University Summer Schools for Year 12 (2022 Guide)


best university summer schools for 16 year olds

Pre-university summer schools are a great option for Year 12 students. If you have a bright Year 11 student, they might also be able to apply, providing they will be 16 by August 2022.

My 16-year-old will be applying to uni in a year. She’s currently looking at university summer schools for 2022. It’s a chance to try out student life, explore her subject options and have a new experience.

Finding the best pre-university summer school isn’t easy. There are LOTS of options. Today I’m sharing some of our research. Maybe our hours of Googling can save you some time!


What are Pre-University Summer Schools?

A pre-university summer school is a short course for students aged 16-18. They are designed to help young people experience university life and to be prepared for university study.

They’re also a great way to boost a university application. Attending summer school can help teens with their A-Levels, or demonstrates commitment to a subject. They can also be a great way to build connections with your ‘target’ university.

university summer school 2022

Free university summer schools

If you are from an under-represented community, then summer school could cost nothing at all.

Many UK universities run or take part in ‘widening participation’ summer programmes that allow individual students to attend summer residential courses that focus on learning more about top universities, and how to submit applications. Examples include the Sutton Trust summer schools at 14 different Russell Group universities and the Newcastle Partners Academic Summer School (PASS) programme.

You might also be offered the opportunity to attend a residential placement as part of a 1 or 2 year support programme through your school or sixth form. Schemes like Realising Opportunities and the Cambridge University HE+ programme offer kids support throughout Year 12 and Year 13 with extra lessons, support with applications and practice interviews. These programmes will often provide short, 3-day residential programmes as part of the scheme.

Alongside these schemes, check your local university for schemes that might be subject or department specific.

Who qualifies for free summer school?

To qualify for a free summer school, you will probably need to meet eligibility requirements. They vary slightly between institutions, but generally focus on recruiting bright students who are least likely to apply to top universities.

Students who complete these programmes may be eligible to receive lower grade offers from universities, or guaranteed interviews. Around three quarters of students completing the Sutton Trust summer schools went on to find a place at a top 10 university. This means that competition for spaces is fierce, with around seven applicants for every place.

The more eligibility requirements you meet, the more likely you are to be offered a place. In 2019, every successful applicant to the Sutton Trust’s programmes met at least three of these requirements:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 6-9, including 2 at 7-9
  • First generation in your family to go to university
  • Your home postcode is classed as deprived (check yours here)
  • Your school, college or sixth form has lower than average progression to HE
  • Has received free school meals at secondary school
  • Experienced homelessness, family estrangement or applied for asylum
  • Has a disability or is a member of a minority ethnic group
  • Currently being looked after, or in care (these students are prioritised)
  • Other extenuating circumstances

If you don’t qualify for a free summer school, then you can congratulate yourself on already being in a strong position to apply to university.

You can also still attend a university summer school in Year 12, and there are lots of options. Paid summer schools include STEM weekends, international summer schools and pre-university residential courses for specific subjects. Costs will vary depending on the location and length of the course. Some weekend courses cost as little as £130, while you could pay £6,000 for a two week residential at Oxford or Cambridge.

Generally, the fees you pay will cover tuition and accommodation. Check each course carefully. Some will include private rooms with en suites, meal plans, library and sports access, while others will require you to pay for some, or all meals. And of course teens will expect an allowance for the all-important snacks and souvenirs.

Tips for summer school applications

All of the summer schools in this post accept online applications.

Applications usually open in January and close in June. Do check, because some programmes close earlier. For example, the Durham Uni Supported Progression application process closes on January 21. Providing you meet the academic requirements of a course, places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

When you apply, you will be asked to provide some supporting information. his will include an official copy of your most recent school grades (like GCSE results). You’ll also be asked for an academic reference or letter of recommendation, and you might need to write a personal statement.

How to choose a summer school

When it comes to finding the right Year 12 summer school, some obvious questions to ask are:

  • Is this a course I’d like to study at university and/or will it help my A-Level studies?
  • Does this course help me meet university entrance requirements?
  • Is this a university I think I would like to apply to?
  • Do I meet the eligibility and academic requirements for the course?
  • Am I happy with the accommodation and facilities on offer?
  • Does the course have enough downtime for me to not feel overwhelmed?
  • How much does it cost?

summer school accommodation

Below are some of the best options for students looking for pre-university summer schools for teens in Year 12. For each school, I’ve shared the courses available, along with details of accommodation, extra activities and the likely fees involved. This is by no means a complete list, but hopefully will provide a good starting point!


Best Year 12 University Summer Schools in the UK

kings college london year 12

Medical/Dental Summer Schools

In the UK, the Medical Schools Council is running two summer schools for potential dentists and five schools for potential medical students. Funded by Health Education England, the schools will offer 500 students a chance to study at one of seven UK universities.

