Winchester college entrance(5 Posts)
I'll try and answer here. My DS2 is at Win Coll he has 6 days left until he leaves.
A boy fairly obviously has pretty bright, I once read somewhere over 2/3rds are in the top 3%. But as importantly if he's going to get the most out of his time there he must be intellectually curious, enjoy lots of different things and learning just for the sake of it, because there is a daily non examined lesson covering over the time he's there a wide range of subjects, he will be expected to write a weekly essay on whatever is currently being studied. Many of the dons are also very keen to "go off piste" and not teach to the examination syllabus. It's not a place for a boy who wants to be spoon fed. Winchester's USP is that it provides a broad intellectually stimulating education, it is not about teaching a boy to pass exams. Having said this I know quite a few parents think that 1. The boys feel under considerable pressure to excell academically and 2. That the place is very serious. My DS hasn't had a problem with either of these.
With regard to getting a scholarship, in the schools annual report sent to parents, the warden or head master (can't remember which) said that increasingly there is little difference between the scholars and the commoners, many of the latter now out perform the former, my DS has scholars in all his classes. They do live in "College" their food is supposed to be very good, they live in the schools grounds, so less walking, and I think there in dormitories till the top year (I could be wrong about that), I don't think they have their own garden, they wear gowns, and they do participate in what I call meaningless ritual (which I personally loath). Many boys say they wouldn't want to live in college and some don't even sit the election because of this and others turn down a scholarship and accept an exhibition because they can then live with other commoners.
If I was you I wouldn't be endlessly sitting practice exam papers, my DS only did school exams three times a year until yr 8 no practice papers and he did very well in the entrance exam despite dire teaching from his prep. The school wants interesting curious articulate boys, and of course is known for taking the quirky and the lone wolves. They don't want over coached over prepared boys however bright they may be.
As you DS hasn't even got a place yet If I was you I'd be encouraging him to be interested in things so that when he's interviewed the HM who interviews him will see that not only is he very bright but also keen to learn, able to demonstrate genuine interests in a variety of areas and be happy to talk about them.
Hi, and thanks great information. My DS is a little different from the norm as he pretends he is not that interested in things when his friends are about. He is still a typical 10 year old completely obsessed with computer games but also loves his display of rocks and coins and ornaments that he has collected from holidays abroad. Oh and book marks, he has so many and has to have a different one for every book. Also very in to reading and has created his own library, although if a friend comes over apparently I did that. Although very proud of his things to other adults. Loves museums and science experiences Like his trips up to the RI in London, but without friends. So I really hope he fits in. He seems to have 2 life's he is the normal 10 year old like all his friends, talks only about nothing apart from computer games and then home he is different, still plays computer games but have very random conversations about strange topics that just crop up, like EU or energy resources or what certain illnesses are, or how things are made etc.. He certainly keeps me on my toes.
He loved his visit to Wincol and to be honest what sold it to us was how engaged he was this the house master, who was the head of biology (I think) he was just pointing interesting facts out about things in the class room and he was hooked. He is not normally that interested in animals, but this teacher was showing him some odd fish/lizard thing that apparently breathed different and he was just amazed. I just know he will be so disappointed if he does not get in. I believe he has his interview in January or February so fingers crossed.
Been following Winchester and Eton threads for a couple of years for kicks. The loudest voices here for Winhester and against it in favour of Eton are equally dripping with biases. The former wants to hide that with a not so well disguised self congratulating tone. The latter is understandably direct just as one would expect from the centuries old rivalry. Winchester is indeed full of pointless rituals but what exactly are the ones unique to only College ? Barbecue on Sundays in Cloister Time or log fires in chambers in Common Time? The gowns are a nuisance. The bias against Collegemen is embarrassing to read and comes across overtly as sour grapes. Putting down scholars and then say that DS has scholars in his all his classes only makes it more blatant. When Election questions are put in front of V and VI Book boys every now and then, most still can't handle them and these are questions for scholar candidates at 12. Saying that commoners can outperform Collegemen is meaningless. Non Oxbridge graduates often can do better than Oxbridge ones, there are more of them too. Just look at public exam results by house and how many percent of Collegemen are asked to discontinue to VI Book or receive the infamous letter. Scholars are different though definitely not necessarily better people, a few commoners are like scholars of course but majority are different and openly acknowledged by both. Getting through Election did not feel like a big deal, but looking back it was not a small deal either for that age. Many music scholars and Quiristers feel the same way. Food is variable. Excellent lunches to impress visitors mean a few horrid teas to make up for them routinely. Admission by Election limits freedom in choosing boys versus other houses and College can lack harmony in some years because of that. It is nevertheless a stimulating place compared with other houses on any given day. Never met so many engaging people my age with provocative ideas was the wow factor when I first started College. Many of us would not thrive in another house judging from many of the commoners we share classes with. College accommodation is also variable. 2 dorms for the whole Roll to V Book, then good rooms for 1-4 boys in the VI Book years, including 2 impressive single rooms and triple rooms with floor to ceiling modern window overlooking Warden's Garden. Contrary to common belief, single room is not just for the Aul:Prae. Old construction means bad insulation for heat and excellent barrier for mobile reception. The opposite would have been nice . There is Bethesda and its garden with strawberries and other fruit for picking if so inclined but generally underused. Winchester's approach to education needs a serious overhaul starting with recognizing that impressively educated people do not mean competent teachers by default. What it offers is less well rounded and much more exam focused than it may want you to believe.
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