The Benefits of Summer School
Date: September 23, 2016
The benefits of attending a summer school are far-reaching, in fact, there are so many social, cultural and academic benefits to attending a good summer school that it is difficult to list them all in one article, but we're going to try. Summer Schools have been in existence in one form or another for many years, with the US cornering the market in University-based summer schools, mainly directed at University aged students. However, over the past few years, there has been an emergence in the US of more university-based summer schools for high school students and the UK has quickly followed suit. With the US monopolising the summer camp market, they have, for many years, promoted and acknowledged the incredible benefits that attending a residential summer camp or school has on young people.
Develops a Social Understanding
If you choose a genuine International Summer School (by that we mean one that caters to a wide nationality mix and does not have a large percentage of one nationality) the benefits to young people are phenomenal. When students from a number of different nationalities are put under one roof, they learn about each other's culture, religion, education, politics, and general thinking. They learn to challenge each other in a healthy and supportive environment and ultimately, bringing people together in an international setting breaks down a number of social barriers, creating a greater social understanding and giving young people exposure to different cultures, helping them to realise we are all connected. Suddenly the world around them becomes more relevant, more connected and in turn, it breeds a much-needed tolerance.
Increases Confidence and Social Skills
One of the most documented benefits of attending a summer school is the confidence it gives so many young people. Many of them have not been away from home for a prolonged period of time and attending a summer school allows them to do so in a supervised and supportive environment that has been specifically designed for them. This new-found confidence is not just social, it can also instill academic confidence depending on the type of summer program chosen. The social skills developed at a residential summer school are far-reaching. Students learn to interact and make friends from day one and for a large number of them, they do so in their second language. For many, this is the first time in a long time that they have had to make new friends or interact with people on a daily basis whom they do not know and which is great practice for entering a new school or when students begin at university.
Develops Academic Skills and Learning
Summer Schools that offer academic subjects can provide a valuable learning environment for students. If the academics are taught to a high level by qualified professionals in an inclusive and safe setting, students can gain university-level academic skills that will benefit them throughout their time at school and beyond. As summer schools often teach in a more experiential way than traditional everyday schools, students are involved in the learning process and this often results in a deeper form of learning and applicable skills. Summer School programs often cover public speaking and presentation skills as well as helping students to develop leadership skills that help them both socially and in an academic setting.
Many summer schools offer English Language courses to those who do not have English as their first language, but for those summer schools who offer a full immersion program, ensuring all aspects of the program are conducted in English, the confidence which students gain in speaking the language along with the level of proficiency in their use of English is noticeable and often commented on by parents. Even better if you can find a summer school that mixes native and non-native English speakers then you really start to see results both in English development and international understanding, summer schools who cater to native and non-native English speakers are not very common but if they tend to be the ones that have a real international student body as well as an exciting mix of academics to choose from.
Gives Students the Edge when Applying to University
University admissions are now more competitive than ever, with students from around the world competing against one another to gain a place in their choice of subject. So how can someone stand out from the crowd when submitting their application? If everyone is achieving the required grades, participating in extracurricular activities at school, taking on volunteering roles and generally going the extra mile, is there anything else that can be done to make university applications stand out?
Students who choose to spend part of their summer holidays studying, meeting people from around the world and having new cultural experiences demonstrate a willingness to learn and experience new things, a trait admired by university admissions teams. Spending the summer taking an academic class and engaging in activities in a residential setting identifies to the admissions team your eagerness to learn and stand out from your peers. Summer school students also gain a number of skills that can benefit them if and when they are invited to an admissions interview.
Promotes Physical Activity
More and more young people spend long periods of time inside, choosing to play on electronics rather than taking part in sport or spending time outdoors. Summer schools that have a good activity schedule promoting outdoor learning and activities have the added benefit of encouraging students to get outside and take part in physical activity. Many summer schools have a robust evening program calendar, with a number, if not most, of the evening activities being held outdoors and getting students involved in sporting activities that encourage teamwork and communication skills whilst building their confidence.
Creates International Friendships
Attending a summer school allows students to meet others like them of a similar age, but from all over the world! Giving them the opportunity to make friends from different cultures and backgrounds. Every summer we see students developing friendships and it is incredible watching these friendships grow year on year as they stay in contact, visit each other in their home countries, meet up at university and go on to become friends long after their summer school experience.
Summer School has been a life changing experience for our family. I recommend the experience highly without reservations. Three of our five children have attended ISSOS. Our daughter attended two years in a row, taking Creative Writing and Theater. Going to summer school helped her get into University and influenced her subject choice. The teachers from many different backgrounds are bright, energetic, and leaders in their fields. The students are truly an international mix, with no one national group more than 10% of the whole group. 3 of our children benefited from summer school, finding friends from all over the world and have kept up with many through the years.
The Flowers Family, USA
ISSOS International Summer Schools
ISSOS has been promoting the benefits of summer schools for many years. We believe that attending a summer school which offers a truly international student body of over 70 nationalities, promoting high-quality academics and electives which are taught by fully qualified professionals in 3 of the worlds top universities: St Andrews, Cambridge & Yale, can benefit young people in a way no other experience can and in ways that last far beyond their time at summer school. We hear of friendships that have lasted years after ISSOS and students who have visited one another in their home countries. We have stories of students who had no idea what they wanted to pursue at university or beyond and who have taken part in an academic or elective at ISSOS which they have found a passion and interest in, going on to pursue this both during their study and professional careers.
We have 100's of wonderful testimonials from parents and students talking about the benefits of attending summer school and we are so proud and happy to see the impact that ISSOS has had on so many young people.
Attending a summer program like ISSOS allows students to experience life away from home, meaning they are better prepared for when the time comes to leave for university. Furthermore, a summer program enables young people to study a subject they may not have the opportunity to take at high school, but which intrigues them and sparks a potential university course and/or career choice.
Summer schools are also a lot of fun! Where else can you spend 3 weeks at a top university campus, with people from different nationalities who all have a common goal – to learn new skills and meet new friends? Attending a summer school is the perfect way to introduce a young person to life at university in a safe environment and takes the mystery (and sometimes trepidation) out of what living away from home will be like.
Anyone looking to experience a summer program can find more information about ISSOS International Summer Schools and what we offer here: ISSOS Website