Are you eager to start your graduate journey as a Masters student? Do you feel like you need some preparation or would you like to experience your new study environment before you even apply? If you have several weeks to spare in the months from June to August, summer school might be of great help in all those areas.
Why is summer school good for you?
Universities, and educational institutions as a whole, are highly invested in the success of their class participants. When students are eager to gain more knowledge and perform well, the process has a positive impact not only for them, but for the institution and the education sector as whole. Everybody wins! This is why there is an abundance of bootcamps, language courses, and other short-term programmes conducted during the summer holidays in many parts of the world. Depending on the subject you pick, your summer programme will be an excellent preparation tool not only for a particular field, but also for your approach to studying and socialising.
Even more importantly, it can set you up for success if you are planning to enrol at the same school for your Masters degree. Take the Preparatory English Language offered at the London School of Economics (UK) Summer School as an example: “This course will help you take notes more efficiently during lectures and train your discussion skills, so you can be confident in expressing your knowledge during classes. […] By putting you in groups with peers who have elected to take similar courses to you, Preparatory English Language is also a great chance to learn and use subject-specific terms with your peers.”
What types of summer courses are there?
Summer school programmes are delivered in a variety of formats and by different institutions. In this way, everyone can tailor their learning experience according to their specific goals.
Some people specifically choose to attend summer courses at a university, and especially at one where they would like to enrol for their Masters degree. Opting for a university-hosted summer programme enables students to immerse themselves in a diverse academic environment on campus. If you would like to make up your mind about a particular school and experience its international culture, this could be the option that suits you best.
If you want to explore a specific travel destination or dive into the university of your dreams, you will have a range of alternatives to choose from. Nottingham Trent University (UK) and its Global Summer School offers a total of 25 courses which can be arranged in a two- or four-week format. English Language & Culture, Journalism from Stadiums to Studios, and Entrepreneurship and New Venture Development are just some of the appealing courses available in Nottingham over the summer.
Similarly, HEC Paris (France) has 11 summer programmes in its portfolio which are “open to university students and recent graduates seeking to deepen their learning and expertise.” The specialisations are dedicated to business and management and range from Corporate Finance to Statistics and Business Analytics.
What if you found the perfect type of summer camp, with the topic, location, and format that you were looking for, but it is not organised by a university? Plenty of training centres and institutions focus specifically on teaching subjects appropriate for different age groups outside of school. Whether it is a language centre or an organisation with a broader target, you can expect a high-quality learning experience as long as you make sure the place has a good reputation and teachers are certified within their field.
Take as an example Oxford Summer Courses – an organisation which was established in 2010 to help students of various ages dive into the learning environment of Oxford. Although it has no formal connection with the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and London, the institution uses those universities’ facilities to provide accommodation for summer camp students. The founders of the course centre, as well as many of their tutors, are also Oxford University graduates themselves. This type of arrangement enables students to get an idea of university life first hand.
Learning does not end with your Masters diploma. As schools around the world are paying more and more attention to lifelong education, you may be able to take advantage of short-term summer courses even after graduating from university. Institutions are well aware of the fast-changing nature of work and so, many of them offer learning packages available for alumni. You never know what opportunities are open to you as some universities such as Vanderbilt in the US are even committed to organising classes for people who are 50 years old or more.
“Summer, with its generally less hectic pace, is an ideal time for many of our students to be in the classroom,” says Norma Clippard, Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt. “We are delighted to offer these intellectually stimulating topics in a relaxed and supportive environment.”
Regardless of the subject or language you wish to explore, summer school will help you kickstart your graduate study adventure and pave the way to a more well-prepared university experience.