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Sutton Trust Summer School at Durham University

From the 13th to 18th of August I took part in a Summer School focused on history at Durham University. The Sutton Trust offers Summer Schools at a variety of different universities for students who have no prior family members that have attended university, who are on low income or who have outstanding grades. I heard about the Sutton Trust through emails from the Norfolk Higher Education Scheme and seeing as I fall into at least two of the above categories I decided to apply for a summer school. I chose Durham University as I knew it was very well-respected regarding history and it is a university I am currently considering applying to. Durham also offer a scheme where if you pass an undergraduate style assessed project then they will give you a guaranteed offer to study that subject with them and potentially lower your conditional grades by up to two. For me, personally, that means instead of needing to achieve A*AA at A level I only need AAB. This, therefore, seemed like a great opportunity with nothing to lose and everything to gain (if you don’t succeed in the assessed project nothing changes, you can still apply, you just have higher conditional grades).

Applying to the summer school was very simple, I went through the Sutton Trust website itself. I filled in the application form and got a reference from Miss Burr. Around 280 students applied to do a history course at my summer school, however only 25 people made it onto the course itself. The educational part of the week was an unusual topic but we all enjoyed it very much and were tasked with writing a 2,000-word essay on it within a fortnight of finishing the summer school. Despite the obvious educational perks, the social aspects of the week gave me a real insight as to what it would be like to study and live at Durham University, especially Van Mildert college where I stayed. We got the opportunity to take part in one social activity that is often on at the university, a murder mystery quiz, eating at a different college as well as attending a formal dinner. 


Louisa Barton, Year 13 student