Making the Grade
In the U.S., it's the. SAT that gives college-bound students grief; in the U.K., subject-specific exams called A-levels inspire the sweating and fretting. But Prince "William, for one, can stop worrying. His scores: a C in biology, a B in art history and an A in geography, the last putting him in the top 7 percent of British testees. William, 18, got the news in a phone call Aug. 16 from Dr. Andrew Gailey, his mentor and former housemaster at Eton College, and is "delighted with the results," said a Palace spokeswoman.
Unlike his father, who was admitted to Cambridge University without the high test scores usually required (Prince Charles took two A-levels in 1967 and scored a B in history and a C in French), William surpassed the grades necessary for admission to his school of choice, the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. The prince, who plans to study art history beginning in the fall of 2001, settled on St. Andrews (enrollment: 6,000) because of its small-school feel. Despite speculation that the Queen may have encouraged her grandson to attend a Scottish school for political reasons, "it was a personal decision for William," says a Palace source. "He was not forced into anything." Founded in 1411, St. Andrews is "very old, even by British standards...and extremely distinguished," says Jenny Lees-Spaulding, an expert on British universities. It has also been called "St. Randy's" by the press for its hard-partying student body.
So far William has shown no indication of joining the fun. He spent the beginning of his "gap year"—the year many British students take before college—on a brief training stint with the Welsh Guards in the Central American jungles of Belize. Although he was there mainly as an observer, "he has been taking part in the survival" exercises, says a Ministry of Defence spokesman. Among them: "learning how to look after yourself, things you can eat, how you can orientate yourself—that sort of thing." Obviously the perfect training for college life.