Applicants From Across the Ocean
Applicants From Across the Ocean
  • Reporter Song Sung-chan
  • 승인 2018.11.29 11:06
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Reporter Song Sung-chan
Reporter Song Sung-chan


Considering that the Oversea Korean Admission (OKA) at POSTECH has been abolished has come to my attention and I would like to take this chance to show what I think is the right step to take going forward.
First, let me introduce myself to build my credibility as a speaker regarding this topic. I was born in Korea, but I moved to New Jersey, USA, after graduating from elementary school. In New Jersey, I completed middle and high school and prepared to apply to Korean universities. While I was searching for different admission offices that I could apply to, I realized that I did not qualify for the OKA. So I applied as a Regular Admission. Here, I will illustrate the experience of applying to a Korean school in hope that it will justify my argument.
Just like there is Common Application, an undergraduate college admission application, in America, Koreans use Uway Apply. Uway Apply is used to fill out the application, write college essays, pay the application fee, and upload recommendation letters, et al.
The problem with Uway Apply is that it requires a teacher to access Uway Apply and upload the recommendation letter. But what if the teacher could just use the English version of Uway Apply? Well, the Uway Apply website does not have an English version! Surprise.
Here is the only solution: send a physical copy to the admission office. The letters must be printed out, put in the envelopes that are sealed, signed, and taped. Sealing and signing every single letter is monotonous. Thankfully, I had a tight bond with my adviser, but I have seen others who failed to apply because their adviser rejected such needless labor. When the sealed letters are in my hands, I then sent the letters via international shipping, which costs time and money.
The recommendation letter is just a tip of the iceberg. There are so many more obstacles hindering international applications to Korean colleges. Here are some. The transcript must be stamped by the Korean consulate official on a busy street in Manhattan (for those who live in the eastern US), again costing time and money. Awards and certificates must be printed and signed by the guidance counselor. Yes, every single one of them.
So much can go wrong with the process I have illustrated above. For instance, what if the student left America after the graduation ceremony? If the student did not prepare in advance, that leaves no chance to apply.
The above problems will prevent prospective students from even applying and POSTECH will lose great candidates. To prevent such problems, I believe POSTECH should implement a new admission guideline: The Foreign High School Admission (FHSA).
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has such program in place, relieving foreign high school graduates from the burden of applying. One of the benefits of the FHSA is that the application period is the same as the application period for foreign colleges. This means that the student does not have to ask for recommendation letters or transcripts later in the year and face the risk of rejection from the teacher. Another benefit is that there is no interview. Regarding POSTECH, I had to fly all the way from America to Korea just so that I can take this 20-minute interview. The absence of an interview will definitely save significant amount of time and money. Another merit with the FHSA is that it gives foreign high school graduates a period for adjustment with the Korean education system. The FHSA in KAIST starts in September for the freshmen year and joins other students from the second year. The students take a year to prepare themselves to take classes with other Korean students. 
I have faith that FHSA will benefit POSTECH and its prospective students.