What Makes a Great Oxford Summer Course Student?

28 Jun, 2023 | Blog Articles, Get the Edge

Attending an Oxford summer course comes with a variety of exciting benefits, like experiencing new teaching methods and exploring a historical city of learning! 

An international summer school offers an unparalleled opportunity to develop your academic and social skills that will boost your CV in preparation for your university applications. 

The skills you develop during an Oxford summer course will equip you to start the new academic year as a more confident, experienced and independent learner! It’s a great way to grow as a student and there are a variety of skills that you’ll not only bring to your summer school but also gain during your studies. 

Here we outline the qualities that make a great Oxford summer course student, so you can begin to cultivate and practise these skills ahead of your programme!

8 Qualities That Make a Great Oxford Summer Student

1. Be Curious and Enthusiastic

An Oxford summer course is all about gaining new academic and personal skills to develop as a student and individual. Therefore, it’s important that students enrolled in a summer school are curious about new ways of thinking, collaborating and engaging with the people and places around them.

This curiosity should also extend to the classroom, where intellectual enthusiasm around different teaching methods and academic subjects – many of which aren’t offered on regular high school curriculum – is productive to student success.

Students should also try to ask plenty of questions, participate in discussions with course tutors and peers, and go beyond the curriculum when developing relevant skills and producing their own work.

Finally, a great Oxford summer course student should endeavour to enhance their critical thinking skills both in and out of the classroom, while demonstrating an inherent passion for learning!

2. Practise Communicating

Oxford summer schools are often centred around small class sizes and discussion so a great student should practise a variety of communication skills!

Given that international summer schools often attract an international cohort of students from a variety of cultural backgrounds, it’s important that students are able to communicate effectively and collaborate with others. This can look like practising active listening skills, or learning to articulate ideas in a clear and concise way.

3. Bounce Back From Setbacks!

International summer school – much like university or college – can come with a range of challenges or temporary setbacks. However, these can often be a great way for students to grow as individuals.

Therefore, a great Oxford summer course student should be able to comfortably bounce back from unexpected setbacks, demonstrating resilience and adaptability through the summer programme and beyond.

To best prepare for an Oxford summer course, it’s a good idea to reflect on how you cope when faced with new challenges. Consider different ways of looking at situations, and try to develop your problem-solving skills through tackling obstacles in new and creative ways.

Two laughing students on an Oxford summer course.

4. Be a Team Player

Given the small class sizes and discussion-based teaching during an Oxford summer course, a great student will also be willing and eager to collaborate with their peers, possessing an appreciation for teamwork that will benefit them during the summer and into university!

There are many benefits to working in groups, like developing communication skills and experiencing other interests and backgrounds. 

In preparing for an Oxford summer course, students should practise actively participating in group activities, always considering others, and developing new ways to collaborate with their peers.

5. Be Open-Minded

The global scope of an Oxford summer course is one of the many unique parts of enrolment. As such, a great student will be open-minded to learning about new topics, cultures and interests.

Specifically, students should arrive with a cultural awareness and a respect for diverse backgrounds. They should respect different cultural perspectives and endeavour to participate in meaningful cross-cultural exchanges which occur both in and out of the classroom.

It’s also important that students on an Oxford summer course actively contribute to a respectful learning environment so that every student feels encouraged to participate. This could be demonstrated by a student being open to new ideas, working to challenge their existing preconceptions, and using the summer to foster a global mindset.

6. Reach for the Sky!

Ultimately, a great Oxford summer course student should understand the impact of personal growth and self-reflection. While these are skills that are enriched during an international summer school, they’re also traits that a great student can practise even before the programme begins!

In preparing for an Oxford summer course, students should set personal goals, reflect on their strengths and areas for improvement, and actively seek feedback and guidance.

An Oxford summer course provides students with the chance to develop a range of personal and academic skills, providing a strong foundation for the start of college or university. 

By practising and developing these qualities, students can make the most of their time at an Oxford summer school.


By Adam Kluge

Adam (he/him) recently completed his MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Oxford. His research exists at the intersection of law, politics, and history – and he welcomes opportunities to further explore these areas through personal and pedagogical practices. He completed his undergraduate degrees at Columbia University and will begin a PhD in Criminology at Oxford this autumn.

Looking to take part in a truly international Oxford summer course?

Recommended articles

The Ultimate Guide To UCAS And Personal Statements

The Ultimate Guide To UCAS And Personal Statements

What does UCAS stand for? UCAS stands for Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. It is the centralised online service in the UK that everyone has to use in order to apply to any undergraduate University course in the UK. How many courses can you apply to on...

read more
How to Take Notes in Law School

How to Take Notes in Law School

When studying any subject, you’ll inevitably have to spend a lot of your time taking notes. Law students in particular spend a massive amount of time taking notes because there’s so much to learn and there are so many different sources to learn it from. This is also a...

read more
A Brief History of Business and Business Theory

A Brief History of Business and Business Theory

Business has been a key part of social, political and economic life for centuries.  From early trade systems to contemporary e-commerce websites, business evolution remains closely linked to broader historical shifts. As the world has transformed to accommodate...

read more