2 in 5 university students attend cram schools

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2 in 5 university students attend cram schools

Korea is famous for its elaborate cram school industry, with hundreds of thousands of students heading to school after they finish school every day in a bid to get into a prestigious university.

The cram school market now extends to job seekers - two in every five university seniors are now enrolled in cram schools, spending 2 million won ($1,670) per year to receive help in applying for jobs, according to a local survey.

Job search website Job Korea and Albamon, its subsidiary website for part-time jobs, conducted a survey on 1,080 junior and senior university students this month. Among them, 38.2 percent, or 413 people, replied they have experience enrolling in cram schools related to job seeking or applications in the past year.

When the company ran the same survey three years ago, the ratio of positive replies was smaller, at 18.2 percent. But for those who received paid assistance, the average spending slightly fell from 2.23 million won in 2016 to 2.05 million won a year.

On what kind of services they received, half of the 413 respondents said they enrolled in lectures to study for licenses or certificate tests related to their major. Thirty percent had received professional consulting services such as editing motivation letters while 25 percent took classes to receive better grades in English assessment tests like the Test of English for International Communication (Toeic). Multiple answers were allowed.

The results were slightly different from three years ago, when English classes proved to be the most popular with one-third of the votes. Job Korea explained that behind this change was a shift in hiring trends to give more points to applicants that had more knowledge or experience in the specific job sector they applied for, rather than “jack-of-all-trade” candidates with many different skill sets like high English test scores or perfect grades.

Among the 61.8 percent of respondents, or 667 people, who said they visited cram schools in the past year, 64.5 percent said it was because they weren’t financially stable enough to do so. Thirty-three percent said they weren’t convinced the courses would help. Multiple answers were allowed.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
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