Choosing an Online Summer School Programme

21 Jun, 2023 | Online Summer School

An online summer school programme is a great opportunity to get a head start on your future with the comfort and convenience of being able to study from home. In a changing world, online learning is quickly becoming an appealing choice for lots of students, meaning there are a variety of online summer school opportunities to choose from. 

With so many options available, it can seem daunting to decide on just one, so we’ve come up with a step-by-step guide to help you choose the perfect online summer school programme for a productive summer break!

Decide on Your Goals for the Summer

Before choosing an online summer school programme, it might be helpful to spend some time considering your personal goals and objectives. What do you hope to achieve? What do you envision your summer looking like? 

Summer school courses are an excellent way to gain a thorough understanding of what it’s like to study your subject, and to show your passion for the field in your university applications. They can offer you insight into possible career paths you would like to pursue, or even ones you’d prefer to avoid entirely. 

That’s why it’s so important to choose a programme that aligns with your academic interests, career aspirations, and skill development, to make your summer break both productive and enjoyable. Reflect on your strengths, the subjects that you enjoy, and what you find fulfilling. 

Our Career Test for high school students is a great place to start when considering your personal preferences and aspirations for your future career.

Research the Different Programmes Available

To make sure the programme you choose aligns with your goals, it’s important to do your research when exploring different online summer school programmes. There are a range of available options to choose from, with a variety of subjects and formats. Some prominent types of online summer school include:

  • Academic Programmes that allow you to explore your chosen subject beyond the typical school curriculum.
  • Language Immersion Programmes that expose students to the language spoken by native speakers.
  • Cultural Exchange Programmes that focus on giving students the opportunity to share experiences with others from around the world.

When conducting your research, be sure to use a variety of reputable online resources and seek out student recommendations for a more objective understanding of the options available.

Consider the Structure and Format of the Programmes

When deciding on an online summer course that’s well-suited for you, it’s important to consider factors such as course duration, teaching methods, and how flexible the course schedule is. 

How many weeks would your ideal summer course last? Do you need more flexibility when it comes to class times or deadlines? Does the primary teaching method match well with your learning style? If you learn best through doing and you’re given opportunities to put what you’re learning into practice, you’ll have a much more enjoyable experience than if you’re enrolled on a course that is solely delivered through lectures!

Similarly, if you prefer working in small groups, you ideally don’t want to choose a course with large classes, so consider the environment and structure that you work best in to make sure the course is a good fit for you.

It’s also a good idea to evaluate if you’d prefer your course to be delivered through live classes or pre-recorded videos. Live classes offer real-time interaction between tutors and students, and a sense of community that more closely resembles an in-person classroom, whilst pre-recorded videos offer flexibility and self-paced learning which is great for accommodating busy schedules. Both have their pros and cons, and there is no right or wrong way to learn, so reflect on your individual preference.

Assess Credibility and Reputation of the Online Course Providers

It’s also a good idea to assess the credibility and reputation of online summer school programmes and institutions. When choosing a course, keep in mind things like accreditation, faculty qualifications, and institutional rankings.

OxBright student choosing an online summer school.

Review the Different Curriculum and Course Offerings

As well as considering the programme structure and format, you should also check the curriculum and course offerings of online summer school programmes to make sure they also align with your personal interests and academic goals.

It’s helpful to consider the diversity, depth, and relevance of course offerings. You can reflect on your current knowledge of your chosen subject, and what skills or learning you’d like to gain throughout your summer course programme. Is the course offering the kind of content that you’ll find useful moving forward in your academic career?

Consider the Support and Resources on Offer

Another important aspect to consider when choosing an online summer school programme is the amount of support that’s available. Think about how much contact time students have with their tutors and lecturers, the access to academic resources like online journals and databases on offer, and any additional learning materials that you might need like software or subscriptions.

Evaluate Costs and Financial Aid Options

Any online summer programme is an investment in your future, and it’s beneficial to evaluate the costs, and be aware of any financial aid options that may be available. There are various costs to a summer programme, including tuition fees, materials, and potential additional expenses, so consider your personal budget when choosing a course. 

Don’t forget to check for scholarships, applicable grants, or discounts available! Many programmes will offer more affordable ways to participate. Here at OxBright, we provide a targeted programme of support in partnership with children’s charities, as well as a range of free, open access academic resources, as part of our commitment to offer support all students.

Seek Reviews and Testimonials

Finally, seek reviews and testimonials from a programme’s alumni. Who is more qualified to recommend a course than the students who’ve experienced it first hand? Look for reviews from past and current students of online summer school programmes to gain first hand insight into a course.

Although it can feel overwhelming to choose an online summer school programme, if you follow these tips, it’ll be much easier to find an online course that you’ll enjoy. Once you’ve settled on your ideal type of online programme, check out OxBright’s online summer school courses, to see if we’re a good fit for you!


By Amy Alsop

Our Content Editor, Amy, writes and edits content across our blog and resources. She graduated from Lincoln college, University of Oxford, where she read English.

Looking to boost your university applications?

Recommended articles

Which Career Is the Best Fit for Me?

Which Career Is the Best Fit for Me?

Choosing your career path is one of the first big steps you’ll take as a young adult, so it can often be a daunting prospect. However, the possibilities are endless, and as long as you base your choices on your personal preferences, passions and interests, your...

read more
How to Make a Study Schedule That Actually Works

How to Make a Study Schedule That Actually Works

Studying can sometimes feel like a daunting task, no matter how old you are or what level you’re studying at. You might be left thinking: How can I balance academics with my other commitments?  How do I stay consistent with a study schedule?  Is there a “good” or...

read more