Nearly all Harrovians move on to university on completion of their A levels, with the vast majority taking up offers from their first-choice institution. Many boys progress directly to university, while others choose to pursue a gap year project first.
The range of Harrovians' university destinations is becoming broader, both in terms of the number of UK institutions and courses, and the overseas applications arising from an increasingly global perspective. American universities, in particular, are featuring ever more prominently, with many boys attracted by the Liberal Arts model and the high quality and range of campus facilities on offer. European universities are also beginning to attract attention, along with more distant destinations such as Hong Kong, Australia and Canada. Approximately one fifth of Harrovians now undertake tertiary study abroad, with the remainder seeing great success securing places on the most competitive and prestigious courses in the UK. No matter the country or the institution, what is certainly true is that Harrovians routinely progress into higher education that ranks among the best the world has to offer.
Of those leaving Harrow in the summer of 2015:
- 26 boys took up places at Oxford, Cambridge or Ivy League institutions – by almost any measure the most competitive universities in the world.
- Two boys gained places at Harvard – Harrow was one of only four schools nationally to achieve this.
- Almost 50% of the boys taking up places in 2015 were doing so at the world’s top 40 universities.
- Just under 80% of the boys taking up places at UK institutions joined Russell Group universities.
Over the past three years, the top UK destinations for Harrovians have been Bristol, Durham, Edinburgh, Exeter, London School of Economics, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford and University College London.
The Academic and Universities Director oversees university preparation, from initial ideas about course choice through to application submission. A dedicated Oxbridge Coordinator oversees boys applying to Oxbridge. Heads of Subject also offer specialist subject support, seminars, tutorials, personal statement advice and mock interviews. Similarly, the Master in Charge of American University Applications oversees all those applying to US institutions, guiding them through this particularly complex process, including the ACT and SAT admissions tests, and arranging visits from US Admissions Tutors.
Wherever a Harrovian decides to apply, detailed and bespoke advice and resources are available to ensure that he makes the right decisions and maximises his chances of taking up the place of his choice.
Boys are encouraged to begin thinking about university in the Fifth Form, when the A-level subject information evening and Careers Fair both offer a wealth of information about appropriate subject choices and combinations for a wide range of possible courses and careers.
Preparation and research begins in earnest in the autumn term of the Lower Sixth, with an introduction to the Universities section of the Vaughan Library, setting up of accounts with BridgeU (application management software that also recommends suitable courses, using existing attainment, predicted grades, interests and admissions data) and a 1:1 interview with a member of the Universities Team. This interview seeks to establish initial ideas about the right course and institution, for later discussion with Tutors. Boys put together a long-list of university choices and begin to outline their personal statement over the Christmas holiday of the Lower Sixth.
In the spring term, research continues with guidance from Tutors, House Masters and the Universities Team. There is also a series of universities talks and lectures, as well as an information session for parents and visits from admissions tutors at a range of institutions, both in the UK and abroad.
Much of the summer term is focused on preparation for AS and internal examinations, on which A-level grade forecasts are based. With these complete, focus turns again to university; the Lower Sixth University Preparation Course runs over two half days towards the end of the summer term, offering practical information and expert advice, as well as a Higher Education Fair, giving boys direct access to admissions tutors and academic staff from a diverse range of institutions. By the end of the course, all boys have set up their UCAS accounts, made an initial selection of five universities and have completed a draft of their personal statement.
- An online Super-Curricular tracker records their academic engagement beyond the taught curriculum, and encourages them to reflect on and develop their experiences.
- An online Centigrade Test suggests suitable areas of study, based on academic and extra-curricular interests and aptitude.
- The Vaughan Library's dedicated Universities and Careers section gives access to extensive printed and digital resources, including the UCAS Search Tool.