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Frequently asked questions about Eton's admissions

Would my son be allowed into Eton even if he hasn’t attended an independent school? 
Yes, absolutely. Eton accepts boys from all sorts of backgrounds including state as well as independent schools. It is this diversity which creates the richness of the College. Last year we accepted boys from 114 different schools, including state schools. 

Do you recommend particular schools which are more likely to lead to a place at Eton? 
We don’t recommend any particular schools, our admissions process is based purely on merit. However further information on independent schools can be found from the Independent Schools Council.

Do you only take boys whose names have been put down on a list at birth? 
The school no longer requires parents to register their son for a place at birth, nor are parents able to put their boy’s name down for a particular house master. All candidates follow the same admissions application process. We recommend families wait until their child is at least 8 years old to determine if the school is a suitable place for him before applying.  

How old does my son have to be to apply? 
The earliest we recommend you apply for a place at Eton is when your son is 8 years old. All boys must have registered by 30th June in UK School Year 5; the academic year in which he reaches the age of 10. This is a hard and fast deadline. Those applying for a King’s Scholarship or Music Award can apply in school year 8, up to the age of 13. There are two routes into the Sixth Form - the Orwell Award for boys from UK state schools, and a small number of full fee paying places. It is a school rule that pupils must be under the age of 19 at the start of their last summer term at Eton.

Is the admissions assessment based purely on academic ability?
No. Academic ability or potential is important and candidates must be at a certain level to be accepted into the school, but it’s not the only thing we look for. We’re also seeking boys who will make a contribution to school life and thrive in a boarding environment.  

What if my son hasn’t had the same opportunities as other wealthier boys? 
We take that into account during the admissions process. We also take into account the fact that boys develop at different rates. What we’re looking for is the potential for a boy to do well with us and contribute to school life. 

Are we able to visit the school?
Yes, we encourage you to come and see Eton for yourself to see if it is right for your son, once he is over 9 years old. Due to space we can only accept the prospective candidate and his parents/guardian. Contact us here.  

Can we talk to current pupils about life at Eton? 
During the school tour visitors often meet boys as they visit a boarding house. We also ask current pupils to come along to the refreshments after the tour (lessons permitting) and this is an opportunity to ask them questions. We believe that every boy needs to feel at home here in order to do well and so we encourage families to ask lots of questions to see if Eton College is the place for him.

What is the assessment like?
This is more of an informal chat between the candidate and one of our masters, rather than an interview. Our masters are very used to making prospective pupils feel at home, especially those who are feeling nervous. They will also take the computerised Eton List Test and boys will need to use a mouse during this. Applicants need to be fluent in written and spoken English before applying, although this does not need to be their first language. 

Can I get past copies of the Eton List Test? 
We do not issue past papers as it is a computerised assessment and not the sort of test you can prepare for. In this way, we are able to assess each boy’s ability and potential fairly.  

We don’t know anyone who has been to Eton – does that preclude us from applying? 
We accept boys from all backgrounds, whether or not they have a relative who has been to the school. All boys follow the same admissions process. 

Are the sons/grandsons of former pupils still welcome? 
Of course! We welcome applications from the sons/grandsons and other relatives of former pupils, however they still have to follow the same admissions application process as each place is awarded on the individual boy’s merit.

How much are the fees?
The fees vary from year to year and you can see the current fees here 

What if I'm not able to afford the full fees? 
Thanks to the generosity of supporters, both past and present, we are able to offer a number of bursaries; in 2017/18 we have been able to budget approximately £6.4 million for scholarships and bursaries. The school aims to support as many boys as possible and currently 21% of pupils receive some sort of means-tested financial support, with an average 65% reduction in fees. At the point when a boy is offered a conditional place we have no knowledge of his family’s financial background, enabling us to select him on merit alone. Unfortunately, we cannot afford to fund all of the applicants for bursaries.  

We also offer a number of scholarships, including for Sixth Form entry, and most (but not all) qualify for a reduction in fees, which can up be to 10%. It is possible to apply for a means-tested bursary for the remainder of the school fees but the awarding of a scholarship does not guarantee that a bursary will also be awarded. 

At what point can I apply for a bursary? 
You can apply for a bursary as soon as your son has been offered a conditional place at Eton. We will send an independent company to visit you at home and discuss your finances. The company will then produce a report for us to consider. This is not a test and has no bearing on the admissions process. It is just a way of trying to make a fair assessment as to the level of support you may need. During 2017/18 £6.4 million was budgeted for bursaries (which has come from donations and our established endowment). However, despite this huge sum we only have enough funds to support around one third of bursary applicants. Unfortunately, the awarding of a conditional place at Eton does not guarantee a bursary but we are working hard to grow our endowment to fund more pupils in the future. 

Will a proportion of my son’s school fees be spent on bursaries for other students? 
No. Bursaries are funded through our well established endowment and by the generosity of individuals and trusts.  

My son has special educational needs – do you cater for those? 
Yes we have an excellent learning support team which helps those with specific challenges. 

My son has a disability, is he still welcome? 
Absolutely. We will carry out a detailed assessment of the specific needs of successful candidates to ensure we do all we can to provide the support they need. If you are applying to visit the school and your child or a member of the party has a disability or other specific requirements please let us know when you are arranging your visit, so we can make any necessary arrangements.  

My son’s first language isn’t English. Can he still apply? 
Yes of course, but he will need to be fluent in written and spoken English to be accepted into the school. This is to ensure that he is able to partake fully in the curriculum and additional activities during his time at Eton College. 

Can I apply now for a scholarship for my son who will join the school in two years’ time? 
Entries for scholarships are run during the year prior to entry (and can vary from scholarship to scholarship), so please check the scholarships pages on the website and contact us for further details. 

Why does the school not offer sports scholarships? 
Sport is very important at Eton and boys are encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities. Coaching is available across the board from boys just seeking to improve their skills, through to pupils competing at the very highest levels. However, traditionally Eton College has not offered sports scholarships and there are currently no plans to do so. 

How bright does my son need to be to come to Eton? 
Usually successful candidates will be around the top 20% of their class. We seek to ensure our pupils are challenged academically when they’re with us but can cope with their work. However, we are conscious that our Eton List Test is specifically designed to assess potential as well as current ability and so if you feel this applies to your son please do get in touch. 
We are not just interested in academic ability, we also seek boys keen to pursue a variety of interests and who will make good use of the opportunities Eton offers. 

Download Eton's admissions forms