Build analytical skills. Discover truth. Become a powerful advocate.
16 to 19
We welcome applications from motivated, high-ability students, who would benefit from a demanding curriculum, intensive engagement with other bright students, and close attention from leading academics. In particular we encourage applications from those who would make a valuable contribution to the experience of the other participants, both inside and outside the classroom.
Entry is competitive. Successful candidates are selected following careful assessment of a written application and an online admissions interview with the Institute's Academic Dean in the United States. We typically receive three applications for each place.
Most of our professors and preceptors come from Oxford or Cambridge, or leading US universities. They are all brilliant, and some of them have a global reputation; you will notice that they love ideas and they love to challenge and inspire bright, curious students.
Many of the Institute's faculty members are classical liberals, of one form or another, but we like to bring into the mix a wide range of ideological positions, from egalitarians to anarcho-capitalists. Introducing our students to counterintuitive claims, advocated by credible exponents, is guaranteed to make them think.
We are proud to bring together talented, enquiring and interesting students from the UK, Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States. Thanks to the support of alumni, professors and philanthropists, we can welcome students from all kinds of family backgrounds.
Our students typically hold strong opinions, and we actively solicit applications from candidates of every political opinion and religious conviction. We look for students who enjoy challenging and being challenged, robustly but also with civility and courtesy and open minds.
from six continents
We scour the world every year for the brightest, most curious, most ambitious young scholars we can find, and we are proud that we have already welcomed elite students from fifty-two countries.
We aim to recruit students whose background and perspective will enrich the experience of the other participants on the course. The part of the world you grew up and the cultural background of your family can enable you to enlighten people from very different backgrounds. In the process we might all hope to become more cosmopolitan, tolerant, and broadminded.
To increase our international diversity we have a special fund dedicated to helping people travel to Oxford from low-income countries. This travel grant can be awarded in addition to a bursary.
Particularly in the United States, 'diversity' has become a mantra, and universities aim for a mixture of ethnicities and skin colours. True diversity, though, is also about including a variety of opinions, perspectives, cultures, circumstances and experiences. We would be concerned if all our students looked alike (and happily they do not), but more concerned if they all thought alike. So we deliberately bring together students who, by their differences, are able to challenge one another to consider alien points of view and to think of their own position as one among many possible positions, not as a fixed and secure reference point from which to criticise everyone else.
Our students go on to do great things, both in and out of the academic arena. We don't possess the secret formula for success in university admissions [hint: there is no secret formula], but we are certainly proud of our alumni who are admitted to competitive and prestigious institutions in Britain, America and around the world.
The graphic on the right of this paragraph shows the academic destinations that our students have attended in the United Kingdom between 2011 and 2021. These destinations are illustrative of both the intellectual calibre and the academic interests of John Locke Institute summer school students.
A large minority of our summer school students come from the United States, but an even larger number go to university in America after they finish school. We encourage all our students to explore opportunities overseas, and we work with US college admissions experts to advise our students how to identify the right destination for each one, and how to make a compelling application.
Between 2011 and 2022 John Locke alumni have attended around fifty different American destinations, but just over half of them have gone on to one of eight colleges: Chicago, Columbia, Georgetown, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale.
"It made a huge difference to my confidence as well as my interest in the subject. I am a lot more confident in exploring political and economic ideas in my essays."
– Ffion Gladwin, 2020