Life at the Academy

Who attends the Oxford Summer Academy?

It's not your average teenager who is willing to give up part of their summer to do more studying, which makes the students who attend the Oxford Summer Academy a very select group of like-minded people. The course appeals to students from all over the world, including the UK and Europe, America, Russia, Asia and Australia. But even with some of the brightest minds, nerves about what may happen on the course are normal. We're here to help from the very beginning. We can help you select the right set of subjects and to ensure that the academy is the best place for you. Just follow the links on the left to read what students and parents have said about us, to read our student magazines, or to watch short films and interviews from previous years.

Planning your Journey and Arrival at the Academy:

St Edmund HallWe will send you an information booklet covering all aspects of the academy, including information on VISA applications through to what to bring with your on the course. We can arrange a transfer to pick you up from the airport. The driver will wait for you at arrivals, with your name held up so you can clearly see them. They will then bring you directly to St Edmund Hall. Alternatively, details of public transport are given in the FAQ section. Parents are very much welcomed to accompany students to the academy.

When you arrive at St Edmund Hall, the first thing you'll see is the porters' lodge. Here you will be given your room number, wi-fi password and other information you may need. You will be taken your bedroom where you can securely store your luggage. Once you're ready, the academy staff will welcome you for registration and to give you your folder with all the course information including your timetable. We are here to help you with questions about any aspects of your stay, even where the closest place to buy a phone charger is if you find you forgot to pack it! 

After registration and until the formal welcome reception, your time is your own. We can recommend places to visit in Oxford, and a good coffee shop to wake you up after a long flight! Late afternoon we hold a welcome reception, followed by dinner. This gives students (and their parents) a chance to meet other students, staff and tutors. Dinner is usually followed by a scavenger hunt or a quiz to ease everyone gently into life at the academy. Curfew, like on all other nights, is 22.30. At this point students will be required to sign in with their warden (residential member of staff), and make their way to bed.

A Typical Day at the Academy:

OSA students discussingStudents help themselves at breakfast time in the canteen at St Edmund Hall. On the first morning of the academy, students are walked over to Oxford International College, where their lessons will take place and an induction and a brief speech from the course director will take place. Students following the academic classes will study their major and minor options in the mornings, along with any additional classes they have selected. Career path students will have a seminar covering the academic theory needed for their chosen career. 

Lunchtime gives students a chance to explore the local area, and to try out the various types of food on offer here in Oxford.

Students on the academic route will have their elective classes in the afternoon, usually at Oxford International College, but for choices such as photography, students will be taken to off-site. Students on the career path route may have a seminar from someone within the industry, or a practical session. Following this, students have some free time. This is often a popular time for students to explore and enjoy the town and their new environment in small groups. Oxford has plenty of beautiful natural spots like parks and rivers, as well as a lively centre with plenty of shops and cafes.

Dinner is a formal meal back at St Edmund Hall, where students are served once they are all seated. After dinner our varied programme of social events take place until bedtime at 10.30pm. 

The days generally follow this format, with private study sessions timetabled so that students can complete the assignments set from their classes.

Excursions and Theatre Trips:

We also have a number of excursions and theatre trips during the course. Generally we travel to the location by coach, and then have a guided tour of the area. The days also include some time for students to explore the locations themselves, so they can visit further places that are of most interest to them. The students taking the career path options will have trips to businesses and/or facilities connected to their specific area. 


PuntingTowards the end of the course, some of the electives create work that can be shared with the rest of the group. The first of these is the debate night, where the public speaking and debate group pick a topic of particular interest to them, and then debate in front of the rest of the academy. On the final day, the photography group put on an exhibition of the pictures they have taken, which we like to enjoy with tea and cake! 

The course culminates in a gala dinner evening.