AFTER 12 years of endless competition to gain university admission, Yonsei students are finally given a reward called “leisure.” Though for some, even this “leisure” is something far from reality. These people decide to take one of several state examinations for various career tracks in the public and private sectors- and all of the exams are called Go-si in Korean. At times, students bear the pressure of the looming Go-si under quite poor conditions. They are crammed into small rooms closely spaced with each other and listen to lectures delivered to hundreds of people. To alleviate such burdens, Yonsei University provides various services that support Go-si students both financially and academically.
The state examination support center
As one of the divisions under the Office of Student Affairs, the state examination support center supports Yonseians who take the Go-si. For starters, the center invites current public officials to give information sessions on state exams, such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, the bar exam, the patent attorney exam, and so forth. Through the session, lecturers deliver general information about the exams, possible career tracks and the general rates of competition. These lectures are open to all Yonseians, including alumni, graduates, and students on leave of absence.
Moreover, the center provides mock exams (PSAT, LEET, etc.) that cost approximately ￦10,000~￦35,000. Students can apply for these exams through the online “mock exam/special lecture”. After taking the mock exams, students can attend review sessions in which past successful Go-si test takers give lectures based on the answers of the mock exams and then provide their special tips for preparing for the upcoming exams. For exams requiring an interview at the third level, the center invites professors to give mock interviews exclusively for students who had passed the secondary exams.
Besides special lectures and mock exams, the center also provides \1 million in scholarship funding. Financial assistance is provided only to undergraduates who are currently attending school, and it could be applied together with other scholarships. Requirements for scholarship aid vary, depending on the specific state exam the student will be taking, but support generally depends on passing at least the first level of the exam. However, for the CPA and patent attorney exams, the applicants must have a final passing grade on the Go-si in order to receive a scholarship. According to Kim Sook-young (Staff, Office of Student Affairs), even though the requirements can be quite strict, this is still a good chance to receive a university scholarship. She further emphasizes, “Any Yonseians can get the scholarship if they simply meet the requirements.”
Go-si-sil, a place of sparking competition
Each academic department at Yonsei has its own Go-si-sil, a room tailored for Go-si preparation. Among the various Go-si-sil on campus, Kyung-woo-hwae and Kyung-hyun-jae serve School of Business students preparing for the CPA exam. Located on the fifth floor of the Daewoo Hall Annex, students are required to take a micro/macroeconomics exam in order to be accepted. Yang-young-jae is a Go-si-sil run by the College of Liberal Arts that provides services for all state examinations. Yook-yeon-seodang is operated by the College of Sciences in Education, and the community helps students who mainly prepare for the teacher recruitment examination. Meanwhile, the College of Social Science has three Hwa-baek-sil located on the 3rd floor of Billingsley Hall; Politics Hwa-baek-sil, Public Administration Hwa-baek-sil, and Chunchu Hwa-baek-sil. Students in the Politics Hwa-baek-sil typically take the Foreign Service Exam, while the Public Administration Hwa-baek-sil helps students prepare for the Civil Service Examination. Even though it is not exactly a state exam, students from a variety of academic departments in the Chunchu Hwa-baek-sil prepare for the press examination.
The Go-si-sil provides each student with a table in a room equipped with many amenities. In the Politics Hwa-baek-sil, for example, students are each equipped with computers and textbooks that contain the study methods of former Political Science students, or sunbaes in Korean. Inside this exclusive place, students share information and can form a community in which students continuously look after each other. At times, members cooperate together to invite special lecturers from hakwons, a Korean word for private educational institutions, or seek out sunbaes who have already passed the Go-si to give advice. As noted by Kyung-woo-hwae and Yook-yeon-seo-dang, meanwhile, help their members maintain a regular life pattern by having mandatory roll calls every morning and evening. If the students are chronically absent during roll calls, or fall far behind in their studies, they can be ousted from the group. An anonymous student from the Yook-yeon-seo-dang says, “Since there are sanctions for students who do not participate in the roll call, I was able to maintain a well regulated life.”
Miniature Go-si-chon in Yonsei
Studying in a pleasant, comfortable environment is just as important as receiving academic support for Go-si preparation. To mitigate the burden that comes from housing, the fourth building of Muak dormitory, named as the National Go-si-dong, is reserved exclusively for students preparing for the Go-si exams. The space was originally designated for bar exam, CPA, FSE, CSE, and patent attorney exam applicants from regions outside Seoul, but the residence hall is now open to all Go-si takers at Yonsei including students on leaves of absence. While room allocations are normally made at the beginning of February and August, vacancies are also filled as they come up throughout each semester. The number of students that receive places in Go-si-dong total approximately 300 each semester. Students are selected according to their grades in university courses related to their chosen exam, and those who have already passed the first level of the exam, as in the CPA or the bar exam, are given priority for housing. Keep in mind that you are only allowed to stay in the residence hall for six months, so be diligent to re-apply before your semester ends!
How do we apply for housing?
1. Go into Yonsei University’s state examination support center website (http://exam.yonsei.ac.kr/main.aspx) at the beginning of February and August.
2. Click on the “Guide & Application for National Go-si-dong” section.
3. Download the application form.
4. Submit the following documents in person (Room 205, Student Center) or by post (120-749).
- For applicants who already have a result in hand from a prior Go-si exam: downloaded application form, transcript of Go-si result, proof of university enrollment
- For applicants with no prior Go-si result: downloaded application form, result of the English exam and mock exam presented by the state examination support center, recommendation letter, academic transcript
5. Check the website at the end of February or August to see if you have received a place.
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A distinguished French author Jules Renard once said, “Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.” Applying his quote to Go-si preparation at Yonsei, the variety of services, provisions and communities on campus are helpful only when students begin to utilize them. Thus, make the most of what is given to you, Go-si takers, and always remember that Yonsei is rooting for your success!