They may pore over The Times crossword in their breaks but Sheena Bucktowonsing says her new classmates at the independent Brighton college are just the same as at the state comprehensive she used to attend.
The 17-year-old left Falmer high, an 11-16 secondary in Brighton, with seven A and four B grade GCSEs, to go into the private school's sixth form.
Sheena said: "When I said that I carried a clarinet case and books around and did not get bullied, that helped to break down the stereotype that state schools are rough, hard places."
"A lot of my friends thought I would change and become a snob, but it did not happen. I became involved in so many extra-curricular activities. It really is a 9-to-5 college, whereas in state schools you can go home at 1pm if you do not have any lessons."
Sheena, who is Mauritian, is predicted to get two As and a B at A-level and is hoping to go to Manchester university to read English. "The thing I miss about Falmer is that when something was good it really stood out.
Everything is wonderful all the time here, but it becomes the norm."