The Countdown to Summerfuel Oxford Begins!

Greetings from Oxford!

The school year has wrapped up for most of you and in just over a week, you’ll be exploring your new home in Oxford.

Our staff is arriving throughout this week and is extremely excited to prepare for our time together and to meet each of you.  Over the next several days we’ll be introducing our staff and sharing last minute packing tips on our blog.

We can’t wait to meet you!

-The Summerfuel Oxford Team


Oxford Through the Eyes of an Alumnus


Check out what alumnus Maggie S. thought of her time with Summerfuel’s Pre-College Program at Oxford:

“My time at Oxford was absolutely amazing! Before coming I was so nervous to meet new people, but the friends I made were some of the funniest, most interesting people I have ever met. The program would have been great solely due to all of the activities and classes which were offered, but what made it truly extraordinary was experiencing it all with my new friends. The excursions were enriching, and I loved the balance of guided tours and free time to explore. I loved visiting London as much as we did and really enjoyed Bath. The history of the country made even a trip to the grocery store for snacks a scenic experience. The only unenjoyable part was having to leave the wonderful people I had come to love in the past month. For anyone considering Summerfuel Oxford, I would do it a hundred times over and it is an experience that will stay with me forever.”

– Maggie S., SF Oxford 2016


Prepare For College With Our Pre-College Programs

What Are You Doing This Summer?

Who doesn’t love summer? Between the warm weather, gorgeous blue skies, and summer time activities, the approaching season holds quite a bit of potential. However, what if we told you there is a better way to spend your summer? A way to not only have a great time with great people, but to also gain valuable life experience in the process? While this might sound too good to be true, at Summerfuel, we deliver just that. Our Pre-college summer programs are designed to enrich our students lives through academic, social, and personal development. Because summer is almost upon us, we are going to use today’s post to go over our main pre-college summer programs for high school students, what students can expect from these programs, and what students can expect to gain from these amazing experiences. Continue reading below to learn more!

Oxford Provides Historical Inspiration

The Summerfuel Oxford program allows students to experience life at one the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. For centuries, Oxford has been celebrated for its long-standing traditions, amazing architecture, and academic prowess, cementing its place in history as one of the most developed universities the world over. During this pre-college summer program, students will get to experience what life is like as an undergraduate at Oxford while also attending seminars designed to challenge them mentally and academically. Students are encouraged to pick two seminars to explore during the program in order to explore the subjects in an in-depth way, improving their academic skills and providing them with new avenues to discover and explore their passions. In addition to academic work, students will take part in a wide variety of extracurricular activities and excursions designed to explore the Oxford campus and the surrounding cities. These excursions are reserved for Saturdays and Sundays during the program and gives students the opportunity to explore London, Broughton Castle, Bath, and Blenheim Palace.

Tufts in Boston Showcases American Excellence

Looking for a domestic pre-college summer program? Our Tufts program helps students to prepare for the rigors of college both intellectually and socially by providing them with a full on college experience. Located just outside of Boston, Tufts University is one of the top ranked universities in the nation and is far enough away from the city to feel secluded yet close enough to allow students to explore the many interesting areas of this historic location. The Tufts program is designed to encourage high school students to discover and explore the learning options that interest them. This pre-college summer program allows students to take two workshops and four courses over a four week period, providing them the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in the academics of the program. In addition to academic programs, students are given full run of the Tuft University campus and the weekends are dedicated to exploring Boston and the surrounding historical areas of the city and include visits to Six Flags, the beach, and a Boston Red Sox game.

Berkeley Offers a Unique Research University Experience

Widely considered one of the nation’s top research universities, Berkeley challenges high school students to engage with their peers on an intellectual and personal level, fostering a better learning experience and an unforgettable summer experience. Summerfuel’s Berkeley program is designed to complement the liberal arts environment that has made Berkely so famous and students of this program are strongly encouraged to explore different learning options within the program and take control of their academic interests. During this program, students select a major course for the morning and an elective course during the afternoon. The morning course meets five times per week, while the afternoon courses vary between three to four weekly meetings. In addition to major and elective courses, students can choose between multiple workshops that will help them develop academic and interpersonal skills that are pertinent to their specific passions. Outside of academic course work, students are offered multiple excursion opportunities around the Berkeley area including visits to Six Flags, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and a San Francisco Giants baseball game. This program offers a truly unforgettable summer experience.


If any of these programs have piqued your interest, or you feel that one of these programs would be a perfect fit for your high school student, please visit our website today for some more in-depth information. At Summerfuel, we have been coordinating and executing pre-college summer programs for years and we feel that our programs offer the best in both academic and extracurricular activities to enrich students’ experiences. Our staff is dedicated to ensuring that each and every one of our students comes away from the program having had a positive experience, both academically and personally. Visit our website today and let us help you turn a normal summer into a summer that you will never forget!

Meet Dr. Ed Clarke – Oxford

Lady Margaret Hall, Summerfuel OxfordEach Summerfuel program has, at its core, a team of accomplished, passionate faculty.  Our faculty work collaboratively with our residence staff to create a memorable, meaningful summer experience for all of our students.  In Oxford, the Summerfuel faculty includes Oxford University professors, practicing professionals and artists.  Most faculty return annually.  Read on to learn about a student favorite, Dr. Clarke, whose Shakespeare courses are amongst the most popular each summer.


