[Letters]Need a stable, less chaotic college admissions system

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[Letters]Need a stable, less chaotic college admissions system

I am going to be a high school senior in a few months’ time. Some people say that I am basically a senior student already, because this year’s national college entrance exam has been taken.

As a Korean senior student, I am well aware that I should be studying hard to acquire excellent scores in the next college entrance examination. However, I also wish to ask the authorities in education to keep the educational system of Korea consistent and stable.

The Korean college admissions system has been changing annually and innumerable kinds of “early decision” (a special type of admission for leadership, proficiency in foreign language, etc.) confuse both students and parents.

This fluctuating nature of the Korean college admissions system is chaotic and makes it is impossible for them to make any long-term plans to prepare for their college entrance exams. I wish to point out that high school textbooks are not revised for several years and high school teachers usually retain a similar curriculum for the same period; yet, the Korean testing system changes on a yearly basis.

I believe this incongruity imposes flawed expectations upon students. The Ministry of Education insists that the admissions structures of universities should remain volatile to reflect social changes and also to respect various talents of students, instead of just encouraging high standardized test scores. In addition, they justify their decisions by claiming that these frequent changes may cut down the cost of Korean private education. Nevertheless, one must face the reality that these decisions may worsen the already problematic current situation.

As long as this unpredictable and irregular college admissions system continues to reign over Korean students, problems will remain. Because certain early action requirements vary each year or because prerequisites remain vague, some students encounter difficult situations. For instance, one of my friends in this year’s graduating class had prepared for one of the early actions, but she was later faced with a problem because extra prerequisites were added just four months before the deadline.

I believe this fickleness in the Korean educational system is too much for students to handle, and therefore drive them to private institutions at the risk of spending huge sums of money. Whenever the government begins its new term, no politician fails to make a promise to reform the university admissions system.

Nevertheless, students continue to attend private institutes after school, perhaps even more so than in the past. Some parents even hire personal consultants for their children, in response to the diversified kinds of early actions.

To put a stop to this vicious cycle, I wish to emphasize that capricious educational policies must be eliminated to reduce the market size of Korean private education institutions; erratically adopted educational schemes cannot solve fundamental problems that lie beneath the surface. In closing, universities and the authorities in education should establish clear and concrete admissions procedures that can stand firm for many years.

Kim Yoo-jin, Soongduk Girls High School
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