March 23, 2015, by studentcontributor

Summer school opportunities

ellaHello, I’m Ella and I am a third year medical student.

Applying for medical school is notoriously competitive and involves being very proactive in your extra-curricular activities. During the summer before applying to university, like many other prospective applicants, I spent as much time as possible trying to gain work experience which I could include in my personal statement.

Unsure of what to do?

As well as work experience in a hospital and a primary school, one of the things I was lucky enough to do was to attend two summer schools. At the summer schools, I lived on campus with the other participants for a week. During the days we would attend lectures in our chosen subjects whilst later on we would get involved in all sorts of different activities – from sports to finding out about societies. The week then finished with a graduation.

The weeks at summer school were definitely a high point in my summer – not only did I massively enjoy the medicine course and therefore reaffirmed my wish to go to medical school, I also got to meet people from different parts of the country and had a lot of fun in the process!

Try something different – be brave!

One of the most nerve-wracking things about going to university has got to be worrying that you won’t enjoy medical school or university life. What better way is there to try the university experience for week and challenge this fear head on? Naturally being a shy person, I was scared of this but after going to summer school and seeing for myself that moving out isn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be, I was a lot more confident at the prospect of moving out for university.

Get incredibly helpful advice and support with your application

At the summer schools, I received lots of advice about the application process – from writing a personal statement to practicing my interview skills in a mock interview. This type of support was priceless when it came to actually applying to medical school, as it meant that I could start my preparation very early – especially when it came to writing my personal statement.

Furthermore, being at a residential summer school meant that I could speak to a number of uni students who were my ‘ambassadors’ for the week and also studied medicine. This meant that I could pick their brains at any point of the week about anything and everything to do with medical school, which definitely demystified a few myths about it!

Where to go for summer school?

Many universities offer summer school programmes or courses, so you are only an internet search away from finding out if a university offers one. One to look out for is the Sutton Trust Summer School (, which has partnerships with many universities (including the University of Nottingham) and is entirely free!

Nottingham Summer Schools

The University of Nottingham itself runs two summer schools which offer medicine – the Nottingham Potential and the Sutton Trust Summer Schools, so if you are interested in attending Nottingham for medical school, I would suggest applying to these!

A benefit of these summer schools is that you are assigned an e-mentor who will keep in contact with you throughout the year after summer school, and will therefore advise you whilst you are applying to university. They can also help you with other topics related to university, such as what type of accommodation is best or how student finance works. As well as this, there is also currently a grant which allows you to receive £1000 per year that you are in university if you have attended the Nottingham Summer School and then have gone on to study at the university.


Posted in Medicine