12th Year with Summerfuel. PhD & BA in English Literature; Trinity College, Dublin & St. Catherine’s College, Oxford. Tutor at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford. Publications:The Later Affluence of W.B. Yeats and Wallace Stevens; The Vagabond Spirit of Poetry.

Hobbies and Interests

I love rambling around Oxford, cooking different cuisines, and exploring ecclesiastical medieval architecture.

Favorite Place in Oxford

Port Meadow – the common grazing land to the north of town and bordered by the Thames to the west.

Oxford’s ‘Must See’

The early 16th century spire of St. Mary’s – you must climb the tower to check out its ball-flower decoration.

Currently Reading

Kathleen Raine’s Autobiography

Currently Listening To

Dylan’s World Gone Wrong

Words of Wisdom

“Bear free and patient thoughts.”

What Makes Summerfuel Oxford Special?

Summerfuel Oxford High Tea

1. Access

Summerfuel Oxford has taken students into the heart of Oxford University since 1984. Our aim is give students as authentic an Oxford experience as possible. All students live and study at Lady Margaret Hall College. Unlike U.S. universities Oxford is divided into 40 residential colleges and Lady Margaret Hall or LMH, has a privileged position next to the River Cherwell and is set in beautiful grounds. It has been our home since 1988.

At Summerfuel Oxford you will truly live as an Oxford undergraduate and excel inside and outside the classroom.

2. Teaching / Not School

A key difference with our Oxford program is the style of teaching. Our students benefit from very small group sessions. At Oxford, these are called tutorials. Our classes are supportive, personalized and dynamic environments that afford our students a great level of individual attention. Many seminars such as Art & Architecture are spent in the city of Oxford visiting special points of interest or your writing teacher might take you for lunch at the very place J.R.R. Tolkien wrote the Lord of The Rings

“The supervision and tutorial system ensures that students have contact with leading Oxford academics,” says Paul Saville, Director of Summerfuel Oxford since 1984. “This hands-on method of learning is at the heart of what makes the summer so special.

3. Our Students

Our students come from over 23 different U.S. states and 17 different countries. They all come together to form a summer community of learning and fun. Our students represent all interests, tastes and backgrounds. They share a common goal and that is to get a true taste of Oxford University life and gain an insight into the history and traditions of the world’s most celebrated university.

4. All work and no play….

When seminars are out we have an entire activity and extracurricular schedule planned. Students can pick and choose from a variety of different options from attending one of our guest lectures at the seminar series to sports, visits, Shakespeare performances, Movie Nights etc. or simply enjoying the city of Oxford and the college with your new friends. In addition we travel to London, Blenheim and beyond on the weekends.

5. Traditions

Idiosyncratic language and traditions are everywhere. The College is your summer residence and the Junior Common Room (JCR) is where you enjoy many group events. Each day “Scouts” will clean and tidy your room and change your linens on a weekly basis. In the afternoon you might wish to enjoy the “sunken garden” or rent a punt and try your hand at “punting.”

You will enter and leave the college through the Lodge and be assisted by LMH “porters” on a daily basis. Your seminars might take place in the LMH “coaching room” or even the Talbot “bar”.

5. History, alumni and excellence

Teaching at Oxford, dates back to 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Our program dates back to 1984, which makes it the oldest program for high school students in Oxford.

We have hosted over 6,000 students on our Oxford programs over the years. Our alumni have gone on to top universities in the U.S. and abroad and many have returned to Oxford as undergraduates and graduate students.

Au revoir!

All our Paris Extension students are on their way back home now.  We had a great time showing them around the City of Lights for the last few days — some highlights are shown below: a ride on the petit train de Montmartre, the group in Montmartre by Sacre Coeur, a visit to the Pantheon, exploring the Shakespeare & Company bookstore, and a special visit from an Oxford pal!  We hope everyone had an amazing summer in Oxford & Paris!


Perfect Days in Paris

Time is flying by here in Paris with the extension group! We’ve had some packed days seeing some of the best sights Paris has to offer, and we’re not done yet!  So far we’ve cruised down to Seine, climbed the Eiffel Tower & Arc de Triomphe, explored the famous Louvre and Musee d’Orsay, and shopped ’til we dropped on the Champs Elysees.  A few adventurous eaters even tried escargots!  We’re all looking forward to our last full sightseeing day in Paris tomorrow.

Writing Contest Winner – Away from Home

This summer we hosted a writing contest on the theme “Away from Home.”  There were many submissions, from reflections on what home really means, to discussion of the quirks of Britain compared to their own homes.

After reading all the submissions, the committee chose the following poem as the winner of the 2016 competition.  We hope you enjoy this submission from Maggie S.

Away from Home

I’m home

I don’t want to leave

my friends and family

but I’m excited to see

a foreign place

my home will feel like

a thousand miles away

I’m sad to go

away from my mom and dad.

no longer

I’m confident and


I can do it but

I don’t know if

where I’m going will ever completely feel like home

and don’t try to tell me

time flies



dragging on and on

the goodbyes are

a month away.

I can’t believe it has been

the best month of my life.


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