What is a summer school?

The thought of the long summer holidays stretching out before you is a joyous one for many youngsters, but many might be wondering how best to use all that free time. Some parents might also be anxious, thinking about how best to keep their kids entertained and make sure they don’t fall behind when the new school year starts.

That’s why many people turn to summer schools as a way to fill the summer holidays with something exciting and productive.

If you’ve never experienced a summer school before, then you may be unsure about what courses are available, who can attend, and what to expect in general.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what summer schools are and whether they are the right choice for you or your children.

What is a summer school?

Summer schools are courses that pupils attend over the summer. These courses include subjects you’ll find in schools like maths and science but can also cover topics you’d find in a university such as politics or law. These courses usually last at least a week and take place during the summer holiday for schools or universities. Summer schools are usually residential, with some hosted in boarding schools, and some in universities, and welcome international students as well UK-based students to stay for the duration of the course. Summer school pupils can even get the chance to live and study on world-famous university campuses, with access to the same teaching facilities as the students attending university there.

International summer schools can be found around the world, from Japan to the United States, and give students the chance to learn about different cultures and languages, make new friends and deepen their academic knowledge.

If this sounds like something you or your child would be interested in, then read on!

Is summer school worth it?

Budgets are being squeezed up and down the country, and as such many will be looking to cut unnecessary expenses. Many parents will therefore be asking themselves if summer school is worth it.

The fact is that attending a summer school can improve your career prospects, help students struggling with a particular subject and improve their confidence, give students a taste of university life and allow them to explore a new city (or even a new country) in a safe environment.

Studies have shown that studying abroad can help you to find a job. Taking the chance to attend an international summer school abroad will not only boost your future CV, but also give you a chance to improve your language skills and make lifelong connections.

Many parents worry about their children falling behind their classmates when they rejoin school in September after the long summer months. This is known as summer learning loss. Research in the US found that children lose up to 40% of the gains they made at school over the summer period. Attending a summer school gives students the opportunity to brush up on their learning skills and keep up with an academic routine.

The chance to explore a new place and live independently can give many students a great confidence boost and allow them to get a taste of university life before they commit to a course or college.

All these factors make attending summer school worthwhile. Students from all around the world apply for these programs, and they represent an exciting opportunity for students.

What will you learn at summer school?

Students will find a range of academic programs to choose from when attending a summer school.

For those who want to improve their performance at school, there are plenty of subjects like maths, languages and economics, allowing students to really immerse themselves in these areas. Small group tuition and lectures from university professors give students access to high-quality education that they may not access otherwise.

Some students might be considering studying something like law or medicine at university, and want to experience a taster of what the course might be like before they enrol at university. Summer schools offer students the chance to experience these courses and help them decide if they want to pursue a career in their chosen subject.

International students will have the chance to improve their language skills if they choose to study abroad at a summer school outside of their home country. The ability to speak more than one language will not only enhance a student’s career, but studies also show that people who speak multiple languages have better memory, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Most summer schools will also organise trips in and around the town or city where they’re based, giving students the chance to learn about the history and culture of their new surroundings.

Who can attend summer school?

Summer school isn’t just limited to school-age children. There are summer schools that offer places to adults considering a new study path or a career change.

Older teens who are deciding on their future careers or university choices are catered for at summer schools. Primary school and secondary school age pupils are welcomed at various summer schools, with courses to suit all age types.

How to find and decide on a summer school

Finding a summer school that’s right for you takes considerable thought. Before you pick a summer school, it’s worth considering the following questions:

  • What do you or your child want to get out of the experience? Do you want to learn something new, get to know a particular university or immerse yourself in a different culture?
  • Are you or your child confident with the idea of studying abroad? Some children are more independent than others, and some are home birds. There’s nothing wrong with feeling a little nervous about being away from home for the first time and being in a new country speaking a different language can be a daunting experience. Summer school should be fun, so if you think the experience would be too overwhelming, then consider a summer school closer to home.
  • What courses are there available? And what is included on the course you want to study? Some students might want to focus on STEM subjects, while others prefer creative subjects like performing arts. Make sure the summer school you choose reflects your or your child’s interests.
  • What is the accommodation like? Some summer schools give students the chance to live in university accommodation, while others allow you to stay with a local family.
  • What teaching style works best for you? Do you prefer written work or debates? Do you work best when collaborating with others, or in one-on-one tutorials? Check what kind of teaching you can expect at your preferred summer school.


A summer school gives students the chance to experience university life and trial courses that they might be interested in studying further. It gives children the chance to focus on subjects more deeply than they would in school and allows students to explore other countries and cultures, all while making new friends and experiencing new things.

These short courses offer students the chance to make the most of the summer and come away with new knowledge and lifelong connections. No wonder students from around the globe join these courses every year.


TBN Editor

Time Business News Editor Team