Oxford Royale Summer Schools Scholarships: the Complete Guide

It’s important to us at Oxford Royale Summer Schools that a great educational experience isn’t restricted to the wealthy, but available to everyone.

Image shows ORA students walking through Oxford.
A great education shouldn’t be restricted to those who can afford it.

As a result, for several years we’ve offered scholarships for students aged 13 to 18 to attend our summer school programmes. Those receiving a scholarship could attend a popular course such as Broadening Horizons, our Global Leadership Programme, or Introduction to Law, with either reduced course fees, or entirely for free, paying only their travel costs. And if you’re aged 17 to 19 and want a longer course of study, you might also like to know that we offer Thomas Garner Scholarships for students on our Gap Year Programmes, which can reduce course fees by up to 50%.
We’ll look at what you need to do in order to get a scholarship in more detail later on in this article. Broadly speaking, though, you’ll need to be from a less well-off background, needing financial assistance to afford the course fees. Just as importantly, you’ll need to be intelligent, hard-working and motivated, able to offer evidence of your academic successes to date and explain what it is that you’ll bring to Oxford Royale Academy.
If you’re still keen to apply, read on to find out more about our scholarships. 

Why apply for a scholarship?

A scholarship can help enhance your education.

Applying for a scholarship is more straightforward than you might think; it shouldn’t take you any longer than writing a short essay. So it’s definitely worthwhile to put in an application. After all, if you’re successful, you’ll get reduced course fees, and you’ll get all the benefits of an Oxford Royale Academy course:
1. You’ll experience the UK’s top universities – you’ll have the chance to study in beautiful and scholarly environs, such as in the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, London or St Andrews, and see what it’s like to be a student here.
2. You’ll boost your CV and university application – attending a summer school can give you competitive edge over your peers, both academically and in the social skills it demonstrates and develops.
3. You’ll gain valuable life experience – as well as academic skills and knowledge, attending a summer school offers priceless life experience, as you’ll travel away from home (perhaps even for the first time), encounter new situations and get to know a new city and new people.
4. You’ll study with brilliant academic minds – our highly qualified teaching staff are chosen not just for their knowledge and experience, but for their enthusiasm, and you’ll be able to learn with and be inspired by them.
5. You’ll make friends of all nationalities – we have students attending our courses from all over the world, and it’s a great opportunity for you to meet friends for life from many different nationalities and walks of life.
6. You’ll have an unforgettable holiday – our courses include time for sightseeing, so as well as your academic studies, you’ll be able to visit famous English sights such as Blenheim Palace, Hampton Court and even the studios where Harry Potter was filmed.
If you love the sound of all this, but you’re not in a position to pay the full fees for our courses, you’ve got nothing to lose by applying for one of our scholarships.

Who can apply?

You’ll need to meet our eligibility criteria to be considered for a scholarship.

Unfortunately, we can’t offer scholarships to everybody. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must:
1. Be aged 13 to 18 for a summer school scholarship, or 17 to 19 for a Thomas Garner Scholarship.
2. Be otherwise eligible to attend one of our courses (for instance; you’ll need to meet the English language requirement for the course you choose).
3. Be able to prove your financial hardship.
Note that not all courses are eligible for scholarships; for instance, EFL courses are not included. You can find the up-to-date list on our scholarships page. We assess the applications of 13-15 year olds separately from those of 16-18 year olds, so if you’re a younger applicant, rest assured that you won’t be having to compete against older and more experienced candidates.

How will my application be assessed?

Applications are assessed on the basis of your answers to our scholarship questions.

Every application is assessed individually, based on your answers to questions, your financial hardship, and any references we may request from teachers. 
As our students come from all over the world, we have a lot of practice at comparing results from different exam systems, so if you come from a country where grading is typically harsh, don’t worry – you won’t be disadvantaged. We’re also aware that students in some countries will have more chance to participate in extracurriculars than others, and we do take factors like this into account when we assess the applications.
Don’t be worried by this process. It’s just to ensure that everyone who needs a scholarship has an equal chance to demonstrate their eligibility and why they deserve one.
Please check our scholarships page for the latest deadlines and requirements.

Is there anything I can do to increase my chances?

Think about how an ORA course will benefit you.

