How to apply to Eton: understanding the application process

Ed is a tutor with Owl Tutors


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October 16th, 2018

How to apply to Eton: understanding the application process

Eton is arguably the most famous boarding school in the world. In this blog, Ed sets out the main aspects of the Eton admissions procedure with hints and tips that might maximise your son's chances.


Founded in 1441 Eton is the largest boarding school in Europe and has built a formidable reputation of excellence.  Currently Eton educates approximately 1,300 students aged between 13-18.  As might be expected, admission to Eton requires high academic ability and competition can be fierce, with approximately a quarter of applicants receiving a place.

The admissions procedure is presented and administered in a fair and open way.  As might be expected with any modern institution, Eton makes clear that students with SEN or medical conditions need not be put off from applying.

Given that Eton is a unique institution with a unique history, the Admissions Master has a pastoral responsibility to check that each boy would fit into the school from their first day.  This is particularly important when considering the boarding nature of the school.  If a boy has no prior experience of boarding, they will need to demonstrate that they would excel away from home and their family.


Prospective students need to be registered for a place when in Year 5 of their current school.  Many Prep schools with systems in place to support applicants with this process.  So be aware if applying without this support because if this deadline is missed the student will be too old to apply for that year’s assessments and therefore will be unable to apply for a place.


All boys must sit assessments in English, Maths, Verbal and Non-verbal reasoning by November of Year 6.  Eton does not provide past papers as they are sat electronically.  A boy well prepared for general 11+ assessments should fare well however.

If a student passes this stage and on receipt of a good Headteacher’s report and a successful interview, he will be invited back to the second stage of the pre-testing process.  The second stage consists of a further interview, group work and the assessment of problem solving and academic potential.

If all goes well, a conditional offer will be made.

13 + Examinations

Boys with conditional places must pass either the scholarship assessments (see below), Common Entrance assessments or the Eton Assessment which covers the National Curriculum (for those coming from the maintained sector).

Successful completion will result in a place being offered, but as with many schools, the place may be withdrawn at the discretion of the Head Master.

Sixth Form

In addition to joining at 13+ it is possible to join Eton as a sixth former. The minimum academic expectation for applicants is at least six academic GCSEs at Grade 7.  As of August 2018 there are not many places available for sixth form entry, currently only 4 are offered for fee paying entrants.  Up to 9 Sixth Form Scholarship places are available however, to students of high academic ability from the state sector.


The King’s Scholarship is set aside for boys who pass demanding assessments across a number of subjects and result provide a 10% deduction in fees.  All boys must sit English, maths, science and the general paper.  They can then choose three papers from classical languages, modern languages (French or Spanish), maths B, general paper II and humanities.  There approximately 14 places available each year.

Up to 8 musical scholarships are offered for students of exceptional musical ability and potential.

The New Foundation Scholarships provide 4 places for student from the state sector who display exceptional potential.   Fee deduction and support is treated case by case.

Boys who fail to gain a scholarship are still entitled to make an application for a mean tested bursary.


Fees for 2018-19 are £13,556 per term totalling £40,668 per year.  Termly fees do not include fees for music classes and trips which are paid separately.

The current (Aug 2018) registration fee for a place is £390.  Upon acceptance a partly refundable fee of £2,100 is made.





Ed is a tutor with Owl Tutors

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Ed qualified as a teacher in Religious Education in 2012, and now works as a tutor with Owl Tutors.