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Korea’s Skyrocketing College Application Costs

Posted November. 26, 2007 03:14,   


Due to the newly implemented high school grading system being tried for the first time, students and parents are feeling uneasy about the university application process.

A senior at “S” high school in Daegu was among the top five students of the school with good high school grades but a low CSAT score. In September, she applied for six universities including Yonsei and Korea Universities.

After she took the college entrance exam, however, due to the expectations that there will be many students who received full scores in the “Ga-type” math exam, she applied to five other universities, including Sogang and Hanyang universities. Despite the fact that some of the schools had essay-writing exams scheduled on the same day, she blindly applied for them regardless.

She has spent 880,000 on application fees for the eleven universities alone, since each application fee ranges from 70,000 to 100,000 won.

Experts say that while students applied to three to five universities last year, this year, there are many students who apply from seven to ten universities.

The college entrance exam, which will make it hard to differentiate students is now pushing students toward private tutoring lessons for essay writing.

Right after the college entrance exam, she has already had her essays corrected with two other students from famous teachers in Ilsan. Each student has paid 700,000 won and an extra 500,000 won fee for the essay writing classes in a private institution.

Given that it is hard to predict what grading category she will fall into, she has also been attending a private cram school. She paid 350,000 won for an offline consulting session and 120,000 won for an online consult recently.

Since living in a local region outside of Seoul, she has often come to Seoul to take essay writing classes, causing a greater financial burden.

Recently, she rented a studio apartment near Mokdong, Seoul with two friends, whom she has started private tutoring lessons for essay writing.

Her mother said, “Until now, I have spent around 4 million won on the application process. Having spent an amount of money equivalent to the tuition fee even before entering the college, I am frustrated at how much additional money and effort I have to put into this.”