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Elfi Pallis, Workshop Leader, STATE SCHOOL TO OXBRIDGE

Elfi Pallis has successfully supported schools and students hoping for Oxbridge places since 2003. She also runs advice sessions for parents clubs and BAME groups on its challenging admissions process. As a journalist with an academic background in the Sociology of Education, Elfi has created BBC programmes on education and has written Oxbridge features for The Guardian, The Independent and The Times Educational Supplement (TES).

Elfi first explored the Oxbridge Admissions process while editing the London quarterly of the National Association for Gifted Children and running workshops for poor but able pupils. She was shocked to find that even the very brightest did not usually reach Oxford or Cambridge. After extensive research and interviews with Oxbridge admissions tutors and students, she wrote her best-selling guide, OXBRIDGE ENTRANCE: THE REAL RULES. Grateful readers soon emailed her to say that they would never have got into Oxford or Cambridge without it. Some had not even considered applying. However, after following its advice, all were now thriving at Oxbridge both academically and socially.

Elfi next launched her unique STATE SCHOOL TO OXBRIDGE workshops. Modestly priced, these intensive, one-off events are held in schools and carefully tailored to their current student intake. Reflecting Elfi's awareness of the social, economic and psychological obstacles even the most deserving Oxbridge applicants may face, her workshops combine confidence-building with lots of factual information. Students also immediately practise their new skills.

Teachers have praised Elfi for showing them how to most effectively guide students towards the right pre-application decisions and academic preparation. Students who have attended a STATE SCHOOL TO OXBRIDGE workshop are thrilled to now have a step-by step guide which covers general and course-specific reading advice, plus writing tips and interview skills. In her workshops, Elfi also fosters a better understanding of the link between course choice and future careers, something particularly appreciated by non-university families.

The result, to Elfi's delight, is the regular Oxbridge success of schools which have used her workshops, as well as a gradual rise in the number of students admitted by Oxford and Cambridge from under-represented communities. Even students not getting into Oxbridge usually enter other top universities. Her workshops and talks thus don't just benefit a narrow 'Oxbridge group'.