Best Schools for Getting into Oxbridge

If you’ve got your heart set on receiving an offer to study at Oxford or Cambridge, you should consider applying to a high-quality school with a comprehensive curriculum and an excellent admissions or career department. 

Here is a list of the best schools for getting into Oxbridge, from prestigious, fee-paying independent colleges to free and well-respected state schools.

List of the Best Schools for Getting into Oxbridge 

When it comes to helping students get offers for studying at Oxford and Cambridge, the next 6 are the top private schools around. Scroll down if you want to check out some of the top-quality state school options. 

  • Westminster School

Westminster School is the closest academy that this country has to an Oxbridge feeder school, with between 70 to 80 of its students earning an elusive spot at these prestigious institutions every single year. 

The campus lies in the historic grounds of Westminster Abbey, and the school’s facilities are second-to-none, with a professional-standard Sports Centre and an excellent drama department. Boarding fees are just under £14,000 per term, while day pupils entering into the Sixth Form will have to pay just over £10,000 per term. 

  • St Paul’s Girls’ School

Over 40 students at this school went to Oxford and Cambridge in 2021. St Paul’s has a unique approach to academic engagement and study, introducing liberal arts-style programming in recent years that allows students to choose diverse electives from a range of eclectic subjects. 

St Paul’s offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, from intensive kickboxing sessions and rowing practices to wind ensembles and LAMDA drama lessons taught by professional directors.

  • Winchester College 

This boarding school for boys is located in the heart of Winchester, right across the street from the gorgeous cathedral and next to the ruins of Wolvesey Castle. The campus is home to over 90 listed and attractive-looking buildings. 

Nearly 20% of the student leavers went to Oxford or Cambridge to study in 2020, and the school has an excellent careers department that helps guide every pupil through the complex university admissions process. School fees are £41, 709 per annum. 

  • Wycombe Abbey School

This independent girls’ school is in High Wycombe, a market town around 30 miles northwest of London. Students can choose from over 25 options of study when it comes to picking their A levels, with each pupil following a set of specifically designed enrichment activities to develop their intellectual interests and leadership capacities. 

The school has professional-standard sports facilities, including 5 specialised lacrosse pitches, 20 tennis courts, a fitness and dance studio, and a large climbing wall. In 2020, 22 Wycombe Abbey students received Oxbridge offers, and over 30 pupils were offered places at prestigious American universities. 

If you want to board at Wycombe Abbey, you’ll have to pay £13, 450 per term, while prospective day pupils will spend just over £10,000 for each semester. 

  • North London Collegiate School

This distinguished school was founded in the mid-19th century and helped 23 of its pupils to receive offers from prestigious Oxford and Cambridge colleges in 2021. 

An independent day school for girls between the ages of 4 – 18 years old, this institution is situated in Edgware, right next to the King George V Memorial Gardens. 

NLCS offers both A-level courses and the International Baccalaureate Diploma to its Sixth Form students, priming these pupils for an intellectually stimulating degree at various elite liberal arts colleges in the Ivy League. 

  • Perse School 

This Cambridge school allows Sixth Form pupils to design their own curriculum to best suit their talents and increase their chances of receiving an elusive offer from the most prestigious universities in the world. 

Perse also runs an impressive speaker programme, where top academics and scientists visit the school to engage with and galvanise pupils, inspiring them to hone in on their own scholarly interests. In 2021, 44 Perse students received offers to study at Oxford or Cambridge, with two pupils earning hotly contested places at Yale University.  

The Best State Schools in the UK for Getting into Oxbridge 

Recent research shows that around a third of all prospective Oxbridge students come from the top 100 schools in the UK, with the majority of these schools being prestigious, independent, and costly institutions. 

However, many people don’t have the resources or funds required to send their children to one of these schools. Fortunately, there are a number of high-quality state schools that consistently send more than 30 pupils to Oxbridge every academic year. 

It’s also worth noting that both these universities are investing millions of pounds into outreach programmes in an ever-increasing effort to accept more students from free state schools up and down the country.

Here’s a list of the top 3 best schools for getting into Oxbridge where you don’t have to pay any fees. 

  • Hills Road Sixth Form College 

This distinguished school is situated in Cambridge, just down the road from Homerton College and across the street from the famed Cambridge University Press. Hills Road is a specialist Sixth Form institution that offers A-level courses in over 30 different subjects. 

The school’s extracurricular programming is rich and vibrant, with over 100 clubs and societies on this college’s vast campus. In 2021, Hills Road saw 69 students receive offers to study at Oxbridge. 

  • Peter Symonds College

Peter Symonds College is another specialist Sixth Form institution, with around 4000 students taking courses and attending the school at any one time. This year, 56 students received offers to study at Oxford and Cambridge. 

This college may have a large number of pupils, but its support services are exceptional: every single student has access to their own personal tutor, who can help guide them through the application process. 

  • Brampton Manor Academy 

In 2021, this East Ham school helped to secure 55 Oxbridge offers for its best students. The campus facilities are excellent, with a state-of-the-art Sixth Form centre, television and recording studios, and a fully functioning theatre. 

There are plenty of excellent schools up and down the country that are world-leaders when it comes to receiving an offer to study at Oxford and Cambridge. However, you’ll often find that it can be very challenging to earn a spot at one of these schools: they tend to be oversubscribed and hugely popular, with lengthy waiting lists and, more often than not, steep yearly rates. 

The (Other) Benefit of Attending a High-Quality State School

It’s also worth noting that if you have the choice, you should consider attending  a high-quality state school rather than a high-quality private school: if you do this, you won’t have to compete with any unofficial private school quotas that Oxbridge tutors and admissions staff may have been set. 

In other words, if an admissions professor has a direct choice between a student from a comprehensive who has the same grades and interview performance as one from Westminster or Eton, they will likely offer a place to the former student over the latter.  

The Final Word 

If you’re passionate about getting into Oxbridge, but you can’t get a spot at any of the colleges on this list, consider booking a free consultation with A&J Education to receive exceptional one-on-one guidance through the admissions process.

You can also check out the Definitive School Guides section of our website to get more information on selecting the best school for you or your child.

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