Are you thinking of attending University in Korea? University in Korea is rigorous, but definitely an experience unlike any other. I’ve loved my experience thus far – just like anything else there are pros and cons. Here is some advice on things to watch out for, written by a sophomore international student.
1. The Perils of Course Selection
If you have experienced the perils of buying K-pop concert tickets, it’s like that – only worse. On registration day, PC Bangs are full of students trying to outcompete their classmate’s internet speeds. If you are registering from abroad, you don’t stand a chance. The ‘fight’ for classes is over in seconds; unless you’re exceptionally fast, everyone only gets one or two choice classes.
2. Grading System – Professor’s Choice
The professor decides the grading system of each class. Many choose a relative grading system, which comes in two forms – curve and ranking. A curve moves the grade percentages based on the highest score in the class. On the other hand, in a ranking-based system, your grades are based on how well you do compared to your classmates. Ultimately, a certain percentage of students will fail the class. The difference between A and B can be small as a single question on a test. Courses with a relative grading system are bound to make high achievers feel stressed, so keep that in mind while choosing your courses. Every class should have its grading policies outlined in its syllabus.
3. Attendance is Key
Attendance is the key to good grades. My friends often tell stories of studying in Western universities, rarely showing up to class and acing the class. That could not be less relatable. If you attend university in Korea, you will quickly find that they have some of the strictest attendance policies in the world. Just a few days off and you may be buying yourself a ticket for a failing grade.
Professors often have the habit of doing roll-call right as class starts. Arrive fifteen minutes after class has begun and you’ll be counted as ‘late’. Arrive thirty minutes after and you’re ‘absent’. So, make sure you’re always on time for class!
4. Lots of Classes
If you are attending university in Korea an average class is worth 3 credit hours. Most students are required to take a total of 18-21 credit hours a semester, leaving us to juggle six or more classes per semester. You can take less however, your graduation may be delayed or you could face disadvantages when selecting classes. It is normal to take 6-7 classes per semester. Although it is arguable that the number of hours we spend in class is similar to other universities internationally, having more classes really means more assignments, more tests, and a wider range of knowledge.
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