Special Report

The Admissions Officer System assesses students with various criteria, not only from their test scores.


South Korea’s education system has changed over time. Recently, the admissions officer system has emerged. The admissions officer system is intended to free students from the test-based college entrance process and to assess applicants based on their potential and extra-curricular activities. Nowadays, it has become a controversial issue with many loopholes. However, I think that the admissions officer system should exist.

First of all, the system helps to change the grade supremacy climate. Before this system, the college scholastic ability test and high school records were the only criteria to enter university. Therefore, students’s grades were very important. However, because of the admissions officer system, student’s activities and ability in other fields are regarded as critical factors. For example, if a student wants to go to the department of mass communication, the student will join a club like the broadcasting club.

Second, the system is intended to help students choose the fields that they are interested in. For example, a student who had a low grade in school passed an entrance examination because of the admissions officer system and then entered KonKuk University. The student gained the second level in the Korean History Examination. The student only had a good grade in history and other subject’ scores were not good. However, owing to the admissions officer system, students can major in the subjects that they really want to do.

Third, the system enhances public education and lowers private education. Under the current education system, students determine which universities to go to according to a little difference in grade. Therefore, students and parents become more dependent on expensive private lessons. It makes students spend more money on private education. However, the admissions officer system puts more stress on process. They don’t regard only test scores. Therefore, students can concentrate on public education.

As mentioned above, the admissions officer system has various advantages such as developing students’ potential, selecting the right students in their fields, and enhancing public education and lowering private education. Therefore, I think that the admissions officer system should be kept.

By Lee Seon-nam
KMG Junior Repoter


Recently, the harmful effects of the admissions officer system, which was introduced in 2007, have increased. Most of the harmful effects are related to false information and manipulation of letters of self-introduction, recommendations, and extra-curricular activities. If the harmful effects aren’t solved, the admissions officer system has to be removed.

The first harmful effect is false letters of self-introduction. There are academies called admission consulting agencies, some of which are ghostwriting agencies. These academies ghostwrite a letter of self-introduction, taking millions of won from many parents. They introduce ghostwriters as experts who have over 5 years’ experience of ghostwriting letters of self-introduction. This is just false advertising by the academies. These false letters of self-introduction deceive admissions officers.

The second one is false recommendations. Recently, a student who had sexually assaulted a middle school girl who had an intellectual disability entered Sungkyunkwan University under the admissions officer system. In his recommendation letter, he is depicted as the “king of volunteering.” Although his homeroom teacher already knew about the crime, the teacher wrote a recommendation for the student because of the demands of the student. There are many recommendations which are fakes.

The third one is false extra-curricular activities. Expanded time of volunteering and feigned extra-curricular activities are included here. In 2012, an admissions broker received 100 million won from parents and manipulated some documents that would be submitted to a university for their daughter. The broker forged her experiences working as a reporter in the Internet newspaper that the broker owned and submitted the manipulated documents to the admissions officer.

In America, admissions officers in the universities examine documents thoroughly and do in-depth interviews. However, in Korea, an admissions officer examines the documents of 500 or more students. Therefore, examining documents thoroughly is impracticable. The admissions officers need more time like America. However, the interview time in Korea is just 20 or 30 minutes, too short to confirm that their experiences are true.

If the admissions officer system can’t evaluate students’ sincere potential ability and talent from various angles, it has to be removed. Consequently, I disagree with maintaining the admissions officer system.

By Shin Eun-kyung
KMG Junior Repoter