There will be residential courses at Leicester (70 places for Year 12 students), Imperial (70 places for Year 11 students), Exeter University (70 places for Year 11 students) and 70 additional places at a course run jointly for Year 12 students at Lancaster, Edge Hill and Liverpool. The dental schools will be run by Plymouth and Kings College, London.

Full details of how to apply will be available on this site soon.

  • Applications for the UCL Year 12 Summer School open on February 10 here.
  • Applications for the Imperial College Year 11 Summer School are open now here
visiting glasgow university

Glasgow University

Glasgow University

Types of course: A STEM course for high school students hoping to study chemistry, life sciences or medicine.

Entry requirements: Applications must include an academic reference stating you are likely to meet the university entry grades, plus a personal reference from a mentor and a “letter of motivation” explaining why you want to attend.

Accommodation: Students stay in single, en-suite study bedrooms on campus, plus a weekend at a science centre at Loch Lomond and varied excursions.

Length: 3 weeks

Dates:  11 July – 30 July

Cost: £4,500 including tuition, accommodation, full catering and recreational programme

Good to know: If a student completes the course they earn 10 university credits (which can be used towards UCAS applications) and score a conditional offer to study at the university.

Find out more: Applications open Jan 20 and details are here


Kings College London:

Types of course: Business management, law, media and culture, international relations, medical science, psychology

Entry requirements: Open to ‘mature, independent’ 16 and 17 year olds. To apply teens need to provide a personal statement and proof of their most recent grades.

Accommodation: Students at the pre-university summer school are placed in single rooms within a single-sex flat housing 6-8 students. There are on-site student guides and 24-hour security, with a 10pm curfew. Catering isn’t included.

Length: 11 days

Dates: 4-15 July or 18-29 July

Cost: £3675 (residential) or £2475 (non-residential)

Good to know: for parents on a budget, you should know that you are required to pay the full cost of the summer school when you accept a place. There’s also a winter online school as a home-based alternative.

Find out more: apply here


Exeter University

Types of course: Biosciences, Business and Law, International Relations, Humanities, Medicine, Sustainability in STEM

Entry requirements: Open to students who are 16-18 on 31 August 2022. Applicants should be “independent, high-achieving students in their final 2 years of high school”. Admission is based on a 500-word personal statement.

Accommodation: Half-board accommodation is provided, students are expected to buy their own lunch on campus. Students are placed in single, en-suite bedrooms with a secure entrance and lockable door.

Length: 14 days

Dates: 24 July – 7 August 2022

Cost: £2600

Good to know: The 2 week pre-uni summer school includes a full social programme, including a day out at the beach with surf lessons.

Find out more: apply here

year 12 summer school 2022

Warwick University

Types of course: Economics and Finance, Social Sciences

Entry requirements: The pre-university summer school is to all, offers are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Accommodation: Students have single study bedrooms with WiFi and en-suite bathrooms. There are shared kitchens available for the school is fully-catered.

Length: 10 days

Dates: 5-15 July

Cost: £3140 (if you book before the end of May)

Good to know: As part of the summer school, students spend two days and one night in London (including a theatre trip) and there’s a visit to Oxford University and one of its colleges.

Find out more: apply here


St Andrews University

Types of course: The Summer Academic Experience Courses (SAEC) are designed to give an introduction to Scottish uni education, and include social science, humanities, Scottish history, management and economics, medicine, physical science, computer science, psychology and sustainable development.

Entry requirements: Applicants are expected to have GCSE Grade 7-9 in most or all subjects, and a positive academic reference from a teacher.

Accommodation: Students stay in one of two halls of residence – single rooms allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Staff are on duty 24 hours a day, and all meals are provided, including a daily packed lunch.

Length: 3 weeks

Dates: 21 July – 11 August

Cost: £4500 all-inclusive

Good to know: The summer school fee covers all meals, tuition and accommodation plus excursions and 2 field trips. This is also one of the most packed itineraries, with students in “classes” from 9am to 5pm with a 90-minute lunch break.

Find out more: apply here

pre university summer schools

University of Bristol

Types of course: Got a budding scientist in the family? University of Bristol offers pre-university courses for Year 12 students focusing on engineering OR veterinary science.

Entry requirements: Applicants are expected to study maths at an advanced level, and have a strong interest in the subject, along with a consistent, positive academic record. For engineering, students must be studying both maths and physics.

Accommodation: You will stay in a single room in a University residence with shared bathrooms. Our secure residences have laundry facilities on-site and 24/7 duty teams, and linens and towels are provided. A meal plan is also included.

