Each year Sidney Sussex works in collaboration with Christ's and Murray Edwards Colleges to run a summer school in August for Year 11 students who live in areas of low participation to higher education ('LPN' refers to 'low participation neighbourhoods').

If you're currently in Year 11 in England/Wales, Year 12 in Northern Ireland or S4 in Scotland then applications are now OPEN for this year's summer school (deadline 21 April). Check your eligibility (details below) and apply now!

LPN Summer School 2023

20 - 23 August 2023 

The LPN Summer School is a two-year long programme for students who live in areas where few young people enter higher education, and takes place in the summer holidays. You can find the information about this programme, subjects, eligibility criteria and how to apply below. We strongly recommend reading this page carefully before making an application!

This year's summer school will take place from Sunday 20 August to Wednesday 23 August, in Cambridge. Students will stay at either Christ's College or Sidney Sussex College (both are very close to each other!).

The LPN Summer School is designed to encourage academically able students from areas of the country where students are less likely to enter higher education to consider making applications to top universities, including the University of Cambridge. The programme consists of visits in both the summers of Year 11 and Year 12 (only students who attended a Year 11 event can then attend the Year 12 component). Therefore, we strongly encourage any eligible Year 11 students to make an application, as they will receive support and guidance for their studies and university in the summer and beyond.

What does the summer school involve?

The summer school takes place for a few days in August just after you have taken your GCSE or National 5 (Scotland) exams, with meals and accommodation provided for you in one of the Cambridge Colleges. The summer school will be taking place in person in August 2022.

The programme includes a variety of masterclasses given by Cambridge University researchers, an opportunity to get to know Cambridge, information about making an application to Cambridge, and a chance to meet current Cambridge students and staff. There will also be a variety of social events throughout the stay! The aim of this summer school is to find out more about Cambridge and university more generally, and to give you a taste of university study and the wide variety of subjects available to study at post-18. 

After the summer school, the Colleges provide continuing support during Year 12 and there is a follow-up summer school at the end of Year 12 (S5 Scotland, Year 13 in Northern Ireland) to which you are automatically invited. This will include free accommodation and meals, as well as social activities to give you a taste of student life and get to know others on the programme! This summer school typically focuses on specifics of the application process, and involves a one-night stay at Murray Edwards College.

What does the summer school cost?

The whole summer school is free of charge, including meals and accommodation but excluding travel.

If you feel that you may require travel expenses to be able to attend please get in touch, as some limited support may be available. 

Subject strands

As part of the summer school programme, students have the opportunity to attend a series of seminars that will introduce them to the study of a particular subject at university level.

The following subject strands will be available for the 2023 summer school:

  • Medicine
  • Biological Sciences
  • Physical Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • English
  • History
  • Law
  • Social Sciences

The application form will ask for your first and - if you have one - second preference strand.

In addition to a set of academic sessions in the selected strand, those who are selected for a place on the event will also have the opportunity to try something new in subject/s not explicitly covered in the above strands. These have previously included Computer Science, Economics, Languages and Archaeology, among many others.

Choosing your strand

A similar number of places is available on each subject strand, so please choose the subject that interests you the most. Priority for a place on a strand will be given to those who have selected it as their first choice, and students cannot be considered for strands other than those they have selected as their first or second choice.

The above strands also encompass other subjects, and below is some further advice on particular strands which might seem less clear, or if you aren't sure which one is right for you: 

  • Biological Sciences - for those interested in Biology and Chemistry
  • Physical Sciences - for those interested in Physics and Chemistry, or Engineering
  • Mathematics - also recommended for students interested in Economics or Computer Science, as these are courses with high mathematical content at university
  • Social Sciences - this will cover areas such as Sociology and Politics (in line with the Human, Social and Political Sciences course that Cambridge teaches).

