Summer School Scholarships: the Complete Guide

summer-enrichment-scholarshipsOxford Royale Summer Schools summer school students enjoying a smart party at Eynsham Hall. Copyright (c) 2013 Oxford Royale Summer Schools – All Rights Reserved.

At Oxford Royale Summer Schools, we believe that superlative education should be available to everybody, regardless of their financial situation in life.

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To support this aim, we offer generous scholarships for bright 13-25 year olds from less well-off backgrounds attending a number of our summer school programmes – scholarships that can reduce your course fees by up to 100%.
This could mean that you can enjoy the opportunity to attend one of our courses free of charge, paying only for your travel expenses. We’d like to answer some of your questions about scholarships and also look at some of the alternative financial aid options that may be open to you if you’re not successful in your application this time round.

Why apply for a scholarship?

Image shows the stunning dining hall of Balliol College, Oxford.
The Dining Hall at Balliol College, Oxford.

You don’t need us to tell you again that the primary reason for applying for a scholarship is that you can get a reduction in your course fees of up to 100%. But is it worth the effort of applying? If you look at the numerous benefits of attending an Oxford Royale Summer Schools course, we’re sure you’ll agree that it is. Such reasons include:
– Experience UK university life – you’ll have the chance to study in the beautiful and scholarly environs of university building in Oxford, London and Cambridge and see what it’s like to be a student in the UK.
– 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.
 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.
Study with brilliant academic minds – our teaching staff are brilliant minds and respected in their field, and you’ll be able to learn with and be inspired by them.
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.
Be a tourist – 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, Stonehenge and Warwick Castle.
If you love the sound of all this, but your family isn’t in a position to support you financially, you’ve got nothing to lose by applying for one of our scholarships.

Who can apply?

Unfortunately, we can’t offer scholarships to everybody. To be in with a chance of securing one, you must:

  • Be aged 13-25
  • Be eligible to attend one of our courses
  • Be able to prove your financial hardship

Note that EFL courses are not eligible for scholarships. We considering the applications of 13-15 year olds separately from those of 16-18 year olds and 19-25 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?

Your application for a scholarship will be assessed on a number of criteria. For Oxford Royale Summer Schools, these are:

Image shows a man, effectively in silhouette, balanced on one foot at what looks like the very peak of a mountain, with further snowy peaks in the background behind him.
Tell us about your achievements.

– Your grades –– we’ll look at your exam results and predicted grades.
– Your extracurricular activities and achievements — we’ll look at what you’ve achieved away from the classroom to gain some idea of your social capabilities.
– Your references –– you’ll need to supply excellent references from your teachers.
– Evidence of financial hardship –– we’ll need to see evidence that you truly need a scholarship.
– Your answers to questions — as part of your application, you’ll need to answer a few questions to help us understand your motivations for applying.
If you’re applying for funding from somewhere else, there may be additional information required, such as:

  • Your CV
  • Your career intentions
  • A description of what the funding is for, including costs

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.

Is there anything I can do to increase my chances?

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.
To give yourself the best possible chance of a successful application, however, there are a few things you can be doing in the run-up to completing and submitting your application form.
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. Consider what you think you could contribute in a classroom and social environment whilst on the course, and get clear in your head about what you want from your university career and beyond. You’ll need to answer questions about all this as part of your application, so you’ll be in a better position to apply if you’re clear in your own mind about why you should be considered for a scholarship. What’s more, you’re more likely to convince someone else that you should be given a scholarship if you’re firmly convinced about how attending an ORA course would benefit both you and those on the course with you.
Study hard

Image shows a young woman playing a violin.
Extra-curriculars will enhance any application.

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.
Take part in some extracurricular activities
Your extracurricular activities and achievements are important too, and you’ll need to detail them on your application. If you don’t currently take part in any, now’s the time to get involved in a new hobby or sport. A summer school is a highly sociable environment, in which you’ll be expected to mix with other students from numerous nationalities and backgrounds, and you’ll need to be able to contribute effectively to group discussions and tasks. Your extracurricular activities show that you have a diverse range of interests and can mix well with other people; sports, for instance, demonstrate strong teamwork abilities.

What other funding is available?

If you weren’t lucky this time round, there may still be other financial aid options open to you. Here are some places you can look for funding opportunities.
Your school or college
Some schools and colleges offer travel grants for bright students who want to study abroad in addition to their regular studies at home. Ask your teachers whether any funding might be available to you and explain why you feel that attending a summer school or enrichment programme would help you do better in your exams and university application.
Your local authority
You may be able to find funding for educational projects via your local council or Local Education Authority, or a locally-based charity. Find details of your local council via the website. Here’s an example of the grants available from Leicestershire County Council, some of which are applicable to 16-18 year olds’ educational needs.
A local charity

Image shows a keyboard with someone sitting at it, holding a credit card.
There are lots of funding options out there, so be sure to take the time to look.

You may find a charity in your local area that offers educational funding to students from poorer backgrounds. To give you an example of one, the Sir Philip Reckitt Educational Trust, or SPRET, is open to residents of the East Riding of Yorkshire, Hull and Norfolk, and pays grants towards travel and maintenance for educational projects in the UK and abroad. This scheme, in common with many others, requires students to submit a report, perhaps in the form of a diary, within three months of the end of their period of study.
The site has a comprehensive database of academic scholarships and allows you to narrow down available scholarships to those relevant to what you’re studying, where you’re studying and where you’re from.
The site focuses on funding specifically for studying abroad, and as such, it may prove a useful resource for international students wishing to apply for an Oxford Royale Summer Schools course. Again, you can narrow down options by location and subject.
Fafsa — or Federal Student Aid — is part of the U.S. Department of Education, and provides financial support to US students, including those who wish to study abroad. It costs nothing to submit an application, so if you’re from the U.S. it could be worth a try.
Though not offering scholarships, is a student loan comparison site aimed at U.S. students, and helps you research a different funding option. Taking out a loan may be a possibility if you’re not able to access full funding for your course upfront but can afford the repayments.
Family Action
The Family Action site has a search facility to enable you to find educational grants that may be available to you. You’ll need to fill in a few questions first, but these don’t constitute an actual application — it will bring up funding possibilities with contact details so that you can then apply yourself.
Not all the above options will be relevant to you, and many of the scholarships and grants you’ll come across using these resources won’t be applicable to you. However, it is certainly worth doing a bit of digging, as there are a surprising number of grants, bursaries and scholarships around if you know where to look for them. The search facilities above should give you the best chance of finding funding for which you are eligible.

A few tips for applying for a scholarship

Image shows sand running through an egg timer.
If you miss the deadline, you can’t be considered.

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!
– Unless you’re eligible, don’t bother — don’t waste your time applying for a scholarship unless you genuinely believe yourself to be eligible. 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.

– 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.

– 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.

– Include all supporting materials
— ensure you include everything you’ve been asked to include, such as references, copies of certificates if requested, and so on. Double-check your application before you send it off to make sure everything that needs to be sent has been included.
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.
Image credits: dining hall; mountain; violin; credit card; hourglass

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