Questions We Have

How do Hogwarts students get picked for Hogwarts?

It’s an exciting day when a Hogwarts letter is posted through a young witch's or wizard's letterbox, but how were they chosen to attend this magical school? The answer might surprise you…

There is only one way that a student is selected to go to Hogwarts, and that choice isn’t made by a person. In fact, it is made by a book and quill. In a tower at Hogwarts, where no student goes, sits the Book of Admittance and Quill of Acceptance. These objects decide who gets a place at Hogwarts. They were placed in the tower by the four Hogwarts founders when the castle was first built. 

When a child first shows signs of magic, the Quill will rise up from its inkpot and will try to write their name in the Book. However, they aren’t always successful. The Quill is much kinder than the Book when it comes to deciding if a child is magical. The Quill only needs to see a hint of magic to be convinced that they belong at Hogwarts, but the Book needs more. If it doesn’t agree with the Quill, it will snap shut and not allow that child’s name to be written down – until it can be fully convinced that they are magical. 

Neville Longbottom was one student who the Book and Quill couldn’t agree on. It’s strange to think that such an important Gryffindor nearly didn’t get into Hogwarts! The Quill of Acceptance did try to write his name down on the day that he was born, but the Book of Admittance wasn’t having it and slammed shut. The Book didn’t think it was clear that Neville was magical. 

It took a long time for the Book to be convinced that Neville belonged at Hogwarts. Many failed to notice Neville’s magic. It wasn’t until he was eight years old, and his great-uncle Algie dropped him headfirst out of a window, that things changed. Rather than being injured, Neville ended up bouncing down the garden, into the road whilst clearly using magic. That was the moment that he was finally recognised as a wizard and his name was allowed to be written into the Book.  

So, to get into Hogwarts, you don’t have to convince the headteacher or any human that you’re a witch or wizard. You just need to show enough signs of magic to convince two enchanted objects that you truly belong there… which is easier said than done.