Our immersive summer school gives Year 12 students the opportunity to experience the academic and social side of university life.

In 2022, YESS 1 will take place Tuesday 12 July to Friday 15 July, and YESS 2 will take place Monday 1 August to Thursday 4 August. Both programmes are identical and applicants are encouraged to indicate their availability for each date.


If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live in one of England’s oldest cities, and study at one of England’s leading universities, then join us for this year’s York Experience Summer School. The University of York’s 4-day summer school will give you all of the information and experiences you’ll need to decide if York is the choice for you

The York Experience Summer School aims to give you an immersive, academic, social, and pastoral experience of York. You’ll have the opportunity to:

  • engage with college life and academic learning and research
  • experience the support on offer at York
  • meet current York students and other YESS participants.

For summer 2022 we are returning to an on-campus residential, which means that you’ll stay on campus for 3 nights in our private en-suite accommodation. Throughout your free stay with us you’ll experience everything there is to offer on campus. YESS is fully catered, we provide all the materials you’ll need throughout the week, and we cover your travel expenses too - so there is no cost for you or your family.

As a YESS participant, you’ll receive:

  • helpful information before you join us
  • a warm York welcome to Campus throughout your time with us
  • bespoke advice and guidance after YESS to support you through the UCAS process and beyond. 

“I went to 3 summer schools and YESS was by far the best! I could really be myself and the personal development sessions have given me so much more confidence that I can go to uni."

YESS Online 2021 participant

“I absolutely loved this programme and 100% would do it again!! More Sixth Forms need to know about this programme it was very beneficial and useful and cleared all my worries away! I feel completely ready and excited to attend university thanks to Yess Online!”

YESS Online 2021 participant

What does YESS look like?

The full YESS programme will be released in June. 

Whilst on YESS, you can expect to take part in:

  • academic sessions
  • student life sessions
  • personal development, confidence and belonging sessions
  • trips into the city of York
  • social activities

…and much more! Whilst residentials are great fun, they can also be an intense few days, so we make sure we build downtime into the programme, so that you can relax and reflect throughout the week.

At York, we have an ethos where everyone is invited to bring their whole self to campus. We want York to feel like a home away from home, and that’s why, when you’re with us, you’ll stay in a college group, and be buddied up with current student ambassadors who will be able to answer all of your questions and help you navigate campus.

Benefits of completing YESS

You can unlock access to a range of additional benefits if you:

  • Meet the YESS eligibility criteria 
  • Successfully pass YESS 
  • Submit an on-time UCAS application to study an undergraduate degree at the University of York 
  • Meet the relevant subject requirements as outlined in the prospectus

Participants who successfully complete the YESS programme could be considered for a guaranteed interview or offer to study at York.

If you receive an offer to study at the University of York, you will receive two offers: the standard offer and the alternative Widening Participation alternative offer which is up to three grades below the standard offer published in our prospectus.

The alternative Widening Participation offer is conditional on the completion of our YorJourney programme, which comes with a whole host of additional benefits that will support your transition to university life.

New entrants to the University of York who successfully complete YESS and YorJourney will be considered for a York Opportunity Scholarship. The York Opportunity Scholarship is worth £3,300 paid over three years (paid in instalments of £1,100 a year) and is funded by philanthropic donations to York Unlimited campaign.

If your household income is below £35,000, you could also be eligible for a Progression Bursary of £1,000 in your first year and the York Bursary which is up to £4,200 over three years.

If you are made an alternative widening participation offer, you must successfully complete the YorJourney transition support module to use this. 

To be eligible for financial support you must achieve and enroll onto a confirmed place for study at the University of York.

Who can apply?

When selecting participants for YESS, we will use the following criteria:

Part 1: You should meet all of the essential criteria:

  • Achieved 8 A*-C/9-4 grades at GCSE (or equivalent) including English Language and Mathematics*
  • The potential to achieve BCC or above at A Level (or equivalent)
  • Attended a state school or college at Key Stage 3 and 4
  • Completed Key Stage 4 (GCSEs or equivalent) in a UK school or college**

Part 2: You should meet two or more of the additional criteria:

  • You are from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background ✝
  • You are from a Gypsy, Roma, Traveller, Showmen or Boater background ✝
  • You have experience of Public Care ✝
  • You are seeking asylum in the UK or have been granted Refugee status ✝
  • You were entitled to or were in receipt of, free school meals or discretionary payments at school or sixth form ✝
  • Your parent/s did not go to university or they went to university as a mature student during your secondary education
  • You have a household income below £42,875
  • You live in a neighbourhood with a low progression rate to higher education
  • You attended a school or college at key stage 4 or key stage 5 that achieved below the national average
  • You have a disability or long term health condition
  • You are from a military or service family
  • You are estranged from your parent/s
  • You are a young carer

✝ indicates our priority criteria. If you meet any of the criteria marked ✝, you do not need to meet any other additional criteria to be eligible for YESS.

Places on the YESS  programme will be limited. We will prioritise places based on our priority criteria (marked ✝) and the number of criteria met. 

* We understand that grades alone do not reflect a person’s full potential. We will consider additional circumstances that adversely affected your personal life or education which impacted on your ability to achieve our GCSE criteria. Your school/college referee should reference this in support of your application. Please continue to submit an application or contact the YESS team if you wish to discuss further. 

** We understand circumstances may prevent some students from completing all of their Key Stage 4 studies in a UK school or college (particularly for pupils seeking asylum in the UK). We may be able to offer some flexibility on this criterion. Your school/college referee should reference this in support of your application. Please continue to submit an application or contact the YESS team if you wish to discuss further.

Guaranteed and priority places

We guarantee*** places on YESS for the following students:

  • Black Access programme participants
  • Realising Opportunities University of York cohort

***Places are guaranteed subject to the full completion, on time, of the student, parent, and school coordinator application forms. Incomplete or late applications will not be guaranteed a place on YESS.

We prioritise places on YESS for the following students:

  • Realising Opportunities national cohort
  • Social Mobility Foundation participants
  • The Elephant Group participants
  • Shine alumni
  • Roots to Success alumni

How to apply

Applications to the York Experience Summer School are closed.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or an idea for a topic you’d like us to cover please email yess@york.ac.uk