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Student experienceUndergraduate

How the Sutton Trust Summer School helped me

My first experience of university was when I attended Durham’s Sutton Trust Summer School in 2016. This fantastic opportunity gave me a real insight into what life is like as a university student and helped me decide that Durham was where I wanted to be. Below are just some of the reasons I am grateful for being a part of the Sutton Trust programme: 

It gave me a real insight into university life

The programme is well balanced to show both the academic and social sides of Durham.

During the day we would attend our academic sessions which gave us the chance to find out how teaching is delivered at the university. We learned what content might be included on our course and we would also have tasks to work on which gave me an insight into the level of study.

My Sutton Trust group.

In the evenings there were lots of social opportunities, with the chance to try out some of Durham’s sports and societies. I really enjoyed the dance class provided by the INSTEP Dance Society and have since taken classes throughout my time at Durham. I also enjoyed the formal dinner that was hosted to celebrate the end of the summer school, I’d never experienced anything like it before!

What really stood out about Durham was the wide range of opportunities available and how college provides the chance to be part of a smaller community within the wider university community.

Answered my (many) questions

Choosing which university is right for you can be overwhelming at first and it’s important to find out as much as you can to enable you to make an informed decision. The summer school provided the chance to speak with academics, university staff, and students to have all my questions about life at Durham answered.

Hearing students’ stories particularly helped me to imagine what life at Durham might be like for me and it was great to hear from such a wide range of voices with such a variety of experiences.

View from Baths Bridge in Durham

Boosted my confidence

Before Sutton Trust, I felt very nervous about going to University. The thought of living independently away from home, meeting new people and adapting to degree level study can be exciting but also daunting. Attending the Summer School, getting involved with the opportunities it provided and getting to meet new people who shared my concerns eased a lot of my worries and improved my overall confidence.

Led to my job as a Durham Student Ambassador

The Durham Student Ambassadors (DSA) at my summer school was incredible, and it was their enthusiasm and encouragement which made my Sutton Trust experience so much more memorable.

When I started my first year of university, I chatted to a friend who had been in my Sutton Trust group and was now a DSA and decided to apply for the role as I wanted to share the experience I had to future students. Through this role, I’ve met so many incredible people and had the opportunity to mentor myself on both the Sutton Trust and Supported Progression programmes. I even got the chance to work alongside some of the DSA who had been my mentors in summer 2016 which was great (even if it did make them feel old)! 

Find out more

The Sutton Trust Summer Schools and how to apply.

Download our latest prospectus here.

Follow our students on Instagram and YouTube.

Emma Murphy

I’m Emma, a third-year student at Stephenson College studying Primary Education. I am a first-generation student from Liverpool and completed the Sutton Trust programme at Durham before starting university.
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