Successful scholarship applicants are all characterised by low income and high academic achievement. Evidence of social engagement is an advantage — for example, in your extracurricular achievements — and providing strong and persuasive answers to the questions on the application form will also count in your favour. You should think about more prosaic things like the length of your answers, too; lots of very short answers will make it hard for us to learn much about you from your application, but very long ones risk having what you want to say get lost in too much detail.
Even before you write your application, there are things that you can do and think about in order to be the best possible scholarship applicant.
1. Ascertain your motivations and aspirations — Before you begin your application, have a think about what you hope to get from attending one of our courses. Obviously, you hope to have a fun couple of weeks (or term, if you’re applying for a Thomas Garner Scholarship) where you learn a lot, but hopefully attending an Oxford Royale Summer Schools course should be of benefit to you beyond that. Perhaps you’re already set on your career goals, and a course such as Engineering Preparation will give you knowledge and direction in achieving them. Perhaps you want to get a taste for a possible career and see if it’s right for you. Or perhaps it isn’t about the long-term for you; perhaps you want to attend our Computer Science Programme because you have a brilliant idea that you want to put into action right now.
Whatever your reasons, knowing them and being able to express and explain them is key. If attending one of our courses will be of benefit to you (and perhaps your presence will even be of benefit to your classmates), explaining that properly will make a big difference in your chances of being accepted for a scholarship.
2. Study hard — An obvious one perhaps, but as academic merit forms a significant part of the assessment process for our scholarships, evidence of hard work (in the form of good grades and strong references from teachers) is vital. Apply yourself to your studies like you’ve never done before — read widely, form intellectual opinions on topics that interest you, take on additional academic work and make sure your teachers know about it. You’ll need to have made a good impression on your teachers, as they’ll be the ones writing your references to accompany your application. When you come to write your application, tell us about the work that you’ve put in.
3. Take part in some extracurricular activities — For many students, extracurricular activities form a key part of their personal statement. That isn’t because they’re going to give a violin recital or demonstrate their prowess at shooting hoops (though those things might be useful for the evening talent show). It’s because extracurricular activities help to tell us a little bit more about what you’re like as a person, what interests you and what motivates you. Our courses are not solely about studying until you drop; they’re also about socialising with new friends from all over the world, and trying out new activities and new experiences. Your extracurricular activities let us know if you’d be able to fit in well and contribute in such a diverse and lively environment.

What are ORA scholars like?

Pictured here is Tehreem, one of our scholars from 2018.

Our scholars are as varied a group as any of our students. In 2018, one of our scholars was Tehreem, from Pakistan, who studied Broadening Horizons. She applied for a scholarship to fulfill her lifelong dream of studying in Oxford, and described her time with us as “an experience that has given me a flavour of how university life feels like and so I am ready for the adventures that await me in my future.”
Another 2018 scholar was Karla, from El Salvador. She studied Introduction to Leadership; coming from a small country, she was keen to represent her home at Oxford Royale Academy. Before her time with us, she had never visited Europe before, but the scholarship gave her, in her words, “the opportunity of meeting amazing friends from all around the world and the memories that will always live in my mind and heart.”
Our scholars come from all over the world, with differing ambitions and aspirations. Some are budding entrepreneurs; others dream of being world leaders; others still, of becoming known for their artistic work. We don’t mind the nature of what you’re striving to achieve, so long as you can demonstrate how an Oxford Royale Academy course will help you get there.

A few final tips for applying for a scholarship

We hope to see you on one of our courses!

Let’s end with a few top tips for applying for a scholarship. Some of these may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many applicants overlook them!
1. Only apply if you know you’re eligible — check the eligibility criteria and make sure that you meet them. For example, your application won’t be considered if you’re above the age limit specified, or if you’re not able to demonstrate that you are experiencing financial hardship.
2. Meet the deadline — you could be the most deserving candidate with the strongest application, but if you don’t submit it before the deadline, it won’t be considered. If you’re posting materials, ensure you post them well before the deadline to allow for potential postal delays.
3. Proofread your application before you submit it — poor spelling and grammar won’t make a good impression, particularly in an application for a scholarship dependent on academic merit.
4. Be bold — you might not be sure you have what it takes to get a scholarship but there’s no harm in trying. Have the confidence to give it a go and you might well find that your faith in yourself is rewarded.
5. Be original — we receive huge numbers of scholarship applications every year so if you want to be in with a chance, think about what makes you stand out from the crowd and make sure what we know about it in your application.
We hope that you’ve found this article helpful and that it’s prepared you for what you’ll need to do to apply for a scholarship. We wish you the very best of luck in your application!
Read more about our scholarships here.