In high school, college or university, students can enroll in classes for credit to be taken into account in their grade point average or their transcript. Generally, this credit is in one of two categories: remediation or advancement. For remediation, the summer school is used to make up credits lost through absence or failure. For advancement, the summer school is used to obtain credit for classes to accelerate progress toward a degree or to lessen the load of courses during the regular school year. Many universities offer short-term summer courses to attract both local and international students, and these programs are often surrounded by social activities.
In academia, the term can also refer to a type of conference. Typically, established academics will give presentations on advanced topics in a field to postgraduate students. This type of summer school is often organized at a national or international level, and no credits are awarded. Also, a college or university sometimes offers a summer program for teachers or other professional workers wishing to round out their professional or general education. Some summer schools are for the general public involving no examinations and are not for degree purposes.
Outside North America, the term has a broader definition and refers to all ages and includes leisure and other non-academic subjects, so, for example, a course on hedge-laying is probably targeting older adults. In these regions, Music Summer Schools, on the other hand, may be designed for school age students, college students, or adult professionals or amateurs at various levels of attainment.
- Cram school
- Special education
- Summer camp
- California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science
- California State Summer School for the Arts
- Catholic Summer School of America
- Dartington International Summer School, UK
- Harvard Summer School
- International Summer University (ISU) Kassel, Germany
- International Winter University (IWU) Kassel, Germany
- National Science Summer School Inc.
- Queen Maeve International Summer School
- Rabb School of Summer and Continuing Studies
- Utrecht Summer School
- Willie Clancy Summer School
- List of summer schools of linguistics
- Summer program for high school student - summer school. College Board: College Planning Made Easy|Inside Source for College Admissions Requirements.
- "Programmes". University of Cape Town, Extra-mural studies. Retrieved 2009-02-01.[dead link]
- Cooper, Harris; Charlton, Kelly; Valentine, Jeff C.; Muhlenbruck, Laura: Making the Most of Summer School: A Meta-Analytic and Narrative Review. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, v65 n1 p1-118 2000. ISBN:0631221522. Blackwell Publishing, 2000.
- Guide to Summer Camps and Summer Schools. 31st edition, 2008/09. Porter Sargent Handbooks, a Division of Alloy Education.
- Guide to Summer Camps and Summer Schools. 32nd edition, 2010/11. Porter Sargent Handbooks, a Division of Alloy Education.