Why Should You Attend an Oxford Summer Course?

19 Jun, 2023 | Blog Articles, Get the Edge

As we move into the summer, many students may be thinking about vacations with friends, time by the water, or catching up on some much-needed sleep! In addition to recharging, the long vacation period can be an ideal time to enrich your academic skills by enrolling in an international summer school.

An Oxford summer school can offer a unique opportunity to engage in both academic and personal pursuits for the summer term, ensuring that you’re well-prepared to return to school or begin your undergraduate degree in the autumn. Specifically, a summer school programme is a short, often two- or four-week academic course that caters to high school students interested in discovering more about their future academic and professional options. 

Situated in the heart of an historic intellectual city, these international summer schools are significant for personal and educational development. There are many benefits to attending a summer school, including experiencing different cultures, gaining independence before college, and building an international community of peers from a range of disciplines. 

Furthermore, an international summer course in Oxford offers unique access to countless museums, galleries and landmarks. Given the provision of small class sizes, hands-on teaching, and a wide range of subjects, international summer programmes like the Oxford Scholastica Academy are designed to encourage both academic and personal growth during the summer break.

Top Reasons to Attend an Oxford Summer Course

Here are just some of the reasons why you should attend an Oxford summer course:

1. Exploring Academic Interests

An Oxford summer course provides an opportunity to explore numerous disciplines that may not be offered in a high school setting. So, how can an international summer school support a student’s academic interests?

Different Teaching Styles

Students often spend a great deal of their early academic careers following a predetermined course of study, which can make the vast range of subjects at the university level seem unsettling. An international summer school like Oxford Scholastica offers an opportunity for high school students to be exposed to interdisciplinary subjects that interest them, but that they may not have experienced prior to university. Additionally, international summer schools allow students to experience diverse teaching methods in advance of their peers.

The teaching philosophy at Oxford Scholastica is inspired by the undergraduate tutorial system, which encourages small class sizes and teaching styles that encourage student growth. As such, the class sizes and expert tutors provided by an Oxford summer course provide students with a taste of university teaching methods to help prepare them for the start of college.

Exploring Subjects Beyond the Regular Curriculum

An international summer school is also beneficial in giving students the opportunity to delve into academic subjects that may not be a part of the regular school curriculum. Subjects like Medicine, Law, and Creative Writing, for example, are some of the most popular fields of study across universities in the UK, but students are unable to study them formally at high school.

In being exposed to a diverse range of subjects, students are able to make a more informed decision about what they would like to study in university and about the potential career paths they would like to embark on in the future.

Additionally, international summer schools provide an exciting opportunity to learn beyond the classroom. Given Oxford’s status as a leading intellectual city, students on an Oxford summer course can expect opportunities to explore historic artistic and cultural sites, each of which will inform and enrich the tutoring experiences they undertake in a traditional classroom setting!

2. Experiencing University Life

Looking beyond the benefits of diverse subject offerings, international summer courses like those offered by Oxford Scholastica provide students the chance to experience university life before they begin college, alleviating some of the fears or questions that they might have as they finish high school. 

In particular, summer schools can help students build confidence both in and outside of the classroom. Closely supervised, in-depth learning with expert tutors will help students feel well-prepared to use their knowledge and skills when they enter university. It’ll also give students a boost in their university applications – not many peers will be able to say they pursued their studies in a university setting as a high school student!

Enrolment in an international summer school also offers an unparalleled opportunity to take advantage of campus facilities, residential halls and social spaces. This allows students the opportunity to explore the ways in which they can cultivate social experiences during their undergraduate degree, while exposing them to the different resources and living arrangements that will be available to them at university.

Attending an international summer school can help high school students to prepare for the challenges and intricacies of university-level study. By providing a low-risk environment to experience new ways of working and collaborating, where mistakes are encouraged for growth, a summer school can help you to develop academic skills that are sometimes overlooked, such as critical thinking, research and time management.

Finally, students at Oxford Scholastica have an opportunity to get to grips with the city of Oxford, which may help them to both prepare for a new setting and inform their choice of location when they apply to universities and colleges.

3. Making New Friends and Expanding Networks

An Oxford summer course also comes with a variety of social benefits, which reinforce the mission of Oxford Scholastica to combine educational enrichment with personal growth. In particular, there are lots of opportunities for students to meet like-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds during an international summer school. Studying abroad further provides a wonderful opportunity to make new friends and build a global network of peers.

These networks provide students with a community of peers who they can rely on throughout their university journey and beyond. There are lots of benefits to collaborating with other students within a diverse academic community, such as learning to approach a topic using an interdisciplinary method, or broadening your thinking by engaging with somebody else’s perspective or background.

While it may appear intimidating at first, meeting new friends is a fantastic way to build networks and form connections with others from a range of disciplines – connections which will last well beyond the summer term!

Two Oxford Scholastica Academy summer school students hugging.

4. Developing Soft Skills

International summer schools can also prove useful in developing a student’s soft skills before university. These include communication skills and confidence that will help students to stand out in future college interviews and in the job market beyond.

Additionally, students learn the following skills during their time on a summer course:


An Oxford Scholastica summer course is delivered by a team of passionate and energetic staff who encourage students to actively contribute in social and academic activities. As such, students are invited to leave their comfort zone and we often see our students increase in independence, self-belief, and confidence across the two weeks.

Organisation and Time Management

Students are responsible for managing their own schedules, getting to their obligations on time, and finding the study tactics that work best for them – encouraging the development of organisational skills that will serve them at college or university.

Additionally, the independence that students gain from an international summer school allows time to fill their days with both academic and social endeavours – with freedom for students to explore personal interests. As such, they practise managing their time and crafting a balance between educational and social pursuits.

Personal Growth

Through participation in a summer course, students are able to gain clarity around their future and learn more about what works for them, and what doesn’t. In turn, students at an international summer school see gains in their self-confidence and self-image during their time abroad – which will prove especially useful in supporting a comfortable transition to college or university!

5. Cultural Exchange and Global Perspective

In addition to the academic and social benefits outlined above, attending a summer course also comes with a variety of benefits related to cultural exchange and the enhancement of global perspectives.

Given that students of various backgrounds, cultures and interests will be studying together during an international summer school, programmes like an Oxford Scholastica summer course foster an enrichment of global understanding and cultural knowledge that can inform students’ studies and their awareness of the world around them.

Additionally, gaining insights into different cultures is fundamental in the building of cross-cultural communication skills, which will prove advantageous not only in university but also as students emerge into careers in an increasingly globalised world.

There are numerous advantages to attending an international summer school, ranging from an exposure to diverse teaching methods to the establishment of a global network of tutors and peers. Enrolling in an Oxford summer course offers a unique opportunity for students to grow as people, prepare for study at the university-level, and develop the social and personal skills that can foster long-term success – ensuring they feel ready to tackle college and university!

If you’d love to enrich your summer break and academic journey, consider the opportunities offered by Oxford Scholastica Academy for a unique experience in the heart of the city of Oxford!


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?

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