also undertake all of the assignments and examinations that are required, as stated by the course syllabus that you receive on your first day in the classroom, or Zoom meetings if you are living through a pandemic…

By auditing a class, just like Hilary Duff, you can instead opt for an easier time that still guarantees that you come out with some new knowledge acquired, just not the actual registered completion for your degree’s requirements.


Although you do not receive academic credit, you still get to attend class and learn all sorts of new things by leading experts at Harvard, even if you do not adhere to the examination procedures the other students have to go through. Basically, it’s like taking part in a class informally, just for educational purposes.

Some disagreed with Duff’s decision

All this is very good, as the pursuit of knowledge is a great thing regardless of how it’s managed, unless of course you do something shady, which we assume Duff wouldn’t do – after all she just wants to enrich her knowledge. Sadly, it seems that this story isn’t without its controversy. Some pointed out that getting that Harvard credits attached to your name without actually living the life of a student at the Ivy League university is disrespectful towards those who do. 

In 2005, The Harvard Crimson, the university’s newspaper published an article that could very well be called a hit piece on the celebrity, calling her “a loser and a chicken”. It sounds a bit funny, but it’s true! The article posted by The Crimson’s staff team had this to say: “It’s one thing to say you go to Harvard (extension), but it’s another to live la Vida Harvard”.


They called out Duff for seemingly enjoying the benefits of saying you are a Harvard student, but not actually struggling like one. Aggressive comments were thrown at her like, “More important than your lack of Harvard (extension) life credentials is your failure to make the right decision when it comes to higher (extension) education. You should have gone to Yale”. Although you may understand where the students are coming from, you cannot deny that this was a harsh way of putting it into words, and it ends up gatekeeping the pursuit of knowledge for some ultimately very petty reason.

How about trying to do the same thing?

If you want to audit courses, you should feel comfortable doing so no matter what others may say about your decision.  Look into your favorite universities and what courses are up for auditing, so that you can learn more and become smarter.

Thankfully, with the rise of online undergraduate programs and online MBA degree programs, you have another way of chasing your dreams, and it’s easy to do so without even having to come face-to-face with students and teachers. Online college has opened a whole new world of learning for us, while leaving us safe from the dangers of the pandemic and the risks associated with physical learning.


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One reply on “Did you know Hilary Duff attended Harvard University?”

  • Idan Yosefov
    July 13, 2021 at 11:21 am

    nice post
    If she can do it, anyone can!