A view of Canterbury Quad at St John's College, Oxford through the archway
A view of Canterbury Quad at St John's College, Oxford through the archway

In Oxford

There are a range of opportunities for students and teachers from the South East region to visit Oxford. These are summarised here and listed in our event calendar. Please note that some events take place during school and so need to be booked by your school.

All in-person outreach events are currently suspended until further notice. We will provide updated details here if and when the situation changes. Thank you for your understanding at this difficult time, and please feel free to make use of our online resources until the below programmes are able to resume.

For students: Study Days, Subject Exploration Days and other day-long visits (Year 12) | Residential Courses (Years 11-12) | Open Days (Years 11-13) | UNIQ Oxford (Year 12) | Target Oxbridge (Year 12) | Oxford Pathways (Years 10 & 11) | Visit Oxford (all years)

For teachers: College Visits | Open Day Accommodation | Teacher Summer Schools | Inspirational Teachers Awards

For families: Open Days (Years 11-13) | Visiting Oxford

For students

Study Days, Subject Exploration Days and other day-long visits (Year 12)

Oxford for South East colleges offer a number of different opportunities for high-achieving Year 12 students to visit Oxford for a day to experience higher level study in their chosen subject.

  • St John’s College
    • Subject-specific study days: Biomedical Sciences, Medicine and Geography, Psychology, Maths and Economics run full-day study days for non-selective schools only. These run for one full day in College and include student-led sessions, lunch in Hall, academic lectures and discussions with tutors.
    • Subject exploration days: Classics, History, Theology and English run joint selective and non-selective school study days with lectures and workshops. These run for one full day in College and include student-led sessions, lunch in Hall, academic lectures and discussions with tutors.
  • St Hilda’s
    • Taster sessions: throughout the academic year St Hilda’s offers some taster sessions. These are a chance for students to further explore their subject and get a taste of what it is like to study at a university. More information about taster sessions and other events at St Hilda’s can be found on our website.
  • Somerville
    • Y12 Study Days: Held over the course of the academic year, these are events for non-selective schools only. Students have the opportunity to attend an academic session with an Oxford tutor in various subjects, chat to current students, learn more about the admissions process and attend a virtual Q&A panel with current students and staff about life at Oxford.
  • St Hugh’s
    • We run numerous and wide-ranging taster day visits to St Hugh’s and Oxford throughout the academic year; these can be more general exploration days or dedicated to a particular subject. Such visits are opportunities for students to experience life at Oxford, talk to current undergraduates, as well as to find out more about applying and their subject of choice. More information can be found on our website.

Residential courses (Years 11-12)

Oxford for South East colleges run a number of residential courses for students. These courses are free of charge and are targeted at students who attend non-selective state schools. They give students the chance to develop their subject understanding and study skills whilst staying in college and meeting Oxford students and academics.

The courses are held during various school holidays and have different application deadlines, so please click on the courses below to find out more.

  • St John’s College: Our Year 11 Summer School is part of our Year 11 Inspire Programme. Find out how to enrol on this year-long course here.
  • St Hilda’s: We offer UNIQ during Easter school holidays for Year 12 students – please see the UNIQ section below for further details.
  • St Hugh’s: We work with the educational charity Universify who run a year-long residential and mentoring scheme for Y10-Y11 students. The programme begins with a one-week residential experience at St Hugh’s in August, followed by one-to-one mentoring, and culminates with a three-day GCSE revision residential at Easter. To find out more please have a look on our website as well as on the Universify Education pages.

Open Days (Years 11-13)

The University holds three Open Days each school year, two in June or July and one in September.

All colleges and departments will be open to prospective students on Oxford University Open Days. For more information on our Open days see here.

Students do not need to apply in advance to attend an Open Day.  However, if you are eligible for open day accommodation you will need to apply for this via your school.

UNIQ Oxford (Year 12)

UNIQ is the largest University of Oxford residential access programme for students in their first year of further education, who are based at UK state schools or colleges. UNIQ has a successful record of helping students make successful applications to Oxford - this year alone 250 UNIQ students were made offers by the University.

Students apply to UNIQ between December and January and can be selected for either UNIQ Digital or the UNIQ residential. UNIQ residentials take place in Spring and Summer and give students a taste of the Oxford undergraduate student experience. You will live in an Oxford college for a week, attend lectures and seminars in your chosen subject area, and receive expert advice on the Oxford application and interview process. UNIQ is free of charge and travel costs are also covered.

UNIQ Digital provides comprehensive information and guidance on the university admissions process, and aims to give a realistic view of Oxford student life through videos, activities and quizzes. The platform offers a range of forums where you can discuss both academic and social topics.

For more information see the UNIQ website.

Target Oxbridge (Year 12)

Target Oxbridge is a free programme that aims to help black African and Caribbean students and students of mixed race with black African and Caribbean heritage increase their chances of getting into the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge. The programme includes a residential in Oxford, student mentoring by black or minority ethnic Oxbridge graduates as well as many tailored sessions throughout the year. In 2020 alone, Target Oxbridge has helped 74 students to secure Oxbridge offers. For more information see the Target Oxbridge website.

Oxford Pathways (Years 10 & 11)

Somerville College works with other Oxford colleges to provide the Pathways Programme. Oxford Pathways is for students attending non-selective state schools across the UK, with little, if any, history of sending students to Oxford. 

