Do Students need to be fluent in English to take these classes?
All of our classes are taught in English, so we do need you to be able to understand, and be understood. But you do not need to be fluent in English. We have outlined the language levels that we recommend for each class here (at ISSOS, we use the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR)):
English Language: Suitable for ages 13 - 18 with language proficiency level of A1 - B1/2. Students at B2 should consider other academics (for instance Debate or Study Skills) and those at C1/2 level will be too advanced for this class.
Debate: Suitable for ages 13 - 18 with English level B2 and above
Study Skills: Suitable for ages 15 - 18 with English level B2 and above
Business & Entrepreneurship: Suitable for ages 13 - 18 with English level B1 and above
Creative Writing: Suitable for ages 14 - 18 with English level B2 and above
Youth Leadership: Suitable for ages 13 - 18 with English level B1 and above
IB Extended Essay: Students taking this class must be writing their Essay in English, and must arrive with an Essay topic already approved by their school
Journalism: Suitable for ages 13 - 18 with English level B2 and above
The levels are explained as follows:
A1: Beginner: Can understand and use very basic expressions, introduce themselves and can interact simply as long as the conversation is slow and clear
A2: Elementary: Can understand frequently used expressions in common topics (ie family, shopping etc) and can communicate routine in simple terms
B1: Intermediate: Can write simple texts on topics of personal interest, and can understand conversations about family, work, school, and describe experiences, events, ambitions, opinions, and deal with most travel situations
B2: Upper Intermediate: Can both understand and write more complex text, and can spontaneously interact with other without too much strain for either them or the person they are speaking to
C1: Advanced: Can write and understand much longer texts, and can understand and be understood in nearly all social, academic and professional settings at more advanced levels of conversation
C2: Proficiency: Can understand almost everything written or heard with ease, and can express themselves using precise terms in complex scenarios
What happens if a student catches Covid while they are with you?
If UK Government guidance dictates that isolation is still required by summer, we will be fully ready and prepared to implement isolation/bubble systems if/when needed. We are working closely with our university partners to make sure that we have the additional space needed to isolate anyone who returns a positive test, or who is deemed as a close contact with a positive test.
For students, we will have staff members who will supervise them in isolation to make sure that they are safe.
I do not want my child to share a room with an unvaccinated student, is this possible?
In Cambridge, all of our bedrooms are now single rooms with ensuite bathrooms, so there will be no need for any students to share.
In St Andrews, some of our rooms will be shared between 2 students. If you feel strongly about vaccination statuses please let us know and we will do all that we can to make sure that your son or daughter shares with someone who is also fully vaccinated.
Again, we do anticipate that the vast majority of students will be fully vaccinated and we will have a range of Covid safety procedures ready to implement at our campuses, in line with Government guidelines and as deemed necessary at the time.
Do students need to be vaccinated against Covid 19?
This depends on the campus you choose.
Students attending ISSOS at Yale will need to be vaccinated. Details of Yale's vaccination policy can be found in this document.
For students attending ISSOS at St Andrews or Cambridge vaccination is not mandatory, but we do encourage anyone who is eligible to get the vaccine.
From experience in the summer of 2022, the vast majority of students were fully vaccinated. We will also have a range of Covid safety procedures ready to implement at all of our campuses, in line with Government guidelines and as deemed necessary at the time.
What does your insurance cover in relation to Covid?
The insurance we provide for you covers certain aspects of unexpected costs due to Covid 19. Full details of what the policy covers will be provided when you apply.
It does not cover the cost of any cancellation of your place prior to the start of the programme in the event of force majeure, or any changes to travel plans before arriving at ISSOS. For example, if your son or daughter tests positive for Covid 19 and is unable to travel to the UK, our policy will not cover this. Similarly, if borders are open and our programme is running but you simply decide not to attend, our policy will not cover this. We strongly recommend taking out your own insurance policy to cover any cancellation or additional cost because of Covid 19/force majeure event.
What if I am too worried about the risk of travelling and change my mind?
We fully understand that some people still have questions about travelling. However, if you choose to book, but cancel purely because you are worried about travelling, we would not be able to refund any fees.
We advise that if you are significantly worried about the risk of Covid 19 during travel that you wait until nearer the summer to book your place. At this point any risk around Covid 19 could be reduced even further and you may feel more comfortable travelling again.
What if travel restrictions do not allow us to travel? Or, any quarantine restrictions are imposed that would make it practically impossible to attend?
We are fully confident that our programmes will run as planned this summer, but if Covid causes a change of circumstances in your home country, we are offering the following:
- The ability to transfer your place to summer 2023
- The ability to switch your place to a family member/friend
- A refund of tuition fees if you are unable to travel due to Covid 19 restrictions in your home country (Time constraints will apply, please contact our Admissions Director for full details firstname.lastname@example.org)
- In the highly unlikely circumstance that we are forced to cancel the summer school due to Covid again, we will refund your tuition fees.
At all times, we strongly recommend taking out your own insurance policy which will cover you in the event of any cancellation or additional costs due to Covid 19/force majeure event.
