School profiles’ inconsistency causes troubles

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School profiles’ inconsistency causes troubles

Earlier this month, a teacher at a high school in Paju submitted his school profile, which universities refer to when their admissions offices evaluate applicants for college admissions, and on it he expressed his frustration when asked about the school’s five major contests.

“There are more than five meaningful school contests that develop students’ character and talent,” said the teacher. “Limiting the number to five means I have to focus on the contests that award a large number of students, such as mathematics and science contests.”

While his grievance is specific, it also reflects the more widespread difficulty facing many high school teachers who must write profiles for universities that often ask for various different types of information.

“The Ministry of Education should provide a standardized format for high school profiles,” said an official from the Council for University Admissions Guidance, “instead of depending on universities to send out different formats.”

But university administrators see the need for profiles as taking priority over standardization.

“An objective evaluation of students’ academic competence and achievement level requires a review of high school profiles,” said the dean of admissions at Korea University. “And it’s difficult to standardize student profiles when high schools have different programs and contests.”

This lack of standardized format is further convoluted by the fact that, according to teachers, the deadlines for the submission of these profiles, as well as students’ transcript records, are all the same.

The universities started collecting school data when the Korean Council for University Education announced that on Aug. 18, they would stop providing high school profiles via the High School Information System. An official from the Ministry of Education said, “The decision was made through prior consultation with universities.”

But high schools were notified about the change roughly one month before the deadline for submission.

“The Ministry of Education should have announced the change at the beginning of the year in order to prevent confusion,” said a private high school principal in Gwanak District, Seoul.

Despite these issues, the demand for school profiles is increasing. Starting last year, Seoul National University and Korea University have asked high schools for profiles, and this year 14 more universities have followed suit.

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