UK Summer Schools icon
Year 12 (England & Wales), Year 13 (Northern Ireland) or S5 (Scotland)
1 week

What the programme offers

Experience university life

Experience university life

Spend a week at one of our 13 partner universities to experience what university life really looks and feels like. Our Summer Schools are completely free so you can get to know your chosen university, no matter where in the country you’re from.


Academic taster sessions

Academic taster sessions

Explore academic taster sessions in your chosen subject. Choose from over 40 different courses, from Archaeology and Anthropology to Veterinary Medicine. With over 15 hours of teaching at undergraduate level, you will get the chance to dive deep into subjects that you are passionate about. Going beyond the school curriculum, your academic sessions will provide you with material to use in your personal statement.

University application guidance

University application guidance

You will take part in workshops that will help you navigate UCAS and write the best personal statement possible. You will find out about how to apply for student finance, what the availability of bursaries is and how to manage your money whilst at university. 

Social activities

Social activities

You will take part in a range of social activities, designed to help you make friends with other students on the Summer School and unwind after jam-packed days! Depending on your programme, these will range from tours, to trying out new hobbies with university societies, to film nights!

Who can apply


Students applying to UK Summer Schools must meet the following criteria:

  • Attend, and have always attended, a state-funded, non fee-paying school/college
  • Be in Year 12 (England and Wales), Year 13 (Northern Ireland) or S5 (Scotland) at the start of the programme

In addition, we are looking for students who:

  • Have achieved at least five GCSEs at grades 9 – 6 (A*-B), including English and Maths. A minimum of two of these qualifications should be at grades 9 – 7. Or five A or B grades at National 5 including one A
  • Would be the first generation in their family to attend university
  • Have been in receipt of Free School Meals whilst at secondary school
  • Live in a neighbourhood with a low rate of progression to higher education or a high level of socio-economic deprivation
  • Have attended schools with a lower than average progression to higher education, or a higher than average proportion of students who qualify for Free School Meals
  • Have been looked after or in care

The more criteria you meet, the more likely you are to get a place on the programme. Not meeting all of the additional criteria will not disqualify you.

The highlight for me was taking part in academic sessions with some of the best academics in Cambridge. Being able to experience two personal tuition sessions on a subject I'm really passionate about absolutely made my week! Ellie, Gateshead, UK Summer School 2019 - University of Cambridge
The programme increased my confidence in applying to medical courses. I now plan to pursue an undergraduate degree in medicine. I walked away with an understanding of what student life at Cardiff University is really like- all while making new friends! Dylan, Wallasey, UK Summer School 2019 - Cardiff University
Taking part in the summer school has helped me gain confidence. I feel like I'm a competitive applicant now, while before I just thought it would be lucky if I was offered a university place from any institution. Samira, Manchester, UK Summer School 2019 - University of Cambridge
The programme helped show me that university is definitely the right choice for me and that I can cope with moving to an entirely new place and make friends without having to worry at all. If you’re still on the fence, I'd say go for it. You have nothing to lose and an amazing experience waiting for you and you will meet the best people. Jacob, Warrington, UK Summer School 2019 - University of Nottingham

How to apply

Applications for the UK Summer Schools 2023 are now open. Please apply for the programme below.

To find out more about the programme including courses, university partners and dates click the link here

Of our latest cohort


The proportion of students who would be the first in their family to attend university.


The proportion of students who were eligible for Free Schools Meals.


The proportion of students who met three or more of our programme criteria.

Programme Impact

UK Summer Schools students are:


more likely to apply to a leading university


more likely to receive an offer from a leading university


more likely to accept an offer from a leading university

Partner universities


The Sutton Trust is incredibly grateful for the generous support that make our programmes possible. Special thanks to:

Explore other Sutton Trust programmes