Sixth Form STEM Summer Schools
Sixth formers Maryiam, Huray-Buse and Sydnella talk about their STEM summer schools
During the summer holidays a group of Year 12 students attended the ‘Next Step York’ summer school held by the University of York, where we stayed on the university’s campus for 5 days. The week started with the early commute to York, where we were greeted by current university students and met some of the other students in our groups. Throughout the week we carried out a range of activities, including academic sessions such as physics and economics, as well as student life sessions where we were able to learn about the lifestyle of a university student. We did this through participating in activities about budgeting and learnt a few tips about surviving the first year of university. We were also able to do sessions which were inspired by university societies or clubs, such as debating, cheerleading, and drama. To further prepare us for university and to strengthen our applications, we attended personal statement writing and interview skill workshops. We were also given some free time to explore the city of York and it's town centre, and visited the York Minster as well as other popular spots in the town. We ended the week with a Mexican-style Fiesta, where we shared our fondest memories of the week and celebrated the successes of the summer school. Overall, it was a great experience as we were able to meet new people and form new friendships as the summer school involved students from all over the country, allowing us to connect in ways we wouldn't have been able to otherwise. We also gained a lot of transferable skills which can use in professional environments, and this experience deepened our understanding of university as whole. We all had a lot fun and created memories we’ll never forget.
During my year twelve summer, I took part in two summer schools, one for King’s College, University of London (spotlight summer school) and a Sutton Trust Cambridge University Geography summer school, both of which I've enjoyed immensely. My spotlight summer school was part of the 2 year program, which I signed up for in November 2016, which I’ve attained lots of important skills from, such as personal statement tips, public speaking skills, revision techniques and university life skills to name a few. In addition to this, each day we attended academic sessions Tutored by a PhD tutor qualified in that subject! Our subject was Explosive Chemistry (analytical and forensic), at the end of which we had to submit a 2500 word university level assignment on, which was graded in a university style fashion (1st, 2:1, 2:2). At the end of this, not only did we get feedback for a piece of university style assessment as practice for university, but we were also offered a variable offer worth 2 A- level grades! (40 UCAS points). On top of that, we were given tickets to visit the shard, and even taken out to pizza express one of the evenings.
My second summer school that year was at Cambridge university (Churchill College), which was for geography, a subject I plan on taking at University. We visited the botanic gardens, and had to conduct and deliver presentations regarding an investigation we carried out prior to this analysing the demographic and sales popularity and statistics of a business district. The accommodation was excellent, and I’m still friends with some of the people I met there, who were all fellow geography lovers! It was great to exchange ideas with others, and the teaching was exemplary.
To conclude, I believe that a summer school equips one with highly recognised experience that universities hold with high esteem, and you’ll also come away with experience and knowledge regarding university and the things that your desired subject will entail.
Participating in the Imperial Summer School programme gave me a deeper insight into the different engineering branches. The location and status of the university attracts some of the world’s top university lecturers and whilst there, we got the opportunity to go to various lectures and do workshops. In an electrical engineering workshop we were able to create and code own mini “mind reader” which used electrical signals from our fingertips to predict our answers to close-ended questions. We also coded motion tracking devices which displayed real time images of someone walking down spiral staircases, and we also got to use the newest technology to code virtual cards and birthday messages. A workshop on design engineering lead us to design and create our own robots which were then faced off in robot battles. The weeklong sessions helped us explore new engineering sectors.