The word ‘happy’ cropped up a lot in our conversations with parents. ‘It produces well-rounded, happy, polite young people and is big on kindness and community,’ we were told.

Start Your Journey

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Aims and Selection

The aim of our Admissions Procedure is to ensure that pupils who join the College are able to be happy, successful and secure within our academic, cultural and pastoral environment. Most Marlburians join us in the Shell (Year 9), where we accept 180–190 pupils from state, independent and international backgrounds to be full boarders. In its more than 1,000-strong pupil body, Marlborough currently has pupils from over 250 different schools resulting in a rich and diverse community. We draw pupils from the whole of the UK and internationally, with around 12% residing overseas. We occasionally admit a small number of pupils into the Remove (Year 10) and then approximately 35 into the Sixth Form (Year 12).

Selection Criteria

In accordance with our Admissions Policy, readiness to live as a boarder within a tight-knit community is a key part of our assessment.

  • We are an academically selective school but value potential as well as achievement. The ISEB test forms part of our academic assessment alongside the reports and references received from a child’s current school.
  • We recognise the central value of Art, Drama, Music, Service and Sport and look for achievement and enthusiasm in these fields.
  • We look for pupils who are prepared to make the most of the opportunities on offer at Marlborough.
  • We do not discriminate on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, ethnicity or social background. Those looking to join Marlborough College must, however, be comfortable with our Anglican foundation.
  • We seek to operate our Admissions procedures fairly and sensitively.

Siblings and Other Marlborough Connections

We value historic and family connections with the College but are also keen to foster new associations and links. We do not automatically offer places to younger siblings as Marlborough may not be the right school for them. However, we understand the importance to many families of educating their children in the same school, and a sibling advantage is applied to each application. There are others who have strong connections to the College such as Old Marlburians and friends of the College. As with siblings, this does not guarantee entry but careful consideration of this connection will form part of the decision-making process.

Admissions Procedures

We understand that the admissions procedures can seem complicated so we hope that the following step-by-step guide will help you understand where you are in the process and what your most appropriate next step will be, whether you are considering entry for your child at 13+ or 16+. You will also find the closing date for applications relevant to your child’s year of entry. 

An enquiry record and a prospectus request can be made at any time up to the closing date relevant to a child’s year of entry.

Open Day – These take place in the Summer Term of Year 4 and invitations will be sent to families who have made an initial enquiry at the College. There is an opportunity to tour the College, visit a boarding house and meet with the Master, members of the Senior Management Team including the Director of Admissions, Heads of Departments, Housemasters and Housemistresses.

Individual Visit – For those who make an enquiry about the College after the Open Day has taken place, arrangements for an individual visit to view the College can be made at a time to suit.

House Visit Day – In Year 5, families are welcome to attend a House Visit Day during the Michaelmas or Summer Term of Year 5. This event is an opportunity for families to view two boarding houses and meet current pupils, Housemasters, Housemistresses and the Director of Admissions.

Families are welcome to register their child up to five years prior to entry, from September of Year 4. It is advisable to register in good time. To progress a child’s admissions status from enquiry to registered, completion and submission of an online registration form is required along with a non-returnable registration fee of £250. The registration form can be obtained by contacting the Admissions Department.

Families will receive an invitation to the Admissions Day which takes place in the Michaelmas Term in Year 6. This event occurs shortly before the closing date of enrolment for assessment.

The Admissions Day includes an optional tour of the school, talks by the Master, senior pupils and the Director of Admissions, and a viewing of up to two boarding houses meeting with respective Housemasters or Housemistresses and current pupils. Members of the Senior Management Team, Heads of Departments and Housemasters and Housemistresses are available to meet.

For those wishing their child to be assessed in Year 7, these events will happen a year later.

For those enrolling for assessment and interview in Year 6, the closing date is in the Michaelmas Term, Year 6.

For those enrolling for assessment and interview in Year 7, the closing date is in the Michaelmas Term, Year 7.

The Admissions Department should be contacted directly by families who wish to enquire about late entry in Year 8.

The closing date for applications relating to bursarial support is 1st September of the academic year in which the child wishes to be assessed. Further information about bursaries can be found here. Bursary allocation will be made primarily for those who are assessed and interviewed in Year 6. A smaller fund will be available for those being assessed in Year 7.

Entry assessment:  Enrolled applicants will be invited to an assessment day which takes place during the Lent Term of Year 6 (or the Lent Term of Year 7 or Year 8 for later applications). The College aims to make the entry assessment day as pressure-free as possible. On the day there are two short writing tasks (no preparation is required), an interview with a Housemaster or Housemistress, an interview with a boarding house tutor and some informal group activities.

