Seven A* A-levels and still a rejection from Oxford


Rose Troup Buchanan
Friday 16 August 2013 11:58

A student who achieved seven A*s in his A-levels yesterday has been rejected from Oxford - but isn’t 'in any way disappointed'.

Alastair Herron, who studied in Belfast, said he had also applied to a number of American Ivy league universities, and will start at Stanford University this autumn.

Speaking to Belfast BBC radio, Alastair said “I applied to Oxford but they didn't have a place for me. I am not sorry. The university didn't tell me why, they sent a vague reply to me which could have meant anything."

Alastair took A-levels in Further Maths, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Latin and Greek. He also gained 13 A*-grade GCSES in English Lit, English Lang, Maths, Advanced Maths, all three sciences, Latin, French, Greek, German, RE and Astronomy.

He applied to Merton College, Oxford to read Chemistry.

"I would never stay at Oxford with offers from America so I am not in any way disappointed,” he said.

Oxford university refused to comment on individual cases, however, they did release the following statement: “We have very many more exceptional applicants than we have places for and have to turn down thousands of candidates every year who go on to get the very top grades. We would never claim that Oxford was the be-all and end-all, and we know that these enormously talented young people will go on to excel at other top universities.”

Stephen Nolan, on whose show the information was uncovered, later tweeted to say that Alastair had also been given a $64,000 scholarship to study in the US.

His tweets also attracted the attention of British politicians, who waded into the discussion. Although John Prescott tweeted his confusion at Alastair’s rejection, former Conservative MP Louise Mensch tweeted: “He probably wasn’t good enough. A* not everything at Oxford/Cambridge”.

Alastair studied at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. After completing his degree at Stanford, Alastair hopes to go into research.

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