Harrow is one of the few remaining schools in the UK whose entire student population boards. It sits alongside Eton at the panicle of the English public school system. Harrow alumni go on to succeed in all walks of life. This is why; despite the economic climate, the number of students seeking places has increased 66% in the last decade. However, only 160 new places are available each year, so competition is fierce.
The selection process begins in year five with a reference submitted by your child’s current school. Successful candidates will then have a meeting with a potential housemaster. At this point, a good interview will lead to ‘firm house interest’. If this is not forthcoming then do not despair, many candidates go on to get places without this.
What is important is a good performance in the selection tests. Initially, these are a written composition and an online intelligence test, similar to those used to measure IQ. In preparation for the composition, wide and appropriate reading should be encouraged, as should composition practice. It is worth remembering that flair is very much prized by admissions tutors. For the online test, practise papers are the best way to familiarise a student with the layout and types of question they will face.
The next stage is Harrow’s version of the Common Entrance. It is made up of one Maths and one English paper. The individual paper pass marks are 55%, but an overall average of 60% is required. Your child will also sit papers in Science and French, but these have no direct impact on selection decisions. They are merely to determine setting, in the event that your child is offered a place.
Given the stringent academic requirements, your child may well require extra help. However, selection decisions are not just based academic ability. Special consideration is also given to pupils who show artistic or sporting excellence, as well as leadership potential. Therefore, any tutor will need to take into account this bigger picture, when teaching your child.