Sutton Trust Summer School

Applications are now closed.

Each year, the Admissions team organises a free week-long residential summer school intended for those studying anywhere in the UK who still have a year to complete at school. The aim is to demystify elite universities and to equip students with the knowledge and insight to make high-quality applications to top universities.

During the week, participants take part in a varied programme of academic and social activities designed to give insight into what university study would be like. Students will live in a university hall of residence and attend academic sessions in two subject areas of their choice. Sessions are also held on the UCAS application process, personal statements and student finance to ensure advice and guidance are given on all aspects of the journey to university.

Sutton Trust Summer Schools are free of charge. Not only is your place free, but we will also pay for your transport, accommodation, food and all activities and resources. There really is no cost to attend.

Explore these pages to find out more about the Summer School, including the different subject areas, eligibility criteria and how to apply. If you have any questions about any aspect of the programme or the application process please get in touch. 

Key information

Date: Sunday 1 July to Friday 6 July 2018.
Type of programme: free one-week taster of academic and social life at St Andrews.
Participants: S5 / Year 12 pupils.
Maximum enrolment: around 130.

Academic programme

Throughout the week you will participate in an intensive programme of academic learning similar to that undertaken by first-year students. You can expect to balance busy academic sessions with a fun and varied programme of activities intended in helping you develop the transferable skills required to succeed at university.

Subject areas

To reflect the flexibility and breadth of the faculty system at our Scottish University, we encourage you to study two subjects during the summer school. Each subject is delivered through a varied programme of teaching to reflect the different teaching styles you will experience as an undergraduate student. You will attend lectures, tutorials and seminars in two subject areas, as well as undertaking both group-work and independent study.

You can choose to study one subject per session:

Session one:

  • Chemistry‌
  • Computer Science
  • English
  • International Relations
  • Medicine
  • Psychology
  • Physics and Astronomy.

Session two:

  • Biology
  • Classics and History
  • Earth Sciences
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Medicine
  • Economics and Management
  • Modern Languages.

Medicine can only be selected once either in session one or session two. You cannot select Medicine twice.

In order to assist you through the UCAS application system, you will also attend seminars on:

  • personal development and study skills
  • writing an effective UCAS personal statement
  • funding your way through university
  • opportunities whilst studying: study abroad and careers after university
  • recreational activities.

Other activities

As you will be living in a hall of residence during the week, you will have the opportunity to participate in a range of social activities during the evenings including sports, beach games, film nights and our popular ceilidh.

Our dedicated team of student ambassadors will also be on hand throughout the week to ensure your experience is a positive one.  The student ambassadors involved in the summer school will be studying a range of subjects and will share their own experiences of going to a university like St Andrews.


The Sutton Trust Summer School is completely free to attend. All accommodation costs and meals will be paid for by the Sutton Trust and the University of St Andrews. Pupils are welcome to bring their own personal spending money for the week.

Who can apply?

This initiative is supported by the Sutton Trust and preference will be given to applicants from state-supported schools who fulfil most of the following:

  • You can apply if you have not yet made an application to university.
  • You are the first generation in your family to attend university.
  • You achieved at least 5 A/A*s at GCSE, 5 A or B passes at National 5 or equivalent.
  • You are taking relevant subjects in relation to the subject stream they are applying for.
  • You attend a school or college with a low overall A-level, Higher/Advanced Higher (or equivalent) point score and/or a school or college with low progression to higher education.
  • You come from a neighbourhood with low overall progression rates to higher education or levels of socio-economic deprivation.
  • You are (or have been) looked after, accommodated or in care.
  • You are in receipt of Educational Maintenance Allowance.
  • You are in receipt of Free School meals.
  • You are under the age of 18 at the time of the summer school.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted through the Sutton Trust website.

Applications for the 2017 summer school are now closed.


Hear from students who have previously attended the Sutton Trust Summer School. 

The Sutton Trust Summer School programme has certainly had an impact on me and my view of going University. The workshops, lectures and getting the opportunity to talk to current students gave a valuable insight as to what it's like to study at university as well as a chance to enquire about the subject I want to apply for and get a rough idea as to how I can better prepare myself for applying to university. The summer school was a great way to make new friends, get useful information and to explore a beautiful place like St Andrews!


I have enjoyed my time at the University of St Andrews Sutton Trust Summer School immensely. It has given me an insight into university life and helped me overcome concerns I had about university. The staff and ambassadors made me feel very welcome and were always available to offer advice. My subjects were all very interesting and the lecturers were enthusiastic. I have gained so much experience and made friends from all over Britain.


After attending the summer school, I have never been more sure that I would like to apply to university. I had previously had many doubts about whether I was going to be able to manage it, but the Sutton Trust Summer School has gotten rid of those doubts and replaced them with hopefulness and excitement. My enthusiasm for maths has skyrocketed, and I have genuinely never been so sure that it is what I would like to study. I have been extremely lucky to have this experience and I urge any eligible S5 pupils to apply, you will not regret it!


As a whole, I feel like this week was an incredible experience for anyone who is thinking about going to university as it gives you an opportunity to experience university first hand and meet a lot of like-minded people who can become really good friends. I would definitely encourage anyone who is thinking about applying to the Sutton Trust to go for it, it is truly an experience of a lifetime.