Length: 2 weeks

Dates: 24 July – 6 August

Cost: £2495 – £2995

Good to know: Applications to vet school are seriously competitive and this course satisfies the “work experience” element of applying to Bristol’s vet school.

Find out more: apply here


Imperial College, London

Types of course: Alongside regular Sutton Trust summer schools, Imperial offers a ‘work experience’ based summer school, where students can work alongside academic researchers in fields such as bio-engineering, earth science, materials, maths and physics. It’s a non-residential, fully-funded (free) programme running for five days.

Entry requirements: Applicants are prioritised if they meet ‘broadening participation’ criteria but other applicants may be considered if spaces are available. There are pretty strict academic requirements for all applicants, which are: 8+ GCSEs are grade 7-9. Minimum grade 7 in maths and sciences. Currently studying maths and 1-2 science subjects at A-Level. For maths students must be studying Maths and Further Maths.

Accommodation: Not provided

Length: 5 days (one week)

Dates: TBC

Cost: £0

Good to Know: Imperial also offers an amazing pre-university medical school for Year 11 Students, that is free of charge to students from certain parts of the UK.

Find out more: apply here

free GCSE revision resources online

Nottingham Trent University

Types of course: If you have a Year 11 or Year 12 student who isn’t interested in doing a core academic degree but wants something a bit more vocational, then NTU offers a range of “short courses” for 15-17 year olds over the summer covering subjects such as animation, car design, architecture, fashion, journalism and photography.

Entry requirements: Open to all

Accommodation: Not provided as standard but students can book a self-catered, single room with private bathroom at the city campus, which is next door to the university. Students who are under 16 must be accompanied by an adult/guardian.

Length: 5 days (10am-4pm, Mon-Fri)

Dates: Various, throughout August.

Cost: £300-600, secure a place with a £100 deposit

Good to know: Many of the courses will count towards a DofE residential.

Find out more: apply here


Leeds Conservatoire

Types of course: Leeds Conservatoire offers a one-week summer school for pre-university students in performance, theatre or production for students in Year 11 and Year 12. Each workshop also helps with audition prep and university or conservatoire applications.

Entry requirements: Open to all

Accommodation: Not provided as standard but students can book a self-catered, single room with private bathroom at the city campus, which is next door to the university. Students who are under 16 must be accompanied by an adult/guardian.

Length: 5 days (10am-4pm, Mon-Fri)

Dates: 1-5 August

Cost: £540

Good to know: Students from outside Leeds can book accommodation at the Halls of Residence at an additional £260 for 4 nights. At the end of the course, students take part in a showcase for parents and friends.

Find out more: apply here

acting school summer year 12


Immerse Education

Types of course: Immerse Education is a private education provider that runs summer schools exclusively at Oxford, Cambridge and the University of London. Courses are available in a range of 20 different subjects. In 2022 the company has introduced ‘female leadership’ courses open to female students exclusively.

Entry requirements: Open to all, and draws students from all over the world.

Accommodation: Students stay in university halls of residence, in single, en-suite rooms. All meals are included in the programme fee, and taken in the college dining halls.

Length: 2 weeks

Dates: 3-16 July, 17-30 July, 31 July-14 August

Cost: £5495

Good to know: It’s expensive but attracts students from 150 countries around the world. Each year there is an essay competition where potential students can win free or subsidised places on Immerse Education courses.

Find out more: apply here


Leeds University

Types of course: Leeds is offering a short (3 day) introduction to maths course for students in Year 12 hoping to apply to study mathematics at university.

Entry requirements: Open to Year 12 students currently studying maths.

Accommodation: Not included/offered – but if you aren’t local to Leeds, they may offer access via Zoom free of charge.

Length: 3 days

Dates: 28-30 June

Cost: £130

Good to know: Applications for this course are expected to open in January 2022.

Find out more: apply here



Sign up to find out when applications are open for 2022 Summer Schools at Goldsmiths.

Edge Hill

Sign up to find out when applications are open for 2022 Summer Schools at Edge Hill University.


Sign up to find out when applications are open for 2022 Summer Schools at UEA

Food Science Summer School

For the past few years, the UK Department of Food and Agriculture has funded four summer schools for Year 12 students at UK universities looking at food science – previously, these have been held at Leeds, Harper Adams, Reading and Cardiff Met. This is to address a big shortage of skills in the UK food safety sector. I can’t yet see details of these for 2022, but if you have a child studying science, it’s worth keeping an eye out for 2022 information.

Virtual Summer School

Lastly… if you want to stay virtual in 2022, the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education has a whole range of pre-u courses, that will run from 4-15 July and 25 July – 5 August. You can sign up for details when applications open at the ICE website.



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