Los estudiantes… - NAKD SEOUL

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Los estudiantes…

AskCategory: Living in KoreaLos estudiantes…
fordtoy2000 asked 8 months ago

In the U.S., higher education is not defined by age. Okay, I have a cool friend from a neighboring country to South Korea, and we became good friends despite his class discussion comment (en español) that in his country “college students” are “young” [and I assume he defined this by age/s of I would say the late teens to twenties] and what he pointed out was that in the U.S. that there were basically older people in the “college” world. That being said: is South Korea like this chap’s country where other ages are out of place in “college?” As in the U.S. we can get multiple degrees, re-train, and the higher education (“college”) avenue is still there, regardless of age–esp. if one has something to contribute to academia via research or artistic prowess–. Thus, what is the situation in S. Korea, as I sort of imagine it to be the run-of-the-mill “young” experience in S. Korea as well?

1 Answers
J Staff answered 8 months ago
First of all, Korea is super obsessed with people’s age and what they “should” achieve by certain age. People think it’s a norm to attend college right after graduating high school. Since 수능 (Korean SAT) is administered only once a year, if a student is not satisfied with the result, they study another year or more to re-apply for another college – and people make such a big deal out of it. The social pressure of “losing” one year compared to those to attend college right away after HS. When someone studies extra year(s), they are easily stigmatized as a failure.  I studied an extra year, back then, I felt like a total failure, but now after a decade, I don’t even know why it had to be such a big deal in doing so.
In 2020, 72.5% of high school graduates went to college – this includes technical college and universities. Having a bachelor’s degree is such a common thing in Korea. At least in undergraduate programs, most student body is made up of young & freshly out of high school students. Moving up to master’s and doctoral degrees, I assume the age range varies more. In the U.S. regardless of degree levels, I certainly see more “nontraditional” students who come back to study or begin their post secondary education later in their lives – and not a big deal! It is actually considered a huge step and people applaud for their courage. I was a graduate assistant and I worked with & supervised people who had kids of my age lol it was weird but totally normal and fun!
fordtoy2000
replied 8 months ago

Thank you so much for that insight! That explains a lot. Much appreciated.

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