SNU’s admissions plan postponed

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SNU’s admissions plan postponed

Seoul National University withdrew its plan to accept high school students from liberal arts programs into its prestigious medical colleges, facing harsh opposition from those in the public and education sectors.

The nation’s elite university yesterday announced its decision to postpone a plan for allowing humanities students - who are not required to take high-level math or natural science courses - to apply to its medical colleges.

“Despite our good intentions for the plan, we considered the possibility that a sudden upheaval in our admission system could confuse a lot of educators and students,” SNU’s admissions office said in a statement. “We will postpone our 2015 plan to allow humanities students to apply to the university’s veterinary college, medical college and dental college.”

In November, SNU announced that it would start accepting high school students from liberal arts programs into its medical departments from 2015 in order to foster more well-rounded talent.

Korea’s high school system is split into two tracks - liberal arts and natural science. Students must choose a sequence in their first year, which is seen as a precursor for their college major. The two groups take different courses starting their second year, with the exception of mandatory subjects, and different university entrance exams.

SNU’s plan for attracting humanities-focused students faced criticism, as it appeared the top university wanted to draw more students from prestigious foreign-language high schools. Those students are known for being bright but don’t learn high-level math and science.

The Korean Council for University Education, a government-run supervisory organization for university admissions, previously advised SNU to reconsider its plan, arguing it could serve as a disadvantage for students from ordinary high schools and other top institutions specializing in the sciences.

SNU’s admission policy has always been at the center of public concern, as it could have repercussions for the entire education sector.

After the SNU’s previous announcement that it would accept humanities-focused students into its medical colleges, the number of applicants from the six foreign-language schools in Seoul surged, from 1.5 to 1, to 2 to 1, on average, according to the Ministry of Education.


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