Through Oxford Pathways, students get the opportunity to visit Oxford, to explore the university and to see what it is like to study here. Taster Days give academically able Year 10 students an introduction to higher education and student finance, interactive sessions with current students, lunch served in a college dining hall and participation in an academic activity.

The same students are invited back to Oxford in Year 11 for Investigating Options Days, which focus on the importance of GCSE results and post-16 choices.

Students’ coach travel costs are paid for by Oxford for South East Colleges. Applications are made by schools, rather than individuals, with each school welcome to bring up to 10 students; please ask your teacher about this opportunity. For more information see the Pathways website.

Visit Oxford (All years)

Oxford for South East colleges warmly welcome all state school pupils to visit during University term time. These visit days are designed to give pupils a taste of University life and can be adapted for all year groups. There is no charge for these days.

An example of a visit might include a talk about the University of Oxford, a college tour, lunch in college, meeting current undergraduate students and academic taster sessions at a museum or department (e.g. ‘Object Handling’ at the Ashmolean or a ‘Collections Up Close’ at the Bodleian).

Our colleges are very happy to adapt College visit days to meet the needs of any particular group of pupils. These visits are organised through schools, so if you are interested please ask your teacher to get in touch with us.

In your region | Online 

For teachers

College visits

Oxford for South East colleges offer visiting schools in our link regions a full day of talks, workshops and activities. We provide relevant material for all students in Years 9 – 13, from those with little to no experience of University or Oxford, to those looking to make a competitive application to University.

  • St John’s College: A typical visit to St John’s College will run from 10:30-15:30, including lunch in Hall, and will be planned in consultation with the school. Whilst there are staple items that are included in every visit, we want to provide the experience and knowledge that will be most beneficial to your school and your students. Click here for full details and to book a visit. Visits to St John’s College can be booked by schools in Southampton, Brighton and Hove, East Sussex and West Sussex.
  • St Hilda’s: A typical visit to St Hilda's College will run from 10:30 – 12:30. The morning usually consists of an ‘Oxford Explained’ presentation, followed by a Q&A session with current undergraduate students, and a tour around the college. College visits can usually be followed by an afternoon activity, such as a tour at another college, a visit to a museum. Visits to St Hilda’s College can be booked by schools in Surrey and Hampshire. To book a visit, please visit the St Hilda’s website
  • Somerville: Students in year 7 and above are welcome to come to Somerville and get a flavour of what studying at Oxford and University is like. Days typically run from 10.00-15.00 and can include any of the following: an introductory talk about University and Oxford, an application workshop, an academic taster session with a college tutor, a tour of the College buildings followed by a Q&A with current students, a free lunch in our beautiful Dining Hall and a handling session at one of the departments or university museums. Click here for further details and to book a visit.
  • St Hugh's: We host a large number of Experience Days and Subject Taster Days throughout the academic year. These are opportunities for pupils from years 7 to 13 to visit St Hugh’s College and Oxford for a day, to find out more about life at university, learn about the application process, meet current undergraduates, try lunch in our dining hall, and engage in a range of curriculum enrichment activities depending on their age; these include object handling session with experts at one of Oxford’s museums and subject-specific workshops, as well as educational games and quizzes. Please visit our dedicated page for more information on the activities we currently offer.

Open Day Accommodation

St John’s, Somerville, St Hilda’s and St Hugh’s colleges may be able to offer a limited amount of free overnight accommodation to state schools attending the University of Oxford’s Open Days.

Accompanied groups may receive up to one night of accommodation, plus dinner and breakfast in college. During their stay, teachers will be given the opportunity to ask staff and current undergraduates questions about applying to Oxford and the Oxford University experience.

School groups must be escorted by a teacher/s who will remain responsible for all safeguarding arrangements. All accommodation bookings must be made in advance by teachers. 

For more information, please contact the relevant college directly.

  • St John's: Southampton, Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, West Sussex
  • St Hilda's: Surrey, Hampshire
  • St Hugh's: Kent
  • Somerville: Portsmouth, Isle of Wight, Buckinghamshire

Teacher Summer Schools

Oxford’s CPD accredited Teacher Summer School is a free two-day residential conference for teachers from state schools and colleges in the UK. During the summer school, teachers receive detailed support and guidance about the Oxford admissions process, experience taster sessions for different academic subjects, and learn from mock interviews. It aims to support teachers to stretch and challenge their most able students, and equip them with the best possible advice and guidance on selective university admissions. Click here for more information.

Inspirational Teachers Award

Since 2010, the University of Oxford has run a scheme to recognise inspirational teachers from UK state schools and colleges. This award scheme recognises the crucial role teachers play in encouraging talented students in their schools or colleges. Each year, current first-year Oxford undergraduates from UK state schools or colleges with a limited history of sending students to Oxford are asked if they would like to nominate an inspirational teacher. Click here for more information.

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For Parents and Carers

Open Days (Years 11-13)

You may wish to accompany your child on a visit to an Open Day. All colleges and departments will be open to prospective students on Oxford University Open Days. For more information see our Open Days webpages.

Visiting Oxford

If you can’t make an Open Day or outreach event in Oxford, you should feel free to come and see us to find out for yourself what Oxford is really like. For more information about visiting each of the Oxford for South East colleges, click the links below:

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