Finding the right summer school provider for you is an important decision to make and is the first step towards an unforgettable summer. There are plenty of ways to go about choosing which summer school provider to use but some of the crucial elements to take into account include whether they offer insurance, what accreditations they hold and details about the locations in which they operate and details about the courses themselves.
When investigating the fine print, it’s hugely important to understand whether the provider offers insurance for the course. This differs hugely and some providers will offer comprehensive insurance for all enrolled students whilst others might provide it as an additional extra. Some summer schools won’t provide insurance and may instead suggest that students look into getting their own coverage before they arrive.
Insurance is an important factor to take into account as it can cover any medical emergencies, loss of personal belongings, cancellation fees and protection for any injury gained during activities throughout the course. Some summer school providers might not cover travel insurance, such as flight cancellations, so this is something else to investigate when examining the insurance policy offered.
Whilst the best case scenario will see no need to claim against insurance, it’s reassuring for both parents and students alike to have an insurance policy in place to cover any emergency situations. It’s therefore a good idea to check if the provider offers insurance when choosing your summer school and, if they do, to be clear on what’s covered and what other policies you might want to buy to ensure adequate protection and safety.
For many students, embarking on a summer school experience will see them travelling to a different country for a memorable and culturally rich summer study abroad. As such, it can be comforting to find out how many nationalities attend that particular summer school annually to better understand how international the pool of students will be. It also highlights if the summer school is more geared towards international or national students which can be helpful in deciding which institution to choose.
3. Accreditations & Memberships
Accreditations and memberships are awarded to summer schools as a way of recognising that certain standards are met by that provider. Generally, the more accreditations and memberships a summer school has, the higher the standard of their teaching and the better the quality of the programmes available.
Some of the important accreditations to note include the British Accreditation Council, British Council and the City & Guilds recognition. Both the British Accreditation Council and the City & Guilds accreditations indicate that the provider is operating to a high standard and that the educational teaching is of a high quality. The City & Guilds accreditation also specifically recognises the quality of bespoke training programmes and the way they are delivered so is a useful indication of the quality of the provider. The British Council accreditation maintains the quality of teaching of English as a foreign language and is a great one to look out for if you’re an international student heading to the UK for a summer programme.
Some of the key memberships to be aware of are EnglishUK, COBIS and the British Educational Travel Association (BETA). EnglishUK aims to raise the standards of the teaching of the English language in the UK and providers with this membership show their commitment to ensuring a high standard of teaching of English as a language. COBIS members must follow their Code of Ethical Practice, which is intended to make sure that the needs of students at UK educational institutions are best served. Lastly, BETA members join the ranks of leading businesses in the UK associated with student educational travel, so it is particularly advantageous if you’re coming from another country for your summer school experience.
4. Teaching Hours
As a summer school experience is, first and foremost, a great academic opportunity, one of the markers to look out for when choosing your provider is the number of teaching hours on offer. These hours of teaching can include lessons and workshops and are the time in which most of the formal teaching will take place. The number of teaching hours can often be a good indication of the intensity of the course and how much learning you’re likely to get out of the experience.
Some courses might offer additional activities outside of the traditional teaching hours, such as debates or quizzes, and thus the teaching hours are not the only thing to consider but are important to take into account. Some students might value more teaching hours over extra-curricular activities on offer so it can be a useful metric to narrow down your choices.
Although simple, sometimes noting which locations the provider operates in can be a great way to narrow down your options and find the perfect summer school for you. Many students have a rough idea of the kind of cities they might want to study in, so compiling a short list and doing some research on the locations is a good place to start when picking your provider. Some summer schools will have a huge variety of locations in which they operate, whilst others might specialise in a few specific locations, so if you’re stuck choosing between a few different providers this can be a really helpful way to whittle down the options.
Although choosing a summer school is an exciting decision to make, it can be daunting to narrow down the choices when there are so many great academic institutions available. Thinking about the nitty gritty details like insurance, accreditations and memberships are crucial for ensuring you’re getting the best possible experience, whilst details about nationalities, locations, longevity and teaching hours are all incredibly helpful factors to take into account.