[Letters] The perils of Korean university entrance systemStudents nowadays are scrambling to their feet to improve their chances of entering a good university. It is because they need to enhance their ‘specs,’ which is a word indicating the specifications of one’s ability. A spec includes, English proficiency test scores, GPA, extracurricular activities and so forth. Most students are not even aware of why they are pouring their energy into such activities. The reason students are pushed to pursue such activities is because of the university entrance systems in Korea. High school students know that in order to be accepted into one of the prestigious schools, they need many certifications and acknowledgements of specs.
A problem here is that students mindlessly pursue these activities. Many of them have lost the pure objective of volunteer work and English proficiency tests. Some even use their parents’ connections.
But the bigger problem here is unfair chances. The spec gap between the rich and the poor is getting bigger. Students that have financial support from their parents have a better chance of participating in such spec-improving activities, which are costly.
Of course, it’s virtually impossible to create a completely fair system, but universities should change the system to relieve the financial burden of students preparing to apply for universities. Maybe, when looking for student potential, universities can decrease the importance of paper evaluation and increase the percentage of interviews in the entrance exams. Whatever the solution is, I strongly maintain that universities should acknowledge the burden of enhancing specs, and implement a way in which students will feel less pressure to invest excessively in extracurricular activities.
By Bom Yi Hoang,
graduate of Deokwon Girl’s High School
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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