What is the current travel guidance for coming to the UK and USA?
You can find the most up-to-date official UK Government advice on travelling to the UK here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Advice for travelling to the USA can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/proof-of-vaccination.html
Please note: regardless of the rules for entering the United States, ALL students attending our Yale campus will need to be fully vaccinated.
You can also read our Covid 19 Statement, which includes advice and guidance on our plans for this summer and updates on travel.
We will update our own page regularly, but please note that it is your responsibility to check the UK and USA Government official guidance to make sure you have all the necessary documentation prior to travelling to the summer programme. Again, ALL students attending Yale will need to be fully vaccinated, regardless of the rules for entering the USA. Please also check the rules in your home country for the requirements that you will need for returning home after the summer programme. It is your responsibility to book and pay for any testing measures that will be needed.
Who can apply?
We welcome applications from every nationality around the world. We accept over 150 students to each campus but numbers are limited to 10% from any one nationality so that the ISSOS experience remains truly international and students can make friends from all over the world.
Our campuses at St Andrews and Yale are for students aged 13 - 18 years old, and our campus at Cambridge is for students aged 16 - 18 years old.
How long until I hear if my son/daughter has been accepted?
Our business hours are Monday - Thursday, 9 am - 5 pm. We aim to respond to all applications submitted during this time within 24 hours.
Applications and enquiries submitted outside of our business hours will be responded to as soon as possible on our return.
Do you have academic acceptance criteria?
No. We don’t ask to see students’ grades on application because we believe in education in the broadest sense, educating and enriching hearts AND minds. So everyone can have the chance to experience our programme irrespective of their academic grades.
What is the teacher reference used for?
This is used to gather additional information on a student, and for those who have English as a second language it means we can establish if they have chosen classes that will give them the best possible experience at ISSOS.
The academic/elective that I want is not showing on the application form?
First check that the class is definitely offered at the campus you are applying for. If it is, but it’s still not showing on the application form it may be because that class is already full. We recommend picking your second choice and letting us know on the application form that you would like to move to the other class if a space becomes available.
Are you affiliated with the universities you operate from?
No. We run our programmes from the university campuses but we are an independent company. We employ our own staff and design our own bespoke, award-winning summer programmes.
Do students need to speak English all the time?
Yes, ISSOS is a fully immersive programme and English is spoken at all times. Our students come from all over the world and speak lots of different native languages, so using English is the only way to be inclusive to everyone. Speaking English all the time is also the quickest way to improve if it is your second language.
Is ISSOS fun for students who attend?
Yes! Not only are our classes fun and engaging, but outside of class time students will join a Clan, take part in a varied and exciting evening programme of events, go on day trips to nearby cities and generally have the summer experience of a lifetime with their new friends.
Do you offer financial aid or scholarships?
Unfortunately we cannot offer financial aid or scholarships. We suggest speaking to your child’s school, or local government body to see if any help is available in your home country.
Will I get my £500/$500 registration fee back if I change my mind?
If you change your mind within 14 days of us accepting your application we will refund the registration fee. Please take note: Once a place has been offered and 14 days have passed, the registration fee is not refundable for any reason
When do I pay the remaining balance/tuition fee?
The full balance is due 21 days after you receive an acceptance email from us.
What does the cost include?
ISSOS is an all-inclusive programme. Your programme fees cover transport to and from the designated airport and our campus, accommodation, all meals, insurance*, wifi in bedrooms, all meals, 45 hours of academic tuition, 36 hours of elective tuition, course materials, all day trips and excursions, evening activities, Sunday workshops, Insurance, ISSOS clothing and merchandise, cultural events and the ISSOS Highland Games.
*(for full details on what is covered please see our Visas and Insurance page.
Will we need to apply for a visa?
Entry requirements for the UK and USA will differ. Please check the visas and insurance page of our website for information about how to find out if you need a visa and how to apply. For students who do need a visa, we can provide the support documents that you might need.
How are students supervised?
We have a team of Counselors who are dedicated to supervising and looking after our students. When students arrive at ISSOS they are placed in groups with others of the same age and gender and each group is assigned their own Counselor. All of our Counselors live in the same area of accommodation as their students, and are there to wake them up, walk them to their classes, hang out with students after evening activities and generally offer support and make sure their students are happy throughout the programme.
Will students get free time?
The ISSOS schedule is very busy and there are always lots of things going on, but students will get some free time every day. After evening programs, and for shorter times throughout the day there are lots of chances for students to relax, go to the shops for snacks, or hang out with friends.
What about safety around the campuses?
The safety and well-being of our students is our number one priority and throughout the three-week programme they are well supervised at all times. When students arrive they are introduced to their counselor who is there to look after their welfare. Counselors wake students up, go with them to breakfast and walk them to classes. In the evenings students take part in our Evening Activities Programme and have a curfew of 10pm when they must be back in the accommodation to meet with their counselor. All students must be in their rooms by 10.30pm and it's 'lights out' at 11pm.
