SNU Addresses Special Admissions Student Marginalization

SNU students in Beodeulgol
SNU students in Beodeulgol

On September 25, it was announced that the SNU Academic Affairs Office, Faculty of Liberal Education, Department of Admissions, and Center for Campus Life &Culture joined to create a comprehensive support system for students admitted under special admissions processes.

The effort was sparked by criticisms and surveys that have revealed the students’ difficulties in adjusting academically and socially to life at SNU.

Since 2009, SNU has expanded its admissions process to provide opportunities to students from low-income families and rural backgrounds. This equal-opportunity measure has granted various scholarships and provided living expenses to the students.

Statistically, however, the academic performance of these students has been subpar, suggesting underlying problems in their adjustment to school life.

According to last year’s government evaluation, out of the 3,654 graduate students from graduating classes of 2009-2011, students selected through the regional admissions graduated with the highest GPA of 3.43 while equal-opportunity admissions students graduated with the lowest GPA of 3.25.

Students from the Departments of Natural Sciences and Engineering also showed severe differences in GPA among students admitted through the regional selection, equal opportunities, and special talents processes.

Derogatory nicknames for these specially admitted students are frequently used on online school forums, indicating the equality-opportunity students’ marginalization from the student body. This especially applies to students admitted under the equal opportunities clause.

A SNU study conducted in 2011-2012 surveyed and analyzed the personal networks of 166 students from the College of Social Sciences. The study revealed that students admitted under the equal-opportunity clause were excluded from networking circles and were frequently not informed of social events and networking opportunities.

A third-year student admitted under the equal-opportunity selection process said, “Because I got accepted under a less competitive screening, I feel anxious and scared that I have come to the wrong place.” He also expressed hesitation in talking about these concerns to his peers “because they might look upon this admissions process negatively.”

In response to these concerns, SNU plans to conduct research and create practical and applicable solutions to help these students adjust to their lives at SNU and graduate successfully. “We will study various means to support these students and share the results with other schools as well.”

Written by HWANG Ho Jung, SNU English Editor,
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations,