[Letters] Frequent admissions changes hurts students, parents’ wallets
Korea has been changing its education system every year. Although the changes are meant to raise more intelligent students in society, they are inevitably difficult for students and their parents. Due to frequent changes, people have to do more research before turning in their applications to universities.
Recently, a new education system was introduced, the “admissions officer system.” It is supposed to provide equal opportunities to all students in university entrance exams. Although the student’s overall GPA might not be that high, the admissions officers say that they will be looking at the students’ overall academic achievements, not only their “test scores.” However, skeptics have been asking how the admissions officer system will actually evaluate students since there is no strict standard. Critics then mentioned that students will have to participate more in extra-curricular or other “special and unique” activities besides school in order to standout in the application process and therefore attract the admission officers.
However, this sudden introduction of the admissions officer system contradicts the Korean government’s goal to lessen spending on education. If the students are to participate in extra-curricular activities, they have to spend myriads of money. This does not help underprivileged students who are trying to hide their low GPA with “extra-curricular activities.”
The government then introduced another change to this admissions officer system recently. It stated that they will not be giving credit to extra-curricular activities and awards that are received outside of school but only credit to achievements that are made inside of school. This certainly had good intentions but it does not seem to be fair to all students. For students who do not attend specialized high schools, such as foreign language high schools, it is hard to find any special activities in their school that they can receive awards through in the future. Hence, numerous schools have been abruptly creating such contests or club activities that can benefit students in their university application process. Also, students who have long been preparing for certain foreign-language tests like TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and many more, are discouraged by the change. For most of the time, these students prepare for such tests because they have no other choice but to receive high scores on the tests to gain the attention of the admissions officers. They have already put a lot of money into taking the tests and attending private educational institutes. But if the admissions officers lessen the tests’ value all of a sudden, all the money and efforts that these students have been spending become useless.
As one of the students who is going through all these sudden changes, I think that having to worry about the unexpected changes in the future education system while studying is a burden for students. Although it is definitely true that all these changes are done to improve the education system, it should not be applied quickly, without any notice.
Kang Ji-young, Jinseon Girl’s High School