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State School Student Connor Rice Is On His Way To Harvard - After Turning Down An Eton Scholarship

13/08/2015 15:52 BST | Updated 13/08/2015 16:59 BST

A state school pupil who turned down a scholarship to Eton College after saying he felt "out of place" there is on his way to Harvard University.

Connor Smith, from Derbyshire, opted to go to Landau Forte College in Derby, instead of the prestigious school where Prince Harry and William both studied.

"I immediately felt out of place, being the only state-school applicant there. Some students were hugely interested in my background, whilst others weren't so welcoming," he told the Derby Telegraph. "Before I knew it, two weeks passed and an acceptance letter came through the post, listing details of the scholarship and a full bursary – worth £100,000 over the two years.

"Three weeks of indecisiveness went by and it suddenly occurred to me that, if I couldn't decide, I shouldn't go, as my heart wasn't in it."

After rejecting Eton, Connor says he received some backlash. "People were pretty harsh about it. Some called me stupid, which was kind of ironic in the situation," he told student blog the Tab. "And I don’t think I would be going to Harvard if i’d gone to Eton.

"I’ve heard they’re a lot more strict, so I don’t know how I’d have done grades wise."

Connor investigated the cost of going to university in America, and found, with grants, he would be paying "near to nothing" to go to the university - which accepted the student on an unconditional offer.

Now, after receiving four straight A*s in his A-levels, the 18-year-old can wave goodbye to England and head off to study a four year liberal arts and science bachelor programme at Harvard - funded by a scholarship.

The university, where Mark Zuckerberg studied, only admits 6% of applicants, and Connor is the first ever pupil from his school to win a place.

Connor hasn't actually visited Harvard yet, but says: "I get to visit next April and will start in August, but I’d like to do some pre-semester courses and might go early to make some extra money cleaning dorms."

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