College place offers: As a result of the current Head’s reference, the ISEB Pre-Tests and the assessment day and interviews, confirmed list and waiting list College place offers are made towards the end of the Lent Term of Year 6 (or end of Lent Term of Year 7 or Year 8 for later applications).

House place offers: Families whose child has a confirmed list College place will be invited to a final House Visit Day which will take place in the Summer Term of Year 6. The focus of this event is for families to tour boarding houses and meet with Housemasters and Housemistresses in order to request their final preferred boarding house choices for their child. After the event and before the end of the Summer Term in Year 6, parents will be asked to submit their preferred first, second and third choice of boarding houses. House place offers will then be made early in the Michaelmas Term of Year 7.

For those assessed in Year 7 or Year 8, boarding house preferences will be taken into account during allocation, although availability will vary year on year.

Incoming pupils will be invited to an Experience Day to meet with each other and try out an activity of choice – Academic, Art, DT, Drama or Music. It is a chance to get to know the College environment a little better and a useful orientation day for those who may be contemplating a scholarship application.

For those who wish to apply for a scholarship, awards are available in the following categories: Music, Academic, Art, Design Technology, Drama and Sport. Only children holding an A list place can apply. Scholarships at Marlborough are not related to bursarial support. Children who are successful in gaining a scholarship will be offered an enhanced programme of mentoring and enrichment once they join the College. Scholarship examinations and assessments take place at Marlborough College during the Michaelmas and Lent Terms of Year 8.

Further details about scholarships, eligibility and requirements can be found in the Scholarship Prospectus.

Children with a confirmed list place will sit Common Entrance Examinations in the Summer Term of Year 8. We are fully aware that a number of our feeder schools do not prepare their pupils for these exams and these children will be asked to sit a minimum number of papers. The results will be used to determine the children’s sets on arrival at the College but careful note will be taken of those children who have not been prepared for the exams. Those who have succeeded in being awarded an academic scholarship will not be required to sit the Common Entrance Examinations.

Children with an A list place and their families are invited by their future Housemaster or Housemistress to a summer social event in Year 8. This is a chance for incoming pupils to meet with their fellow housemates and families.

New pupils to Marlborough College are welcomed in the Michaelmas Term of Year 9.

The above information can be downloaded for easy reference:

Closing date relevant to a child’s year of entry

The application deadline for 13+ entry assessment in Year 6 and Year 7 has now passed. For late entry assessment in Year 8, please contact the Admissions Department. 
The application deadline for 13+ entry assessment in Year 6 and Year 7 has now passed. For late entry assessment in Year 8, please contact the Admissions Department.
The application deadline for 13 + entry in Year 6 has now passed. Enquiries and registrations for 13+ assessment in Year 7 are welcome. The application deadline is 9th October 2022.
Enquiries, prospectus requests and registrations welcome. House visit events will take place in the Summer Term 2022. 
Enquiries, prospectus requests and registrations welcome. The Open Day events for 13+ entry in 2026 will take place in the Summer Term of 2022. 

An enquiry record and a prospectus request can be made at any time up to the closing date relevant to a child’s year of entry.

Year 10, Summer Term – An invitation to a Lower Sixth Afternoon Visit will be sent to families who have made an initial enquiry or have registered their child. Alternatively, arrangements for an individual visit to view the College are welcome.
Registrations can be accepted at any point up until the deadline date for entry (1st October, Year 11) and require completion and return of a registration form along with a registration fee of £250.
Year 11, Michaelmas Term – The deadline date for bursarial support applications is 1st September, Year 11. The opportunity to enrol for the entry assessment is available until the deadline date of 1st October, Year 11. In the November of Year 11, enrolled pupils will sit entry examinations relevant to their proposed A level subjects followed by an interview. Any pupil applying for a scholarship will have an additional interview on the assessment day.
Year 11, Michaelmas Term – As a result of the assessment, offers will be made in early December of Year 11, when an acceptance of a place is confirmed on receipt of a fee deposit.
Year 11, Summer Term – Successful pupils who have accepted an offered place and their parents are invited to the College for a pre-arrival event.

Year 12, Michaelmas Term – New Sixth Form pupils are welcomed in the Michaelmas Term of Year 12.

The above information can be downloaded for easy reference:

Closing date relevant to a child’s year of entry

The application deadline for 16+ entry assessment in Year 12 has now passed.

The application deadline for 16+ entry assessment in Year 12 is 1st October 2022.

The application deadline for 16+ entry assessment in Year 12 is 1st October 2023.

The application deadline for 16+ entry assessment in Year 12 is 1st October 2024.

The application deadline for 16+ entry assessment in Year 12 is 1st October 2025.

Contact Us

For further information or questions about our admissions procedures, please contact the Admissions Department by email at admissions@marlboroughcollege.org or telephone on +44 (0)1672 892300. We would be delighted to help you.