[Letter to the editor]Advice to the college-bound

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[Letter to the editor]Advice to the college-bound

When it comes to budgeting for college expenses, such as tutors and prep classes, Korean families pretty much know the worst. But they still may overlook the fact that visiting prospective colleges can cost them an arm and a leg, especially if the institutions in question require flying for a dozen hours to U.S. Pacific coastal cities, with onward flights to mid-Atlantic states, and maybe a stop in-between.
The cap on U.S. college applications is now at 10 per student at Honkuk Academy, although applying to UCLA, Cal Berkeley and UC campuses system-wide (there are 10), counts as one application.
With ground transportation, restaurant meals and stays at hostels, costs soar. To make a grand circuit, a trip costs close to 10 million won ($10,660), even if a student uses frequent flier miles. Hint: schedule campus sessions in the late mornings and early afternoons, since a truly enlightened institution will give a lunch pass to the dining hall. Also, your prospective student will quickly learn whether a particular hall pushes the use of forks, or whether the salad bar offers sumptuous helpings of kimchi.
Waiting until you know which college is appropriate saves money, too.
But if your student waits until “regular admissions,” he or she will then be competing against stronger students who had failed to get into more selective colleges.
(By the way, Harvard and Princeton no longer have “early decision.”)
Richard Thompson, English teacher,
Honkuk Academy of Foreign Studies
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