Students’ success during their first year at university is largely influenced by their university entrance score. Personal characteristics and secondary school characteristics also impact on success. This paper uses quantile regression to investigate how the effects of these factors vary along the grade distribution. It finds that the factors which influence grades have a more pronounced impact on the success of low-achieving students than on that of high-achieving students. These results have implications for student selection and also for the way scholarships may be used to attract talented high school students.