How To Get Into Eton College
An Overview of Eton
Eton College is an independent boarding school for boys aged 13-18 founded by King Henry VI in 1440 in the parish of Eton, near Windsor, England. As one of England’s oldest and most prestigious boarding schools, it’s had the honour of educating multiple prime ministers, world leaders, Nobel laureates, and many aristocratic members of societies both past and present.
Owing to its world-class reputation, Eton College has grown from educating 70 pupils at its time of erection to up to 1,313 students in 2019. Eton-educated pupils have historically invoked the reputation of Eton College to achieve careers in positions of leadership, such as in politics. Its reputation still holds to this day, although it’s now accessible to all boys regardless of background.
Entry to Eton is competitive and thus only boys with high potential may be awarded a place. Aristocratic or privileged backgrounds are no longer necessary requirements for entry. An increasing number of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are now able to apply and receive funding.
What You Should Know About Eton
Eton in Berkshire is a small, historic town in the South East of England with just over 2,000 inhabitants. It’s only around an hour away from London by train, yet it’s nestled quietly along the Thames across from Windsor. Eton College itself consists of multiple historic buildings and houses that are as functional as they are aesthetically impressive.
As a boarding school, pupils live at Eton seven days a week. The facilities have been upgraded throughout the centuries and are currently equipped with the luxuries of modern life, thus boys are adequately housed and well-fed.
There are three terms per year, which are often referred to as halves. Historically, the year was broken into two halves with short breaks during Christmas and summer, during which pupils were free to return home. The term is still used to this day, although there are now three terms per year.
How to Get into Eton College
For over 500 years, entry to Eton College was based primarily on factors such as class and birth. The first 70 pupils to attend Eton College in 1440 were poor boys who were given free education and entrance to Eton’s sister institution, King’s College, Cambridge. For the following centuries until only a few decades ago, entrance was determined by being entered on house lists upon birth.
This brief history of entry requirements differs drastically from today’s application process. Since 2002, all boys wishing to apply must pass an interview, a reasoning test, and obtain a reference from their previous school. Socio-economic background and class are no longer relevant criteria, as the system is now based on meritocracy. Consequently, with only 1300 places available each year and its status as a world-class academic institution, the application procedure is quite rigorous and competitive.
In order to achieve more favourable chances of being awarded a study place, prospective pupils should endeavour to demonstrate an academic history commensurate with their performance. Moreover, sound reasoning and the ability to communicate in a clear and concise manner during the interview may increase the chances of success.
Should Any Boy Apply?
Parents that wish to apply to Eton College for their boys should be mindful that the modern, meritocratic application process no longer discriminates solely towards the more privileged members of society. Boys who are able to demonstrate great academic potential, are passionate about learning, want to attend one of the UK’s finest boarding schools, and who endeavour to achieve a world-class education all make ideal candidates.
More specifically, most boys at Eton enter in Year 9 (up to the age of 13), whilst others may be eligible to apply until the age of 16 for their Sixth Form Entry. For the latter, only a small number of candidates may be shortlisted and subsequently awarded a study place.
Eton College Scholarships and Funding
With tuition fees ranging up to £42,501 per year, one may be led to believe that Eton College only caters to the aristocratic class and to those pupils whose parents have a great deal of wealth. Since the start of the millennium, however, there has been a strong emphasis on widening access to pupils of all socio-economic backgrounds through the provision of full and partial tuition remissions.
Fortunately, scholarships and bursaries are available for boys at Eton College. Scholarships (i.e. King’s Scholarships) provide approximately 14 pupils with a fee reduction of 10% per year. Bursaries are awarded to pupils whose parents could not otherwise afford the tuition fees and are means-tested by a third party to ensure a fair and neutral assessment. These bursaries may cover a substantial portion of the pupil’s tuition fees or they may fully cover the fees.
In 2017/18, 254 pupils (around 19% of all pupils) received bursaries, with a further 82 (around 6%) paying no tuition fees whatsoever. Again referencing the drive to widen access to all students regardless of background, the number of means-tested bursaries and scholarships can be expected to rise in the coming years.
We’ve helped hundreds of boys to win places at Eton. If you think your son is a suitable candidate, don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss how we can help him best prepare for entry into this esteemed school.