Independent School Students’ Success in Admissions to Top Universities

Figures disclosing the success of independent school candidates in gaining offers from the UK’s top universities are disclosed in a new survey, just released.

The survey, conducted for the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) and the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA) analyses the 2011 university offers received by more than 22,000 students in nearly 250 schools.

Amongst other findings, it shows that:

  • Virtually all (97%) of applicants received at least one offer;

  • On average each candidate made nearly five (4.8) applications;

  • Nearly three-quarters of all applications (72%) received an offer with each candidate receiving an average of 3.4 offers;

  • The percentage of deferred applications dropped sharply from 10.7% in the previous year to 6.6%;

  • Bristol, Leeds and Nottingham were the three most popular universities for applications;

  • 15 of the top 20 universities applied to were Russell Group universities; four of the remainder were in the 94 Group;

  • Offer rates amongst the top universities varied widely from 28.3% at Oxford to 88% at Loughborough;

  • Offer rates by course also varied widely from 29.9% for medicine and dentistry to 85.5% for engineering;

  • Social Studies was the most popular subject group for applications, with Economics attracting the largest proportion of applications (28%) within that group.

The survey found that most of the schools (94.3%) included Oxbridge in their application with an average number of Oxbridge applicants per school of 21. This confirms that Oxbridge is part of the routine applications of students in ISC schools.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Bobby Georghiou, Headmistress of Bury Grammar School for Girls, and GSA co-chair of the Committee, said: “The survey confirms that the ambitious expectations of the young people in our sixth forms are very successfully met. It is a tribute to the hard work of the students and the care and skill with which their schools have prepared and advised them.”

Dr Tim Hands, Master of Magdalen College School, Oxford, and co-chair of the GSA/HMC Universities Committee, said: “Students and their parents will be delighted that, in a year when university admissions were particularly difficult, independent schools have maintained their excellent record of preparing young people for successful progress to demanding courses at Britain’s best universities.”