Why is Summer School so Expensive?

Attending a summer school can be a really exhilarating opportunity. The chance to study subjects you’ve never even heard of, receive world-class teaching and make international friends for life will shape your future forever.

But there’s no denying it: summer school is expensive. The reason why the best summer schools are so expensive lies in a variety of factors, from the quality of teaching and extracurricular activities they offer, to the food, pastoral care and accommodation.

There’s no getting round the fact that once-in-a-lifetime opportunities can be pricey. But the wisest investments are the ones that pay off for a lifetime. For example, attending a summer school means you’ll make key connections with industry experts (very useful when you take on the job market), as well as discover your passions and direction in life.

In this article, we’re going to explore 9 reasons why summer school is expensive, and how you can know whether a summer school is the right choice for you or your child.

Why is summer school so expensive?

Summer school is so expensive because it is an investment which pays off for a lifetime, and offers unrivalled teaching with elite tutors, the highest standards of safety and pastoral care, top extracurricular activities, excellent meals and accommodation, world-class guest speakers, career sessions and CV workshops with experts, and highly academic and practical courses.

Let’s dive right in, and look at 9 reasons why summer school is so expensive.

9 reasons why summer school is so expensive

World class teaching

You can tell the quality of an Oxford summer school by its teachers, and the variety of courses it offers. The top Oxford summer courses will offer courses to spark every possible passion, from archaeology, law and medicine, to genetics, robotics, coding and creative writing.

You can expect to be taught by world-renowned Oxbridge scholars, Ivy League professors and leading industry experts, whether you’re studying Film or English Literature. If you’re studying a science or medicine based subject, expect to be taught by leading neuroscientists, clinical psychologists, medical researchers and more. Any good Oxford summer course will mimic the Oxford style teaching, keeping small, select class sizes and a high number of teaching hours (more than 40 hours of contact time for students aged 13-18, for example), so you can get the most out of your top-quality tutors.

Safety and pastoral care

Your health and safety is the number one priority at summer school, whether you’re travelling abroad to summer school or you already live in the UK. It is right that all necessary expenses are incurred to ensure an exceptional safety and pastoral care system, so that you can enjoy summer school knowing that every attention is being paid to your safety, comfort and emotional and physical well-being. At a top Oxford summer school, you can expect the strongest safety culture, and careful and robust monitoring of students through procedures which are attentively followed by all members of staff. As well as your academic tutors, you’ll have a team of summer school counsellors who will oversee your programme and check that you are cared for pastorally, and experience a culturally and socially rich summer.

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.

In order for you to make the most of summer in one of the most beautiful, ancient and famous cities in the world, your summer school needs to provide the best entertainment, and this costs money. However, enjoying sumptuous balls and glittering parties as a reward for all your hard work is well worth it for many. 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 the time of your life, 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. Organising exciting trips to famous locations in the UK, and making sure you get to experience the very best of what this country has to offer, means that summer schools have to incur certain costs. 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 Hampton Court, the famous palace of King Henry VIII.

Accommodation and meals

The chance to actually live in the famous Oxford colleges that tourists can only dream of entering is central to the Oxford summer course experience. As you can imagine, this isn’t cheap to organise but spending two weeks in dining halls and libraries centuries old and sleeping in the same dormitories that Oxford University students occupy during term time, means that there is no better way to experience life at the University of Oxford.

You could spend the summer living 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 famous dining hall of Balliol College, with its stunning vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows. You’ll inhabit the same spaces as kings (King Henry V, who won the Battle of Agincourt, stayed at The Queen’s College), and walk in the footsteps of the most brilliant figures in history.

The very best summer schools will make a point of having you dine every single night in the actual dining halls of your Oxford college, so you can truly experience life as an Oxford undergraduate.

Experiencing student life at the University of Oxford

Top Oxford summer courses don’t just invite you to live in college at Oxford University, they give you the most authentic experience of life as a student of the University of Oxford. While this isn’t cheap to arrange, you’ll get access to the most exclusive locations in the university, usually only open to Oxford students. You’ll absorb life changing knowledge in ornate university settings 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).

The very best 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 a particular career or industry. This is advice and support will help inform important decision you make in life, from the university you apply to, to the career you choose.

Access to better universities

If you’re aiming to study at world-leading universities like the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, there are few better ways to prepare than attending a summer school set in their prestigious colleges.

For example, one of the most important aspects of your UCAS application is your personal statement. While the chance to get detailed advice and support of university academics and experts when it comes to writing your personal statement doesn’t come free, it’s definitely an important way to write an outstanding, successful personal statement, as you’ll be getting the advice of the people who really understand the system. A top Oxford summer school will give you a huge amount of help, including talking through what you should and shouldn’t focus on (although it must be entirely your own work), and guide you to produce a first draft of your personal statement nice and early, so you can just focus on refining it when the time comes to send your UCAS applications.

A top summer school is such good preparation for university level study, because you’ll experience true undergraduate life, taught by Oxbridge tutors and Ivy League lecturers. The best Oxford summer schools will offer the same select, tutorial-style teaching and seminars as a top university, so you’ll quickly get used to this intense and immersive way of learning, and be well-prepared for both your university applications, potential university interviews and university itself. You’ll gain skills in communication and self-expression as well as a fascination with the subject you’re studying, which will easily get the attention of the universities you apply to.

If the course you want to study at university requires an interview, for example, Medicine courses and Oxbridge courses, you’ll need to be prepared. Top Oxford summer schools will have courses which include interview practice as standard, where you can practice discussing your potential course and why you have the skills to be accepted to it with academic experts in the field. While these added privileges don’t come cheap, top Oxford summer schools realise the importance of preparing you as soon as possible to excel at university, and get an edge over the competition.

Top CV advice and career benefits

The best summer schools know what it takes to break into the job of your dreams. Top summer schools will have connections with world-class industry leaders and will run professional clinics and sessions with them so that you can find out exactly how to excel on job applications and interviews. These don’t necessarily come cheap, but the best summer schools will understand the importance of engaging experts to impart their knowledge about the job market.

Not only this, but having spent a summer studying in the environment of the best university in the world (the University of Oxford) with world-leading tutors means that you’ll learn things, improve your grades and increase your passion for a subject in a way that could give you access to better universities. This will have a powerful effect on your CV, as you’ll be able to put a top university down and impress your future employers.

Attending an Oxford summer school can have an excellent impact on your CV, and give you an edge over your peers. In many courses, for example, Business and Coding courses, you’ll create your own professional product, gaining the same skills as industry experts, and you’ll be able to put on your CV that you, for example, created and marketed your own app, and have learned the professional skills involved in that process.

Highly practical and academic courses

If you’re spending the summer at a top Oxford summer school, you can expect really extraordinary courses in a diverse range of subjects, whether you want to study an arts or science topic. Providing this level of professional teaching and learning does incur a few expenses, and explains the overall cost of an elite Oxford summer school. You won’t just be sitting in a classroom learning and regurgitating theory, you’ll be putting what you learn from the finest tutors in your subject into practice through debate, and creating your own projects and experiments with cutting-edge, professional equipment and access to the latest thinking around your disciplines.

For example, at Oxford Royale Academy, you could be studying Coding and Robotics, in which you can create your own computer programmes and code a robot to navigate a maze. Or you could pursue a Film Academy course, and learn the whole process of video production, from initial idea to shooting and editing, all using the latest Apple Macs and Final Cut Pro .

An investment that pays off forever

The wisest investments are the ones which you see returns on for the rest of your life. They’re the choices you make to improve your CV or resume so that you end up in a lucrative career, or discover your passion in life. Attending a top Oxford summer school means you’ll make valuable connections with industry leaders (vital if you’re keen to work in certain sectors), receive a truly world-class education in a cutting-edge subject, whether that’s Robotics or History and make friends from all over the world. If attending an Oxford summer school and enjoying these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, gives you the drive to pursue the university course or career that you want, and believe in yourself academically, the money you spend now will be returned to you constantly for the rest of your life, from the salary you’ll make, to the workplace skills and cultural capital your course gives you.

Now that we’ve covered why summer schools are so expensive, and all the life-changing experiences you can have at summer school, we hope you’ve found this a useful read. Remember that the best Oxford summer schools will only give you a truly authentic experience of Oxford University life, so if you are going to make the investment, make sure you choose a school which is committed to to helping you experience every aspect of a world-class university.