Oxford and Cambridge
Successful Oxbridge candidates, 2009-10
As one of the top 100 schools that provide 50% of the entrants to Oxford and Cambridge, Eltham College has a long tradition of giving advice to Sixth Formers. A senior member of staff co-ordinates applications and oversees a programme of advice, support and guidance. As well as drawing upon colleagues' experience and judgement, he can direct Sixth Formers to Old Elthamians at these universities. Advice to Sixth Formers ranges from a session early in the Lower Sixth for everyone who expresses an interest in applying to organising a programme of 'mock' interviews shortly before the real thing in November of the Upper Sixth.
Advice is given on the differences between the two universities, what to consider when choosing a college, how to seek advice from colleagues about additional work, what admissions tutors are looking for in the personal statement and what you can and cannot do to prepare for interview.
Boys and girls who are successful have a very strong academic track record, intellectual curiosity, the capacity to think quickly in response to new problems and the ability to reveal these qualities in an interview. Interestingly, even the best candidates occasionally stumble, but those who have shown the determination to try again and have re-thought their strategy have invariably secured a place either at another college, or at the other university in the following year. We believe that their selection procedures are robust and reliable.
Our long tradition of success can be seen as you enter Central Hall. Raise your gaze and you will see that the walls are hung with honours boards. Dating from the 1960s, they bear the names of those who gained scholarships and exhibitions to colleges at Oxford and Cambridge. Amongst these names is the Headmaster of Harrow School, a Minister for Education in the Blair and Brown Governments (Jim Knight) and a professor of English at Toronto University who was formerly a fellow at St Anne's College Oxford and Emmanuel College Cambridge.
Over the last 50 years, there has been a steady stream of Elthamians gaining places at an average of 12 per year. Currently, there are 34 Elthamians at 21 different colleges, and although entrance awards are no longer offered, there are still scholarships for choristers. Currently we have three choristers at Oxford (Merton, Exeter and St John's), and four at Cambridge (Queens' (2), Sidney Sussex and Girton). Stephen Farr, organ scholar at Clare College Cambridge (1983) is Director of Music at Worcester College Oxford.
Competition for places is becoming increasingly fierce as A level results have risen and the number of applicants increased from overseas and the EU, as well as from home, encouraged by ever more professional marketing by the two ancient universities. They are acknowledged as 'world class' institutions. There is a plethora of information on college, departmental and university websites and an array of Open Days.