Foreign high school graduates are poorly received by university students

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[SHUTTERSTOCK]

From the beginning of the college admissions process to the time you graduate, how a student was admitted remains surprisingly relevant, at least in Korea.

Korea is infamous for having a very competitive university admissions system, and only the best students can enroll in a university in the capital, Seoul. Local students can either take the university exams or the CSATs, for the regular admissions route, known as jungsior the early decision admission pathway, known as sushiwhich comes in many forms, where students apply with their school grades and other qualifications, results and records of extracurricular activities.

However, there are some exceptions called teungnyeor a special admission route – and that’s where labels come in.

Through this special admissions route, students who have lived abroad for three or more years do not have to take the CSATs. They can apply to Korean universities with their high school GPA obtained abroad and additional certifications such as SAT or TOEFL.

On Everytime, a community-based mobile app for college students, it’s not hard to find users who write about how they think overseas students had an easier time getting accepted to college than local students. .

“I heard people talking about teungnye students online,” said Kim Min-ji, a third-year economics student at Yonsei University. “From what I’ve seen online, some people have stereotypes that teungnye students get admitted to top universities much easier than those who prepare for university entrance exams here in Korea. ”

One of the main reasons behind the negative looks is the diversity of academic backgrounds. There is a big difference between Korean high schools and the International Advanced Placement (AP) program and the International Baccalaureate (IB) system, which are high school programs for students who want to take various courses at advanced or higher level. Students who went through grueling studies at Korean schools sympathize with each other and may look down on students who went to international schools, thinking they had it easier.

“For Korean universities, preparing for admissions is a very strenuous process, which is the highest priority in high school,” Kim said.

Kim studied abroad in China in middle and high school and entered college through one of the earliest admission routes, especially for students graduating from overseas high school. Students graduating from secondary schools abroad can only apply through this route.

Kim says college admissions are an important time for students. Those who graduated from the same education system tend to identify with each other’s challenges, unique to high school experiences and specific admissions pathways.

“I think many college students are willing to share their experiences with those who went through the same struggles in high school so they can empathize with each other,” Kim said. “If they share the same admissions process, it gives them a sense of belonging and connection. Especially for freshmen, the admission pathway is a common topic talked about since they just graduated from high school.

Most of the local high school students participated in the self-study night, known as yaganjaseupabbreviated to yaya, during their high school years. High schools stay open until around 10 p.m. so students can study late.

Yaja is a big part of local students’ high school memories.

Compulsory and optional subjects in Korean schools require a substantial amount of study to achieve the highest grades and rankings.

Han Yu-ri, a third-year Climate and Energy Systems Engineering student at Ewha Womans University, said, “Students who have decided to take the CSATs don’t focus on coursework from the second year. from high school, and focus solely on CSATs for the majority of their high school career. They must continually solve the same types of questions for all of their subjects over and over until CSAT day. Teachers also know about the difficulties of entrance exams, so they just allow jungsi students to study their own material during class.

Han is a local high school graduate who entered college through one of the earliest admission routes that places more weight on essay writing. She comes from a different admissions route, but a significant number of her high school friends entered college through CSATs under the jungsi route. She says the country needs to improve the current entrance examination system in several ways, especially for the jungsi route.

“Korea should study the cases of entrance examinations in foreign countries that produce many talents and apply them to the situation in Korea.”

A reference of a different education program abroad could be the system in the United States.

Students in the AP program can decide how many AP courses they take. They can balance their GPA by choosing the number of AP subjects they take based on their individual academic abilities.

Another reason why teungnye students are viewed somewhat differently by other students is that the competition for admission tends to be less intense than other admission routes like jungsi or susi.

For example, the competition ratio for susi for Yonsei University College of Business was 6.94:1 for the class of 2021 (541 people competing for 78 places) while the ratio for teungnye students this year there was 4.86:1 (34 people competing for 7 places). This is largely because there are far fewer students eligible to apply for the teungnye admissions route than regular admissions.

However, for those experiencing fierce competition to get into college, the difference in numbers might seem unfair.

Another reason could be that people often think that those who live abroad are rich and therefore privileged. Although expats are not always wealthy, it is commonly believed that to study abroad one needs enough wealth to pay for living and tuition at expensive international schools.

An unnamed 20-year-old university student said that a student’s college admission journey not only shows how he entered a university, but also how the person grew and progressed in life.

The subject of teungnye is controversial, but the system remains in Korean university admissions to support Korea’s internationalization. The advantages of the teungnye system encourage more families to live abroad as expatriates, contributing to Korea’s presence in international affairs. Families know that their children can return to Korea for college education even if they live abroad for a long time.

The teungnye system also contributes to the growing diversity of Korean college demographics. Now, many college students come from a variety of educational backgrounds and admission pathways, and these students all have different experiences before entering college. Teungnye students provide diversity to the university campus, as they have studied in various educational systems in different countries.

BY STUDENT REPORTER KIM NA-YOON [kjd.kcampus@joongang.co.kr]

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