KU to Normalize the Public Education System via Reforming Admissions Policies
More weight toward high school recommendations,
the abolishment of essay tests (nonsul), and the reduction of special admissions (teukgija) and regular admissions (jeong-shi)
Reform of admission policies aimed at building trust between high schools, universities, and society
The President of Korea University, Prof. Jaeho Yeom, is advocating for educational reforms to improve Korea’s future.
Korea University announced changes to its university admissions policies for the 2018 school year. Changes will occur largely in two directions: 1) to recruit and select students for Korea University based upon the idea of “pioneering intellectuals” for the 21st century, and 2) to contribute to the normalization of the public education system which happens to be both the mission of Korean society as a whole, as well as, a goal actively pursued by the current government.
Amidst this background, Korea University will implement its new system of university admissions starting in 2018 consisting of expanding the role of high school recommendations, the abolishment of essay tests (nonsul), and the reduction of special admissions (teukgija), as well as regular admissions (jeong-shi).
More high school recommendations & abolishment of essay tests (nonsul)
In principle, high schools responsible for educating university applicants for at least three years will be given the right to recommend students for admissions as they see fit, and the university will wholeheartedly accept these recommendations. Positive outcomes from these policy changes will include the strengthening of trust between high schools and universities, as well as contributing towards the normalization of the public education system.
Korea University’s previous admissions system of evaluating high school academic records will be maintained, but augmented with the new high school recommendations and a comprehensive records system that emphasizes the importance of student records. The additional number of students admitted through the high school recommendation system will be offset by the number cut from abolishing the essay tests. As far as the essay tests are concerned, we believe that the original intentions for this system have gone amiss as major negative externalities have taken root, such as the rise in private education. In addition, many high schools on the frontline have complained of difficulties teaching essay writing. As a result, Korea University has decided to abolish the essay tests as part of university admissions in order to reduce the costs of private education and assist in normalizing the public education system.
Reduction of special admissions and regular admissions options
Korea University will be reducing the number of students admitted under the special admissions category by clearly and narrowly defining the definition of the term ‘specialist’ in order to ensure that those admitted under this option display truly remarkable qualities. This measure, again, is expected to reduce the side effects of university admissions, such as the proliferation of private education.
The reduction of regular admissions has its roots in the weakening of the College Scholastic Ability Test’s (CSAT) ability to assess student ability, especially in the wake of the adoption of absolute scales for English scores by the government. In addition, an improvement upon the previous system of fragmentary evaluation based upon CSAT scores was also necessary.
Interviews strengthened across all admissions options
Korea University will be utilizing applicant interviews to comprehend not only academic ability but also details of applicants’ future potential. The students admitted will henceforth better reflect Korea University’s philosophy of cultivating intellectuals able to lead in future global affairs and experience a more well rounded and satisfying student life.
The strengthening of interviews in the admissions process will necessitate improvements in standards for evaluating applications as well as interviews, especially in light of the other admissions reforms the school will be undertaking in the future. Nevertheless, Korea University’s goal is to implement the normalization and advancement of Korean education by reforming its admissions policies to better foster future Korean leaders.