Standards set for new admissions officer plan

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Standards set for new admissions officer plan

How do Korean universities select incoming freshmen?

In the future, they better look beyond foreign language test scores, academic competitions and extracurricular activities organized by hagwon, or private cram schools.

That was the command of the Korean Council for University Education yesterday when it released guidelines for the system, part of an effort to standardize college admissions systems and lessen the appeal of expensive and time-consuming hagwon.

The admissions officer system was first used among 10 Korean schools in 2007. The number of universities using it jumped to 41 in 2008 and to 90 last year. Those 90 schools admitted 24,622 students.

Admissions officers were brought in to ensure that institutions of higher learning would not select students based only on their national exam scores, but would also consider their potential and aptitude.

Under the standards announced yesterday, each school’s admissions department must clearly explain the selection process to candidates, and detail requirements of the application.

The schools may not limit their criteria to scores in language proficiency tests, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language or Japanese Language Proficiency Test.

They may not overemphasize performances or prizes won at mathematics, science, music or art competitions held outside the applicants’ high schools.

Schools will also be prohibited from forcing applicants to prepare their letters of introduction or other required documents in English.

With the new set of standards, the council said it hoped to ensure that the admissions officer system would not have the unintended consequences of increasing families’ spending on private education.

Skeptics of the system have said the emphasis on extracurricular activities could drive students to take up expensive tutoring to earn high scores on language tests and win prizes in academic competitions.

“The objective of the admissions officer system is to take into account various aspects during the screening process, including students’ potential and the given university’s founding philosophy,” the council said in a statement.

“And to meet the objective, it is only appropriate to select students by assessing different criteria, such as their academic achievements, creative activities and their passion for academics, and by taking multiple screening steps.”

But some oppose the guidelines, saying the standardization will lessen diversity in high schools.


By Yoo Jee-ho [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]
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입학사정관제 공통기준 발표


올해 고3이 치르는 2011학년도 대입 입학사정관 전형에서 각 대학은 토익·토플 점수나 특수목적고 졸업, 올림피아드 수상 실적 등을 수험생 지원자격으로 활용할 수 없게 된다. 일부 대학이 모집 부문별로 지원자격에 제한을 두는 것을 막기 위한 조치다. 또 교외 수상 실적과 영어 구술, 해외봉사 활동, 영어 자기소개서 등 사교육 개입 우려가 있는 항목은 점수에 반영할 수 없다.

한국대학교육협의회(대교협)는 7일 이런 내용의 ‘2011학년도 대입 입학사정관제 운영 공통기준’을 발표했다. 대교협 양정호 입학전형지원실장은 “올림피아드 성적은 참고는 할 수 있지만 사교육 의존도가 높은 다른 수상 실적을 반영하면 공교육이 흔들린다”며 “대학별로 공통기준에 맞춰 선발 기준과 방법 등을 담은 세부 요강을 제시해야 한다”고 말했다.
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