If you, like so many others, have vainly waited years for your acceptance letter from Hogwarts, the school of witchcraft and wizardry central to the Harry Potter franchise, then you’re in luck.
Hogwarts is now offering online courses.
Hogwarts Is Here is a free, nine-week course available to “all aspiring witches and wizards.” Users can receive that long-awaited acceptance letter, download textbooks and start working through all seven years of schooling, replete with professors, homework and quizzes.
And the work-life balance is stellar: You can join one of Hogwarts’s four houses (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, for the uninitiated), move into a dorm, chat with others in your dorm’s common room, browse the Hogwarts library and – perhaps most important – earn points for your house. (At the time of this writing, Ravenclaw actually had a substantial lead, followed by Slytherin.)
Incredibly, the online Hogwarts is entirely managed by volunteers. The site’s editorial content, the design; all of it. “Our goal is to create the magical experience that we as fans have all been looking for since we finished the last book,” the site’s disclaimer reads.
Given J.K. Rowling’s fairly relaxed policy toward hard-core “Potterheads” (she periodically hands out a “fan site award” on her website, and has commented on the more innocent fan fiction that’s arisen online), the online Hogwarts probably has a fighting chance of remaining online.
We just hope we get our letter before it “disapparates.” Universal’s Diagon Alley is fun and all, but we want to learn.