[CAMPUS COMMENTARY]Reduce limits on cross-registrationToday’s creative and self-confident college students may feel that academic choices offered by their schools are limited, keeping them from fully developing their academic or professional specialty. But since no school can offer an unlimited number of courses, it’s inevitable that some wish for more choices.
One way to fill the gap felt by these ambitious students would be to take extra classes at a different university. Many students are unaware that many schools are affiliated with one another and offer exchange programs, so a student can take classes outside of their own school. For example, my school at the University of Seoul has exchange programs in which students can take courses at several universities such as Korea University, Hanyang University and Konkuk University.
As an English literature major, I am interested in studying novels written in English, but my school has no relevant course other than “English and the American Novel,” which I took last year. So I signed up for three English literature classes at Korea University next semester.
The advantage of these exchange programs is that you can take classes in both schools at the same time, without paying extra tuition. In fact, you can take classes from any number of universities in a semester, as long as you can manage the requirements.
But there are conditions. Most schools require students to have finished at least two semesters at their home university first. Also, you can take as many classes at as many schools as you want, but credits from other schools should not exceed half of the total credits required for graduation at your university.
As good as it sounds, this arrangement is far from perfect. Local exchange programs generally limit students to their major in choosing classes. This also means that you cannot take certain classes if your university does not have a similar course. This defeats the main purpose of students enrolling at another school to take courses that are not available at their home school.
Some universities in the United States allow students from other colleges close by to take classes at their campus without restricting students to their major. For example, Swarthmore University, a small prestigious liberal arts college near Philadelphia, and the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League university in downtown Philadelphia, allow students from other universities to take classes at their schools if students find such classes are unavailable at their campus. So do Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke and Hampshire Colleges and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. These schools even offer shuttle buses so students can easily move between campuses.
Seoul is a unique city in that most of the country’s prestigious universities are close to one another.
But students and universities today are not making much use of this advantage. At a time when global competitiveness is a major issue at every university in Korea, further collaboration, along with competition, can bring expanded academic choices and enhance the global competitiveness of Korean students.
* The writer is a reporter with The UOS Times, the English news magazine of the University of Seoul.
by Kong Jun-wan