Popular Questions About Oxford Summer Schools

16 May, 2024

Group of Oxford Summer School students outside the Radcliffe Camera

Attending an Oxford summer school is a fantastic opportunity, allowing high school students to acquire new skills, explore their interests, and get a taste of higher education – all while living in a historic university city alongside top academics.

Every year, the Oxford Scholastica Academy welcomes students from around the world to reap these rewards with us in the city of dreaming spires.

We’ve answered four big questions you might have about the Oxford summer school experience in today’s article and, as ever, please do get in touch with Stephanie from our team if you have further questions; she will be more than happy to help.

Please note, the Oxford Scholastica Academy, like other Oxford summer schools, is separate from the University of Oxford – you can read more about our relationship here.

Attending an international summer school programme offers high school students a range of benefits, not least of which are unique opportunities for academic development. These benefits of attending a summer school empower students to expand their horizons and develop important skills.


Inspirational, subject-leading tutors

Classes at Oxford summer schools are often taught by experienced tutors, many of whom study and work at top UK universities. This means students are able to learn cutting edge academic content directly from subject experts, in small, interactive classes.

The tutors can also fulfil the role of an inspirational mentor for high school students – they have often studied the exact courses that their students want to apply for, so they’re perfectly placed to answer questions, offer advice and generally motivate students to achieve their very best.


Flexible, personalised teaching

Summer programmes will, on average, have much smaller class sizes than a regular high school – at the Oxford Scholastica Academy, for example, our classes are never bigger than 15 students, and many subjects will have just six or eight learners. This means that tutors can adapt curricula and content to best match the interests, level and goals of individuals.

Fewer students per member of staff also means that students can reap the maximum benefit of being taught by these world-class experts, as tutors have more time to devote to each student and ensuring that all their academic needs are met.


Pressure-free environment

If a student is interested in exploring a subject they have not previously encountered at school, for example through Engineering courses, Law programmes, or Medicine classes, attending an Oxford summer school is the perfect way for them to pursue this passion in a low-risk environment. They don’t have to pass exams or worry about how a grade with impact their GPA, and it is also a short-term commitment. If, at the end of the two weeks, a student decides that the subject they studied at summer school is not one they’d like to pursue further, then the programme has still been a success! It has offered them clarity on their future, and they’re not stuck with the subject for three years at university.

For students who have already had a good amount of exposure to the subject they’d like to pursue further, summer schools offer an opportunity to really enjoy exploring academic content without pressure, which is just as beneficial. They might discover niche areas of interest, and will leave the summer with renewed enthusiasm for their futures.


University application material

A summer school will not guarantee a student a place on a particular course or at a particular university. What it can do is introduce students to exciting topics to discuss in their personal essays; provide a valuable, subject-specific letter of recommendation; and offer an experience that speaks to their existing interest in the subject. All of these will prove helpful in the college admissions cycle.

Oxford summer school students studying

2. What skills will my child gain outside the classroom?

Summer schools aren’t all about what happens in the classroom, though! Outside of study time, students have the opportunity to build friendships, explore new places and develop a range of essential skills that will prove invaluable to them later in life.



Perhaps the most important thing a student gains from two weeks of studying at an academic summer school is confidence. Whether they gain confidence in their choices for the future, having explored their interests and learnt new things, or in their social skills from meeting their fellow students, they will end the summer more sure of themselves and their place in the world.



Summer schools are often a teenager’s first experience of being away from home without the support of their school or existing friendship groups. This can make it quite a challenging prospect for students and parents alike, but the independence that this experience offers is incredibly valuable.

Students have the chance to explore a new city, study a subject, and make new friends from around the world in an unfamiliar but supportive environment. Staff are always on hand to offer assistance when needed, making summer schools an excellent stepping stone between home life and the first year of university.


Social skills

Studying at an international summer school is an opportunity to meet a wide variety of people from a range of backgrounds. As well as other students from every corner of the map, there are tutors, pastoral staff and inspirational masterclass leaders to engage with, providing a great opportunity to make friends. In addition to gaining lots of valuable insights, the experience boosts social confidence, and teaches young people how to network as a student and meaningfully interact with anyone they might cross paths with in the future.


Advanced language skills

One of the unique perks of an international summer school is language exposure. There are the usual benefits of immersion in a country that speaks the target language, but the opportunities do not stop there.

At an Oxford summer course, for example, classes will take place in English, allowing students to build an advanced, subject-specific vocabulary. This is particularly useful for international students who wish to study the subject at an English-speaking college or university.

Additionally, international summer schools foster organic cultural exchange, so although a Japanese student might be attending an English-speaking programme in the USA, they could learn phrases and snippets of countless other languages from their new friends.

3. Why is Oxford a good place to study?

Of all the locations offering international summer schools, why should you choose Oxford? First of all, it is simply a beautiful, historic city. Students who attend programmes here are surrounded by libraries and buildings that have been used for learning for hundreds of years, immersing themselves in an exciting academic culture.

There are countless world-leading museums in Oxford, as well as art galleries and exhibitions, offering the opportunity to explore and learn far beyond the classroom. Many summer schools will offer day trips and guided tours to exciting spots both in the city and further afield.

There is also an obvious appeal in experiencing life as a student in the famous university town, with summer schools often offering accommodation used by the University’s colleges during the academic year. There really is nothing like an Oxford summer school to experience what student life at university might be like.

4. Is attending an Oxford summer school worth it?

Attending an Oxford summer school is an investment, but it is an entirely worthwhile one. The opportunity to explore academic passions alongside like-minded students and highly capable professors is unique and invaluable. Outside of the classroom, there is ample chance to socialise with peers from around the world and make fantastic memories in a historic city. Add in some day trips, social events and a supportive alumni community, and it’s clear to see why students often cite a summer in Oxford as one of the best they’ve ever had.

Here at Oxford Scholastica, we have been running successful summer schools for a decade. Our team of expert tutors, wonderful pastoral staff and experienced leadership team are all on hand to ensure our students have the best summer of their lives while they’re with us. So, what are you waiting for?

Ready for the best summer of your life?

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