Monthly Archives: October 2008

Journal 8.

44% of Ivy League Students Quit??

1. When I read the title of this article, I thought, “how can 44% of Ivy League Korean students quit?? Is that even possible? Are they crazy??’ They’ve worked so hard to get into their dream college, and they give it all up in the middle. Unfortunately, the reason why they quit is extremely dumb and passive. The most likely reason for the high dropout rate among Koreans is the Korean parents’ mindset on education. The Korean culture emphasizes hard-core studying and concentrating rather than joining extra curricular activities. Korean students are literally trained from a young age to study until they die. Even elementary kids go to hagwons until 9pm everyday. High school students stay at school until 9pm, and then they go to hagwon untill 1am. Whenever I see my Korean friends, they are always burrying their faces in books on the bus, at church, and even while they eat. Students must follow the Korean way of studying in order to survive the heavy competition among their classmates (it’s also their pride to be in the top rankings at school). On top of that, most Korean parents dogmatically force their children to study and have no other activity in order to go to a prestigious college. The only colleges they tolerate or incessantly talk about are Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Seoul or Yonsei University. Because this way of thinking is embedded in every Korean student, they cannot change and adapt to America’s more laid-back way of life. Hence, 44% of Koreans drop out of Ivy League universities.

2. The dropout rate among Koreans are the highest, 44%. The next highest dropout rate is 32% of American, then 25% of chinese, and 21% of Indian students. 44% is almost half! I couldn’t believe that such a small country like Korea could have the highest dropout rate.

3. Honestly, I haven’t been doing much to prepare for college. It still seems very far away to me. I didn’t even study for the PSAT (which was so hard..). When I saw the sophomores studying like crazy for the PSAT by going to hagwons, I laughed. But now, I should start preparing for college by studying for my SATs, developing my social skills, and researching about college life. I don’t want to enter college shocked by its diversity, openness, and huge campus. Now that I think about it, it’s going to be hard to adjust to college because I’ve been going to a small, private, all-Korean international school for almost 9 years. Sometimes, when I see Korean students studying on the subway, I wish I could be as hard-core as them. I have to start thinking about my future and trying my best at school because I only have 1 and a half years to make the best out of it! That thought gives me a shudder…I better go study now!

Journal 7.


Nonchalantly, I checked my hotmail junk folder just for fun. Then, I saw the email from Collegeboard saying, “A reminder for your Oct SAT math2c this Saturday”. I jumped up from my seat, not knowing I signed up for such a test. It turns out that my mom signed up for the October test but forgot about reminding me. I immediately went to my desk and took out all my math2c practice books-Barron’s, REA, and Princeton Review. Solving two practice tests a day, I spent the whole week worrying about my SATs. On top of that, I had an APUSH test, APChem test, APCalc test, and BritLit annotations due. That week, reality hit me. I was no longer a sophomore with numerous chances to re-take SATs, study ahead for school, or hang out with my friends. I needed to start prioritizing my extracurricular activities, friends, school work, and SATs. To make a long story short, I realized that school was much more important than a one hour test. Even though the SAT I took last Saturday was insanely difficult (I skipped seven questions), I am not as worried or stressed as most students.

I remember some of my senior friends were excited to go to Japan with their friends to take the SAT. Because of the SAT scandal in Korea, all test centers were closed in Korea. I was ashamed of my country because the stereotype for Koreans became, “people would do anything (including cheating and giving up an enjoyable life) to get into an Ivy League”. Actually, I wasn’t surprised when I heard this news since Korea is well known for its hagwons and aggressive parents.

The thing that worries me the most while I take the SAT is not time restrictions, calculator malfunction, unknown vocabularies, or bubbling incorrectly. Rather, what I worry most about is this: “How is the person next to me doing compared to me? She already flipped her third page and I’m still on the second???”