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June 15, 2016 @ 09:54

St Benet’s Hall is launching two essay-prizes for schools, one Senior (for the 15-18 age group) and one Junior (for the 11-14 age-group).  For further details, including an entry form, please click here.   


Several Oxford colleges run essay competitions for students in the Lower Sixth, but at St Benet’s our own access work has convinced us that outreach from Oxford University needs to begin with much younger age groups. By the time school students have chosen their GCSE subjects they are already setting their academic journey in one direction rather than another.


The Essay Prize judges have set open-ended, general questions to which there is no ‘right answer’. This is not a task to be completed efficiently, of the sort encouraged by much contemporary preparation for exams, but an opportunity for wide reflection, where the student can choose their own examples from any subject area, personal interest or leisure activity. We realise that the younger the student, the scarier this might be, but we want to encourage the kind of ‘thinking outside the box’ that is required of people who might consider applying to Oxford.


We hope very much that writing the essay will be a challenge that students would actually enjoy over the summer months.  PLEASE NOTE: THE CLOSING DATE HAS NOW BEEN EXTENDED TO 8 SEPTEMBER 2016