Admissions confusionWith universities given the liberty to set their own admission procedures, applying for college is becoming more and more complicated and expensive.
Applicants and parents have to study extra hard to learn the nuts and bolts of the application system since universities and colleges all differ in their admission requirements and methods.
Tackling them is the first door to getting into college. Access to information and financial resources has become as essential to college entry as a student’s abilities. Application criteria amount to around 16 per university on average.
Nearly 40 universities demand more than 20 documents from applicants. Even the university presidents admit they don’t know all the admission requirements. You can imagine the agony for the students and their parents.
The freedom to choose their own admission process has give universities an opportunity to make their decision based on other criteria than academic scores.
But the problem is that many high schools are incompetent in providing proper admission counseling. Students and parents therefore have to seek out private counselors. Over 300 institutions charge from 100,000 won ($84) to as much as 1 million won an hour for counseling. The diversified admission process, despite its original positive intention, is aggravating the pain for many students and parents.
Universities must come up with a solution to the problem. Universities will introduce standard application documentation from this year and at the same time they should come up with ways to cut down on the confusing variety of admission methods.
The Korea Council for University Education, a congregation of university heads, must consider creating joint student admission advisory services in order to help shave private counseling costs.
It should first increase the staff for the telephone counseling service within the council, which now has only three teachers and less than 30 staff members. It can regularly hold joint open house sessions on university admission procedures, similar to the one held at the Korea Exhibition Center earlier this month.
It should consider joining up with the Education Broadcasting System to run a regular program providing information on college entries. Universities should spend their enormous revenues from application fees on increasing the admission staff to help students with the application process.