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Summer School Checklist for Oxford Summer Courses

With the countdown to our next summer courses well underway, we know you want to be as ready as possible when you join us in the summer. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of considerations and pre-course arrangements to consider ahead of time. 

Making arrangements for your summer course can be easy to neglect; as something that can be done later, or nearer the time, or not at all – “I’ll just sort it out when I get there…”

But, there are some very key details that need to be in place prior to you even departing for Oxford or Cambridge; just think how you’ll feel when the British weather decides to show its true self and you’ve left your raincoat at home!

Time to get planning...

Before you arrive: Oxford Summer Courses Foundations

When you pay your full course fees, you’ll be given access to Oxford Summer Courses Foundations - our new self-paced online learning course to complete ahead of your arrival.

Designed to help you prepare for your in-person experience, everything in our Foundations course will help you make the most out of your time with us. From teaching you the in’s and out’s of what to expect during a Tutorial, to reading lists and insider recommendations for where to go in your chosen city, you can expect plenty of  detailed information sheets, fun quizzes and activities, and plenty of downloadable resources to print off and bring along with you.

There’s no better way to prepare for your summer school.

What to expect when you arrive

Want to know what your summer will look like? Keep reading for an overview of what you can expect when you arrive here with us. 

An international community

One of the greatest things about our summer courses is the international communities our students build. During your time on your course, you’ll be joined by students from all different cultures, backgrounds and languages. 

One of our most diverse summers yet was back in 2019 when we welcomed students from over 119 different countries, and we can’t wait for that list to grow over the next year.

Embrace the highly international group and take the time to get to know your course mates. You’ll learn so much about different countries and cultures, and may even find a new best friend from halfway around the world. It’s a fantastic opportunity to expand your international network, make new connections, and build on your knowledge of the world.

A busy schedule of learning and fun activities

On our website, we provide timetables on each course page which detail what a typical day will look like and what is included as part of your programme.

Mostly, this will be made up of learning periods: seminars, tutorials (for ages 16+), workshops, seminar and/or tutorial preparation. But in your free time, we’ll plan lots of fun, interactive activities for you and your course mates, including free time exploring the city, dining out, as well as day trips to some of the UK’s most prestigious sites and attractions.

For a more comprehensive outline of what to expect when you join us, pre-course information will also be sent out prior to the course start date with further information. Please consult these materials, or contact us if you are still unsure and our team will be happy to help.

Photography and videography

Whilst you’re with us, you’ll be making friendships and memories that will stay with you for a lifetime. 

So whilst you’re busily enjoying yourself, we will be capturing footage and images to share on our social media channels and website, which you’ll be able to look back at once you get home.

A particular highlight for many students is graduation evening on the last Friday of your course, where you will enjoy a traditional Oxbridge formal meal and then be presented with your certificate of course completion. A photographer will be there to capture your special moments from your final evening with your course mates which you’ll then be able to access on our alumni site, Bridgemark Network.

Contests and competitions

Our on-course team is always looking for ways to make sure you’re having a great time with us. And something they love to get up to is run contests and competitions among the different Student Families.

During your time with us, you can expect a whole range of fun activities to win prizes. From hidden treasure hunts around the cities to putting your photography skills to the test, be sure to get involved and try and score some wins for your team!

Watch our webinars for more information on what to expect

Want to hear from our team and alumni about what you can expect from a summer course with us? We run regular webinars in the run-up to our courses, giving you and your parents the opportunity to gain a better understanding of what your summer could look like, as well as answer any questions you might have. 

If you’ve had an application approved to study with us, you’ll receive emails from us about any upcoming webinars. For any that you’ve missed previously, you can catch up on any of the webinars we’ve already run on our website.

Don’t forget to share your experience

One more thing to remember, get social! Tell your friends where you are and what you’re doing on social media leading up to your arrival and during your time with us. 

You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat. We’ll be watching for any standout snaps or videos!

Summer school checklist: What to pack

Now you know what to expect when you arrive, it’s time to get planning what you need to pack in your suitcase!

Ensure key documents and materials are in place to enable you to travel (if necessary), and then make sure you have what you need for your stay with us. 

One can never predict the British weather accurately. Even in summer, sunshine is not guaranteed and rain is never avoidable. First advice is to pack clothing suitable for both warm and cool weather.

Campus life is casual, and this is the typical student dress code during the day during our summer courses. Evening events may require slightly dressier attire such as skirts or dresses, and trousers and shirts.


  • Day to day: Comfortable and casual clothes. You’ll be doing lots of exploring around your course location, as well as visiting interesting places here in the UK during your day trips. It’s important to experience this in comfort. A pair of good walking shoes is a must.
  • Weather protection: English summer demands an umbrella, and sun protection cream, sun hat and of course, a pair of Aviators.
  • Sports Activities: We love heading out into the parks, so make sure you bring something comfortable to wear whilst taking part in sports.
  • Graduation: It’s your time to dress up! Bring something formal/smart to wear on your special day.
  • Juniors: Note: If you’re attending our junior program, please also bring an item of swimwear with you.


  • A laptop: This is essential for completing any assigned work (such as essay writing) and to conduct research – but don't forget the charger!
  • A notepad: An essential to jot things down quickly when in the classroom.
  • Stationery: Pens, pencils and rulers etc.


  • ID Document (i.e. passport): You will need your passport if you are travelling from overseas to the UK. We will collect this from you at the start of the course to ensure that it is looked after. We will also use this to verify your identity ahead of the programme.
  • Other travel documents: You may also need a visa - for this, please check on the UK government website. You can apply for this visa 90 days before your arrival and we will send supporting letters to all students that need it 100 days before the course start date. 
  • A mobile phone: This is important for us to contact you during free time and day trips. It also gives you the chance to maintain contact with your friends and family at home. Whilst you will not be able to use your phone during class time, there will be opportunities to reconnect throughout the day.
  • Essential toiletries: Sun cream, toothbrush & toothpaste, shower gel & anything else that you might need.
  • Medication: You’ll also need to let us know what you intend to bring ahead of arrival. We’ll be sending out a key information form closer to the start of your course in order to collect this data.
  • A day bag: Necessary to carry all your classroom supplies, as well as water and lunch for day trips.

Ready to apply for Oxford Summer Courses?

For a once in a lifetime experience, join us for summer 2024 where you can discover over 40 academic subjects taught by expert tutors. You’ll also meet other like-minded individuals from around the world and make friends for life! Apply today and choose from 2 stunning locations; Oxford and Cambridge.

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Get ready for your Oxford Summer Courses experience. Complete the online Foundations course. Expect an international community, busy schedule, photography, contests, and webinars. Pack clothes, laptop, ID, toiletries, and optional items like a camera. Apply now for Oxford or Cambridge.

Limited Places Available!

Don't miss out! Limited places are available at our renowned summer school. Secure your place today and dive into an unforgettable learning experience at Oxford Summer Courses. Apply now before it's too late.

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Oxford Summer Courses is an organisation which contracts with the colleges of the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London for the use of facilities, but which has no formal connection with the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London.
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