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A Turning Point?A turning point?
Kim Kyeong-hee Reporter  |  ellinore@yonsei.ac.kr
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승인 2005.10.01  00:00:00
트위터 페이스북 구글 카카오스토리

   
The current university admission system has both positive and negative aspects. One way to ensure forward progress is to listen to Yonseians.

UNIVERSITY  ADMISSION systems are a frequently debated issue in Korea. The government emphasizes enhancing public education's role in university admission preparation, while the universities insist on the right to choose whichever students each university wants. On the other hand, parents and students ask for an acceptable entrance system which is practiced without any discrimination.
Standing between government policy and public opinion, university admission system wovers in the middle. To what extent should universities' freedom of choice be insured? According to a survey by The Yonsei Annals, about 73.4% of Yonsei students thought "the university should have the right to choose students freely as long as they consider government concerns and public opinion reasonably". Even 21.5% said that "the absolute right of the university in the entrance system" should be guaranteed.
But is the university system designed well enough to give unlimited authority to universities? To view the Yonsei Univ.? admission system from students' perspectives, the Annals surveyed 1,025 Yonsei students from Sept. 2 to Sept. 7. The survey was not conducted by random sampling, and therefore may contain statistical errors.


Korea's SAT should be considered as the major enrollment assessment
First and foremost, how assessment tools are used as a primary filter in the enrollment system needs to be defined. Eunlim Chi (Prof. of Graduate School of Education Kyung Hee Univ.) concluded in the thesis "Evaluating the Predictive Validity of Various College Admission Materials" - based on detailed statistical results measured over 3 years - that a students' High School GPA was found to have more predictive validity than other admission materials.
To determine Yonsei Univ. students' preferences, the Annals asked the following question: On which assessment tool do Yonseians think the university should focus? 36.5% of the students answered that the university should focus on "Korea's SAT". In contrast to the experts' research, most students would value the  Korea's SAT as the most effective admission criterion. "Korea's SAT actually is the utmost objective assessment method, for it is an exam which everyone takes under the same circumstances and evaluates students' ability with assured standards," stated Lee Won-jae (Associate Prof. of Yonsei Graduate School of Education).

39.5% Percentage of students who think the interview test is adequate; among 18.9% who took the interview test
44.1% Percentage of students who think 'the type specialized for foreigners and students educated abroad' as most unqualified
25.4% Percentage of students who say the university should admit all students to majors before they enter the university

The interview test, is it valid?
For early admission decisions, the interview has always been a controversial issue. The validity of an interview test as an important factor in enrollment was often questioned. Therefore, to examine the pertinence of the interview test, the Annals asked the question, Do you think the interview test is an appropriate  assessment tool? to those who took the interview test. 39.5% of the students answered that they thought it was "adequate to test the applicants' academic potential". "Although the specific process of the test needs to be changed a little, I agree with the primary idea of an interview test," stated TaeKyung (Soph., Dept. of Sociology). A different point of view can be seen from another interview. "Maybe it is quite different now, but when I had the admission interview, my questions were too easy, such as 'What is your future goal? What do you think about domestic companies using more and more English?' The atmosphere was free and warm, so that we could not even think of it as a serious admission test which evaluates students' intellectual ability," said Kim Ho-jung and Kim Ha-young (both Srs., Dept. of Business Admin.).
What would the university say about this? "The purpose of this interview is to seek students who comply with Yonsei's vision; leaders who follow the principles of truth and freedom," explained Park Jin Bae (Vice Pres. for Admissions). There is certainly a misconception between the students and the university regarding the goal of interview test. Where do you stand on this issue?

Essay test reformation

The current hot-button issue related with admission assessment criteria concerns Seoul National Univ.'s new essay test. Seoul National Univ. recently announced the form of an essay test which addresses more intellectual problems than the current essay test. The aim is to examine students' creative and logical thinking skills. Approximately 76% of university professors thought the new essay test should be adopted in order to choose well qualified students, according to an interview with education experts conducted by Upkorea. Another survey from "Urgent countermeasure committee to prevent the use of high school ratings as well as individual university entrance exam" revealed civil organizations' opinions that they think the new essay test is not realistic and will inevitably increase private education fees (75%). The Annals asked the question, Are you for or against the adoption of new essay test? 50.8% of the Yonseians were "for the adoption of the new essay test" and only 25.5% of the students were "against" the idea. Though Yonseians were generally not in favor of the essay test as an effective assessment criterion, many students opted for a new one.

Inappropriate admission types
The truth is that various admission types do exist, causing most of the current debate about the university entrance system. In fact there are more than 15 admission types in Yonsei Univ. This diversity can be beneficial to some students while it can act as a disadvantage to others. Would students agree with the idea that all the university enrollment types become uniform? Which leads us to the question, What do you think about diverse university admission types? From the result, 44.5% of the students were "in favor of various admission types", and 34.4% answered "some admission types should be abolished".
Then, which admission type do 34.4% of Yonsei students think should be abolished? 44.1% of these students chose "the type specialized for foreigners and students educated abroad" as most unqualified. "In my opinion, Yonsei students seem to picture students who apply for admission as 'foreigners and students educated abroad' are those who are not highly qualified to enter Yonsei Univ. and may be more privileged, due to their family and childhood environment," Lee pointed out.
In fact there have been many pros and cons about this admission type. Nevertheless, "the type specialized for foreigners and students educated from abroad" had reasons that justified it being maintained. "This admission type is designed to reward the children of people who worked hard promoting Korea's development abroad," said Park.

50.8% Percentage of students who support the adoption of Seoul National Univ.'s new essay test
51.8% Percentage of students who say the UIC makes them feel intimidated or inadequate
33.6% Percentage of students who oppose to the usage of the high school rating lists; compared with 70% of all university students

Major rather than area
Since students who entered the university with their majors predetermined need not work hard in their freshmen years to attain the majors they want, the inequality of attaining majors between different admission types of students has surfaced. Students who enrolled in Yonsei Univ. from academic year 2001 to 2005 under early decision admission system 1 & regular decision admission system were admitted to the general studies area. However, students who enrolled in Yonsei Univ. under early decision admission system 2 were admitted to a particular department.

   

Therefore, the Annals asked the question: Currently, admission units vary as admission types vary. What sort of admission unit do you prefer? The leading answer was "by majors" which was chosen by 25.4% of the students. "After all, students come to university to focus on their majors. Hence, entering university in the  area unit is not effective but rather a waste of time. We can study more about our majors when our majors are predetermined," said Park Dong-hee (Soph., Dept. of Electrical & Electronics Engin.).
On the other hand, 22.7% preferred the admission unit to be classified "by areas". "I think entering university without a predetermined major gives unprepared students the time to seriously think about which major to choose," said Kim Sung-hwan (Fresh., Area of Social Studies). As the results show, Yonsei students' opinions on admission units varied. But the university should acknowledge that all the arguments stem from one reality: different admission classifications being used in the same admission year.

UIC; international or incompatible

Currently, Yonsei Univ. is preparing to open classes in the UIC (Underwood International College). The UIC is a highly selective four-year liberal arts college. All classes are held in English and the UIC offers a low student/faculty ratio which enables close contact with top-rated faculty. Since the UIC is an independent college, different from regular Yonsei colleges, we asked; What's students' opinion in the introduction of the UIC? According to the result, 38.1% of students held "positive" feelings about the UIC, 20.7% "negative" and 40.6% answered "ambivalent". Another question was asked. Do you think the UIC makes ordinary students feel intimidated or inadequate? 51.8% of the Yonsei students said the UIC gave them an impression that "the UIC looked special compared to other colleges in Yonsei Univ." "I guess that UIC chooses special students who are able to speak English better than ordinary students. Also, they listen to lectures from well-known scholars with worldly experiences whom ordinary students can rarely meet. In this sense, I feel different from those UIC students," stated Kim (Soph., Dept. of Theology).

High school rating lists
Do you think the current system is well designed and provides a fair opportunity for applicants, regardless of their regional and family background? 42% of the students thought the university admission system was not administered fairly. "I guess last year's issue about Yonsei Univ.'s high school rating lists may have affected Yonsei students who answered the question in negative way," said Lee Won-jae (Associate Prof. of Yonsei Graduate School of Education).
Yes, the high school rating list has influenced students to think negatively about the fairness of Yonsei's admission system. Then, what do Yonsei students think about universities using the high school rating list? A survey showing that about 70% of the students were opposed to the use of high school rating lists was held in October 2004 with 736 university students participating, conducted by both the Campustimes and the Scout (Job Placement Firm). Yonseians' opinions on this matter differed greatly from the previous survey results. Only 33.6% of Yonsei students were opposed to the idea of the high school rating lists usage. "The reality is that there is a big discrepancy in students' performances according to their high schools. I think it is more rational to make use of the ratings," said Kim Da-eun (Fresh., Area of Nurs.) Surprisingly, 33.6% of Yonseians were sure about the effectiveness of the high school rating lists and 14.7% of the students thought they benefited from the high school rating lists. 

   
Conclusion: Students' voices
From the results presented above, we can ascertain Yonsei students' mentality regarding the overall Yonsei admission system. Yonseians did not agree totally with the current admission tools, units, process and types. Nevertheless, university students' voices about university admission have never been adequately heard. Don't successful university candidates deserve consideration as crucial monitors of the school admission system? As concerned readers, what do you think? The results of the survey should act as a suggestion to the university in order to make admission system fairer and healthier. When the university students' voices are included in admission reformation, the applicants' bright futures could be guaranteed instead of stress and pressure.

 

Classification of respondents
Total   1,025
Sex
Male    531
Female   492
Unidentified   2
Grade
Freshman   402
Sophomore   278
Junior   152
Senior    193
College
Col. of Sci., Engin.   340
Col. of Lib.Art, Bus. & Econ,  
Soc.Sci, Edu   510
Col. of Hum. Eco.    67
Col. of Music   25
Col. of Den., Med., Nurs.   56
Col. of Theology   9
Unidentified    18

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