How to Go Straight from Korea to the Ivy League

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How to Go Straight from Korea to the Ivy League

Every year, a growing number of Korean youths head to the United States to complete their high school education. One of the primary reasons that more and more Korean parents are sending their children abroad is that they do not trust the local school system. Because of this distrust, many parents decide to split their families up and severely stretch their finances by sending their kids abroad. However, there is no guarantee that this will ensure that their children are accepted to American universities.

Some teenagers claim that the Korean high school system offers a better chance of acceptance in U.S. colleges. Daewon Foreign Language High School graduates Lee Won-pyo and Ham Dong-yun recently co-penned "I'm Going to the Ivy League Without Going to High School Abroad." Lee is heading to Columbia University while Ham will attend the University of California, Berkeley this fall.

Both Lee and Ham are members of the Daewon Foreign School preparatory class, which houses nine students accepted to U.S. colleges. Lee had never received any schooling abroad; nonetheless, he was accepted by eight American schools, including three Ivy League schools.

Lee and Ham decided to write the book to explain how they gained acceptance to these prestigious universities without ever having lived abroad. The authors' final two years at Daewon taught them the essentials for applying to U.S. universities.

Daewon is a special school which focuses on providing students with excellent foreign language skills. Lee and Ham, however, considered English their biggest stumbling block over the last two years. The top U.S. schools require applicants to have a minimum TOEFL score of 630; some Daewon students scored only 400 when they began. The book gives a detailed plan for raising one's TOEFL score, for studying for the SATs, and other detailed information about applying to Ivy League schools.

The Ivy League is a group of colleges and universities in the northeastern U.S., consisting of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania. These schools have a reputation for high scholastic achievement and social prestige.

Lee and Ham are adamant that not only can students successfully apply to excellent universities abroad, they assert that "it is better to do it in Korea." Not only will students save their parents a lot of money if they complete high school in Korea, they will not have to deal with any sort of cultural discomfort at that developmentally crucial age. Further, the Korean school system provides more classes than the U.S. system, thus studying in Korea ensures that students will be better prepared to attend univeristy in the U.S.

by An Hye-ree

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