Students Voice Strong Opposition to Special Screening for Danwon High Students Applying to Seoul’s Top Universities

Seoul national university

The students of Danwon High School, following the terrible Sewol Ferry tragedy that occurred on April 16 of last year, have unfortunately become the subject of news once again, with the controversy over the newly-implemented “special screening” of Danwon students applying to some of the nation’s top universities.

The highly stressful and competitive period of college admission for 2016 — as well as the “special screening” process for Danwon — has come to an end, and those preparing for the national college admission test and college students alike are voicing opposition to the separate admission process for Danwon students, who, according to statistics for the recent application period, face competition that is markedly lower than for regular applicants. 

For example, while normal applicants to Seoul’s main universities face an average application-admission ratio of 25-to-1, those applying via the program for Danwon students face significantly better odds of 1-to-2 for Yonsei University, 1-to-1 for Korea University, 1-to-3 for Sungkyunkwan University, etc. 

Moreover, the process itself is different, the applicants from the special screening process only being chosen based on an interview and their high school grade point average. However, the applicants admitted via this process do not count toward the university’s quota for the new year, and there is an upper limit on how many students will in the end be admitted through this screening.

Seoul National University students posted on an online community for students, “Being compensated and recognized by Korean society with admission to a prestigious university because of the tragic deaths of your friends? Even if it doesn’t affect the university’s quota, the reward is weird,” “This kind of special selection damages the fairness of the entrance exam, and it’s not right for those studying for the exam,” “I don’t know what mental trauma has to do with college admission.” 

Still other students expressed their regret at the awkward situation for Danwon students, and concern for what they might face if admitted to universities in this way. “Because of this controversy, I’m worried that even if they are admitted, they’re not going to be treated the same way.” A source from Danwon High School likewise stated, “I’m worried for the students adjusting properly to university life,” and, “Rather than having students apply just because there is a special admission, we thought it was right to support students based on their [grades], so we tried to take that into consideration as much as possible.”

What do you think of this admission process for Danwon High School students?

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