The key changes to Korea University’s new admissions system are the discontinuation of essay writing and the increase in the admissions quota for candidates based on a comprehensive evaluation of student records. Vice President Yang said, “Currently, the best method for identifying students with potential is a comprehensive evaluation of their high school records. The documents show how they have performed in the past three years, and interviews are conducted to meet and assess the candidates in person.”
“The goal of the new system is to identify students with potential through a holistic evaluation. Essay writing was discontinued because it has only one focus: how well students write. It also results in students being overly dependent on private education. The Office of Admissions has been reorganized so that we can identify talents through a multi-dimensional evaluation.”
The ideal candidate in the eyes of Korea University is “one who is capable of finding and resolving issues instead of solving given problems and consistently builds upon the knowledge acquired in university.” This profile is in line with the university’s vision of nurturing pioneering intellectuals.
Vice President Yang said, “Artificial intelligence will outperform humans when it comes to rote learning, and the future calls for a different type of talent.” The new admissions system is part of the university’s efforts to prepare students for the future and keep ahead of the times
Each candidate is evaluated by 8–10 admissions officers based on document screening and an interview removing biased views to ensure fairness
The comprehensive evaluation of high school records consists of document screening followed by an interview. Document screening is conducted over three sessions, and an extra fourth session may be added if there are differences in opinion among admissions officers.
Candidates who have passed the document screening are interviewed based on their student records and a standard set of questions. Two admissions officers are assigned to each interview session, totaling four per student. Faculty members of Korea University serve as admissions officers. With the entire process of document screening and interviews, each student is assessed by eight to ten admissions officers. The large number of admissions officers helps to remove biased views and ensures greater fairness in student evaluation. Vice President Yang said, “We paid special attention to the evaluation methods and procedures since fairness is an extremely important factor in qualitative evaluation.”
Students must be capable of not only processing given information, but also deriving new knowledge. Both quantitative and qualitative evaluation are needed to determine whether candidates have such potential.
“The interviews involve an in-depth assessment of candidates to discover potential that may not have been revealed in document screening. The questions based on their student records are intended to check the accuracy of the provided information. The standard set of questions, on the other hand, can be more challenging. That doesn’t mean you’ll need private tutoring. Critical thinking is the key. A list of questions from past interviews can be found on the official website of the Office of Admissions. The website also contains specific guidelines on the new system for the benefit of high schools and candidates.”
Selecting students with potential over “perfect” individuals
This year, Korea University has allocated 61.56% of the regular admissions quota and 73.27% of year-round admissions to a comprehensive student record evaluation. The admissions quota according to category is 1,100 in high school recommendation II, 1,207 in general, 25 in social contribution I, and 25 in social contribution II . The multidisciplinary talent category, under which 505 students were admitted to last year (13.19%), has been eliminated. A new category is high school recommendation II. For all four categories, candidates must meet the minimum score of the College Scholastic Ability Test. Candidates applying to the general category and high school recommendation II category cannot apply to the high school recommendation I category.
The minimum score of the College Scholastic Ability Test must be met for year-round admissions. Vice President Yang said, “If there is no minimum requirement, the university will see a huge increase in candidates. This will be a greater burden, and it may be difficult to properly perform document screening within the given time.” By simulating the admissions process through a mock trial, the Office of Admissions found that it can accommodate up to 30,000 applicants.
Despite the controversy surrounding the ambiguous qualitative evaluation based on student records, many universities agree that it is the most effective method of selecting and nurturing talent for the future. High schools welcome the new policy as it takes into account the performance of students in the past three years. According to Vice President Yang, students cannot be evaluated using a single criterion alone, especially in this ever-changing world.
“The fundamental difference between exam-based grading and multi-dimensional assessment is that the latter is more proactive. Under a passive admissions process, students are evaluated based on their problem-solving skills. A more active process looks beyond problem-solving, focusing on their capacity to serve as future leaders. Students must be capable of not only processing given information, but also deriving new knowledge. Both quantitative and qualitative evaluation are needed to determine whether candidates have such potential.” Through the new system, Korea University expects to contribute to the normalization of public education and nurture talents for the future. The new system, now in its first year, has been running smoothly thanks to the university’s comprehensive analysis of admissions-related data accumulated over the past decades. Vice President Yang said, “Korea University seeks to nurture students who show potential rather than those who are already perfect. We hope to serve as a role model for university admissions in Korea.”