From Passive to Active: Setting out to Discover Gemstones of Infinite Possibilities,
KU Becomes the First University to Establish an Office for Discovering Talented Students
Contributing to the Normalization of Public Education and Cultivating Intellectuals for the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Another change has begun at Korea University (KU) in actively promoting educational reforms for future generations.
KU has changed the name of its former Office of Admissions to the Office of Talented-Student Discovery and began selecting prospective students in March 2017. KU has become the first among domestic universities to cease using the word “admissions” in the name of the office responsible for university student recruitment.
KU strongly believes that discovering potential talent exceeds all other considerations in selecting new students who will later become protagonists of the future. This reflects KU’s willingness to more actively seek students who possess strong potential rather than rely on the prevailing passive admissions system that waits for incoming applications.
Over the past year, KU organized a talent discovery committee and has been holding in-depth discussions on new initiatives in discovering intellectuals in preparation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the 21st century. To gain trust from various social sectors, including high schools, as a leading educational institution contributing to the normalization of public education, KU has sought to identify talented intellectuals who are capable of problem-solving, rather than being tamed by the existing rote learning education system.
After adopting its new designation, Office of Talented-Student Discovery (Office of Admissions), the most significant change was the increase in the selection of students in the admission system through high school recommendations. Compared to the 2017 university entrance procedures where KU selected 635 students on the basis of high school recommendations, it plans to select approximately 1,500 students through high school recommendation I and II for 2018 admissions. Not only does this show respect for recommendations from frontline educators, which elevates education authority dignity, but also strengthens trust and ties between high schools and universities. In addition, rather than complacently accept the prevailing notion that a few high schools are superior to the rest, the change that KU brings will positively impact the diversity, balance, and equality among high schools. KU has also decided to provide more opportunities to more students by allowing recommendations for up to 4% of the student body of each high school.
Moreover, by abolishing the existing essay examination, KU will reduce the regular screening process and focus more on expanding the rolling screening system. In 2018, the school transcript screening system, which accounted for 15.8% of the selected student population, will be increased to 75.2% (equivalent to 2,600 students), which equates to five times the level of 2017 university admission. This means that instead of relying on one-shot examinations (KSAT scores and essays), KU will select intellectuals with potential by screening and assessing students’ overall grades, conduct, and accomplishments over their three year high school life.
KU also intends to assess student potential for development as well as their overall grades through in-depth interviews. In addition to the existing screening process, students will be expected to participate in more personalized interviews based on their school records for more thorough evaluation. The time and weight of such interviews will be proportionally expanded. KU plans to select students who meet the standards of what KU considers to be potential future leaders.
Accordingly, KU plans to increase the number of personnel involved in such transition. KU will also seek to improve substantiality and reform the existing entrance evaluation system by doubling the number of admissions officers.
Along with the series of changes, the Office of Talented-Student Discovery (Office of Admissions) will strive to better understand the high school environment by expanding its channels for providing information. By producing comprehensive and informative guidelines and video clips about its entrance examinations including interviews, students will be provided with sufficient information to allow them to fully prepare without having to rely upon private tutoring. Moreover, KU plans to expand visits to high schools to provide information on entrance examinations and career guidance. It is also undertaking to collect more educational environment data from each high school and hold teacher conferences and training sessions in order to strengthen its relationship with high schools.
Chan Woo Yang, Director of the Office of Talented-Student Discovery (Office of Admissions), said, “The rationale behind the change in the name of the office is based on KU’s intention to discover potential students (gemstones) who can escape from old fashion methods and design their own future through self-autonomy.” He further said, “KU will not allow hard working students who are financially challenged to become alienated and, through the change that KU is willing to make, hopefully help public education get back on track.”