Are Oxford Summer Courses Free?

Oxford summer courses give you the chance to do something most people can only dream of: sleep, study and dine in the actual colleges of the University of Oxford.

Many people want to know whether Oxford summer courses are free. While there are often good opportunities for scholarships and financial aid, especially as we recover from Covid-19, there’s no getting round the fact that summer schools can be expensive.

Oxford summer schools are an investment which pay off for a lifetime, in terms of helping you find your direction in life, build academic confidence and ambition and give you access to better jobs and universities. However, it’s important to weigh up whether an Oxford summer school is worth the cost for you or your child’s individual circumstances.

In this article, we’re going to cover whether Oxford summer courses are free and why they cost what they do, so you can make the best decision for your situation.

Are Oxford summer courses free?

Oxford summer courses are not generally free because there are costs involved in engaging elite tutors, providing the best guest speakers to inspire students, arranging accommodation and dining in the prestigious colleges of the University of Oxford, and planning exciting extracurricular activities: from glittering balls and sumptuous parties, to exciting trips.

Let’s dive right in, and look in detail at why Oxford summer courses don’t tend to be free, and why they cost what they do.

Why do Oxford summer courses cost what they do?

World class teaching

The best Oxford summer schools won’t give you anything less than the most elite tutors and guest speakers. You’ll get the chance to make amazing connections for life, which will benefit your university applications and career. Exceptional teaching simply doesn’t come cheap, but being taught by Oxbridge tutors, Ivy League lecturers and top industry leaders in film and fashion pays off for the rest of your life, as you’ll be inspired to reach new academic heights and succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

Top-tier Oxford summer schools also cost more because they engage world renowned guest speakers to inspire you. You’ll get the chance to meet leading figures from media, sport, academia, politics and more, who are at the very height of their career and can give you invaluable advice about how to break into the industry or career of your dreams.

The most authentic experience of Oxford University

The chance to actually live in the famous Oxford colleges that very few will ever enter is a big reason why the very top Oxford summer courses cost what they do.

In order to provide the most exclusive and authentic experience of life at Oxford University, from the dormitories you sleep in to the food you consume in the centuries-old dining halls, Oxford summer courses have to account for quite a few costs.

The chance to experience life in ancient Merton college, dating back to 1264, and boasting the oldest quadrangle (Mob Quad) and library in the university or dine every night in the grand dining hall of Balliol College, with its intricate ceilings and stained glass windows will drive you to find your academic purpose, and many feel this is worth the cost.

The best Oxford summer courses won’t just let you live in Oxford University colleges, they will handpick every aspect of your stay so that you get as authentic an experience of Oxford University student life as possible. This is particularly important if you’re considering applying to a top university. Great Oxford summer schools will give you access to exclusive locations, like Oxford University’s Examination Schools, or the famous Sheldonian Theatre (this stunning building, crafted in the neo-classical style, is where Oxford University students matriculate and graduate).

Matchless extracurricular activities

The best Oxford summer schools understand that, while you’re there to gain an unrivalled academic and teaching experience from the world’s best tutors, you’re also on holiday, and there to have fun.

Your Oxford summer school should understand what it means for you to spend the summer in one of the most culturally rich, beautiful and ancient cities in the world, and will provide appropriate entertainment.

You can look forward to some sumptuous balls and glittering parties at some of the best summer schools. Whether you’re dancing away at the five-star Randolph hotel in Oxford city centre, or the beautiful country mansion Eynsham Hall in one of Oxford’s most picturesque villages, you’ll have a fabulous time, as you dress to impress in your stunning evening wear.

Top Oxford summer schools will make the most out of their proximity to London and other fascinating historic settings in the UK. As well as visiting Oxford’s world-famous museums and libraries (the Bodleian library is the oldest library in Europe), you could be watching West End shows and musicals in London such as Wicked and We Will Rock You, and visiting the Roman city of Bath, with its historic Roman baths.

Are there cheaper options for top Oxford summer courses?

Many top Oxford summer courses have flexible options for teaching, including online summer courses which offer the same world-class teaching, community of students from all around the world and fantastic educational resources for less than the cost of their on-campus summer schools.

For example, you can access a top Oxford summer course remotely for less than half the price for an on-campus summer schools. Although top Oxford summer schools provide scrupulous safety checks and matchless academic support for their online Oxford summer courses, there are simply less overhead costs than with on-campus courses, which can help you save money.

The best online Oxford summer courses will offer as many of the same benefits of attending an elite on-campus summer school as possible. You can expect to learn in a community of students from all over the globe. This will help you gain vital skills for the workplace, as learning to communicate effectively with people of different cultures and viewpoints is an invaluable skill in increasingly international teams.

You can also expect the same world class tutors, for example, Oxbridge and Ivy League academics, or groundbreaking legal and medical experts, to guide you through your studies via a platform like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Do Oxford summer courses offer scholarships?

World-class Oxford summer schools will often offer scholarships to students for the course of their choice. These scholarships are helpful if you’re a bright and academically proficient student, but you have a low household income. Scholarships are usually competitive, and you’ll have to fill in an application form noting your academic and extracurricular achievements and why you’d benefit from a scholarship at the Oxford summer school of your choice, to be considered. To maximise your chances of being awarded a scholarship on an Oxford summer course you should:

  • Clearly express your motivations and aspirations in life. For example, if you’re passionate about becoming a chemical engineer or doctor, you could write about why these disciplines fascinate you, what you hope to achieve through pursuing them, and why studying a particular Oxford summer course will help you to do so.
  • Emphasise your academic achievements. If you know you’re going to apply for a scholarship for an Oxford summer course, for example, next year, you should study hard now so that you can put down excellent grades and glowing teacher references to make the best impression you can on the admissions team.
  • Take part in extracurricular activities. Whether you have a passion for helping those in need, for example, through volunteering in a charity, or you’ve taken the initiative to run a study group for students in your school, make sure you do extracurricular activities which centre around what motivates you and what you’re interested in. If you can, link them in terms of transferrable skills to the course you want to study. For example, maybe you volunteered in a home for elderly people and this increased your empathy and understanding of people’s needs, which is vital for the medical preparation course you want to study at an Oxford summer school. Then, when you come to do your application, the admissions team can get a clear idea of your passions and skills both as a student and a person, and how they relate to the course you want to enrol on.
  • When it comes to writing about your academic and practical achievements: show, don’t tell. It’s much more powerful if you explain how the electric circuit experiment you carried out contributed to your curiosity with Physics, than just saying you’re passionate about Physics and making a list of your grades and accolades.

Now that we’ve gone through whether Oxford summer courses are free and why they cost the amount that they do, we hope you’ve found this a useful read. Although Oxford summer courses can be expensive, the chance to live, sleep and dine in the same stunning colleges that shaped many of the UK’s prime ministers and Nobel prize winners, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many.