We encourage students to consider their choice of strand carefully and to think about subject areas that might be something you've not thought about before. Many subjects are interdisciplinary - they overlap with one another quite a bit - so for example, those interested in pursuing modern languages may therefore find any of English, History or the Social Sciences strands as interesting and relevant.

Find out about the different courses we offer at Cambridge here (there are over 30 courses covering 65 different subjects!).

Eligibility to apply

Students must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible to apply for a place on the LPN summer school: 

  1. You are currently in Year 11 (England and Wales), or Year 12 in Northern Ireland or S4 (Scotland), and would have been about to take your GCSEs or National 5s at a UK school that does not charge fees (to anyone) in summer 2023.
  2. You are going on to study academic qualifications for Sixth Form, at a school or college that does not charge fees (to anyone).
    • academic qualifications are A-Levels, the International Baccalaureate or Highers/Advanced Highers.
  3. You live in an area of low participation in higher education (you must check your postcode before applying!)
    • To explain this a bit further, we use the POLAR classification and we only accept applications from students who live in quintile 1 or 2 areas. We encourage students to check if they are eligible to apply using this online postcode checker tool. When you put your postcode into the tool, check the 'POLAR4 quintile'. We have made a short guide to help you do so here: Checking your postcode
      • This is for your HOME postcode, not your school postcode.
  4. You are on target to receive a majority of 9-7/A*-A grades at GCSE (or equivalent e.g. A grades in National 5s)
    • We encourage applications from those who may be the first in their family to go to university (parents/carers did not attend university), a young carer, a refugee, from a BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) background, eligible for free school meals currently or in the past, have spent any time in care, or who are estranged from their family (i.e. you no longer have contact with your parents and may be living with another family member).
    • Students applying for the Medicine strand as their first choice should expect to achieve a majority 8/9/A* grades at GCSE, due to the competitive nature of this strand
    • It may be helpful to note that over the last three years (2018-20) most students who have been successful in obtaining a place on the LPN Summer School are usually expected to achieve 8/9/A* grades in GCSE subjects relevant to the strand applied for.
    • Selection will be primarily on the basis of academic merit, though other widening participation factors as outlined above will also be taken into consideration when deciding.
  5. You can provide the name and email address of a teacher who can support your application. You should discuss applying with a teacher before applying, and get their permission to provide their details to us.

How and when do I apply?

Applications for the 2023 summer school are now OPEN.


For the application, students must complete an online application form, and a nominated teacher will need to complete a separate form in support of their application. Teachers will automatically receive a link to provide a reference (again via online form) once the student's application has been successfully submitted. It is important teachers check their spam/junk inbox as school firewalls may prevent an email from reaching them. Students are encouraged to check that their referee has received the email. 

The deadline for students to make an application is midnight on Friday 21 April 2023. Teachers will also have a deadline to complete their references of Sunday 30 April. Late or incomplete applications and applications without a reference will not be considered for a place.

All applicants will receive an email regarding the outcome of their application by the end of May 2023. All applications received by the application deadline will be given equal consideration, but we recommend doing it as soon as you can once applications are open so your teacher has plenty of time to do your reference!

Where can I get more information?

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this residential.

Information for teachers

We welcome teachers to get in touch if they would like help in identifying which students would be eligible for this event on the basis of the student's home postcode. We are able to run a set of postcodes through an online database to check whether they are in the eligible quintiles of the POLAR4 measure. This only takes us a few minutes to do and we will generally be able to get this back to you very quickly.

To do this, please email an Excel spreadsheet of the postcodes to check to Ellie at access@christs.cam.ac.uk. Postcodes must be full postcodes in the format AB12 3CD.

You may choose to do this with either:

  • The list of postcodes of the whole cohort
  • Only the postcodes of those who would meet the academic criteria

We do not require any other information than the postcode. You may like to include an identifier column e.g. a number or initials, or to list the postcodes alphabetically - whichever will help you to match it back to student names. In any case, the order of the postcodes in your list will remain the same as how you send them to us!