All 3 of our campuses, at St Andrews, Cambridge and Yale, are well known as safe university towns and campuses, offering a secure environment for students to enjoy their summer and explore their independence. There are staff available 24 hours a day and when students have free time between 4-6pm, they are able to explore the campuses under the supervision of staff.
Do students need insurance?
A: For students attending St Andrews and Cambridge: ISSOS provides basic travel and medical insurance. This covers their time at ISSOS but will not cover any travel before or after the program. You will receive a copy of the insurance documentation when you have completed the application process and paid in full. For more information on the policy we provide please visit our visas and insurance page.
A: For students attending Yale: ISSOS provides medical insurance only, and we strongly recommend that all parents purchase travel insurance in addition to this. Our medical policy covers their time at Yale but will not cover any travel before or after the program. You will receive a copy of the insurance documentation when you have completed the application process and paid in full. For more information on the policy we provide please visit our visas and insurance page.
Are there rules, and what if a student breaks them?
Our rules and regulations are included in our terms and conditions and by submitting an application all students agree to follow them. The consequences of breaking the rules will depend on the individual circumstances. However, it should be noted that ISSOS has a zero-tolerance bullying policy and prohibits the use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs/legal highs and we reserve the right to dismiss a student at any time, without refund of program fees.
Who will meet my son/daughter at the airport?
ISSOS staff, wearing our uniform and carrying an ISSOS sign, will be at the specified airport to meet students on opening day and will take students to the campus by bus. Our counselors will meet the students when they arrive at the campus and will help them to unpack and settle in. Please note students must arrive at our designated airport and between the specified times on opening day in order to be met at the airport. You can find more detailed information about arrivals and departures here
What if we cannot find a flight to the right airport, or at the right time?
If you are having problems finding a flight to suit please call our office for assistance. We can arrange for a private pick up for any students who arrive at a different airport, or out with bus departure times, but this will be at an additional cost.
What should students pack?
When your application has been accepted we will send out our information pack which will give you information about what to pack as well as our contact details, travel tips, laundry, clothing, trips and general information. You can also download a copy of our parent information pack here.
We encourage all students to travel with just one suitcase (golfers can bring golf clubs as an additional item) and to pack lightly to avoid excess baggage charges.
Will students be in a shared bedroom?
The majority of our rooms are shared by two students, who will be the same age and gender as each other. We do have some single rooms but we cannot guarantee these to a particular student. If you are sharing, you will be with someone of a different nationality and you will not be able to share with someone you knew before arriving at ISSOS.
My son/daughter would like to share a room with their friend, is this OK?
We do not allow friends or students who already know each other to share rooms. We have a very successful rooming policy that is designed to help students build new friendships with students from all over the world. Most students who come to ISSOS arrive alone and do not know anyone else, so with this in mind we encourage our students to mix with each other and make the most of this truly international experience. For more information please read more about our rooming policy
Do students have access to a laundry service?
Yes. All of our residences have laundry facilities and our staff will tell students how and when to use them. All students are given a laundry bag when they arrive.
Can you cater for different dietary requirements?
Yes. After your application has been accepted you will be asked to complete our Student Information Form. This must be filled in and this is where you can let us know of any special dietary requirements/allergies that we need to be aware of for your son or daughter.
I changed my mind about the classes I applied for, can they be changed?
If we have availability in a different class before the summer school starts, we will do our best to change you to a different class. Once the summer school has started, it is not possible to change classes.
What if a student doesn’t like their class when they start?
If a student does not like their class they should let their Counselor know and they will speak to the Head Counselors. They cannot guarantee that students will be able to move classes but they will try to see if a switch can be made.
Will my son/daughter receive a certificate for completing ISSOS?
Yes. All ISSOS students will get a Certificate of Completion as well as a full Academic Report, written by their teacher. This is posted to students after the summer school session has ended.
What qualifications do your teachers have?
We take pride in finding highly qualified and motivated staff for our campuses, all of whom must be cleared by the Criminal Records Bureau.
The teachers we hire are not only highly qualified in their respective subjects, but are successful, working professionals in their fields. All of our teachers are passionate about their subjects and are dedicated to making learning fun and bringing out the best in every student.
Our counselors and campus management teams are all highly experienced and have a passion for working with young people. Many of them are also teachers in their full time jobs but they are all motivated and dedicated to making sure that all of our students have a truly unforgettable summer.
Our Tennis and Golf coaches are professional sports coaches, fully accredited by the LTA and PGA respectively, and any outdoor activities are led by qualified instructors and are subject to detailed risk assessments.
How many students are in a class?
This will depend on the subject. For instance, a debate class may have up to 20 students per class, so that students can get the best experience and learn how to participate in lively group debates. Other subjects may be smaller with only around 8 - 15 students per class. All of our classes are run by highly qualified teachers who will make sure that every student gets the individual attention that they need.
Explore the programme
Find out more about the Academics, Electives and Activities that we offer at our summer school campuses in Scotland, England and America