The Hankook Ilbo: The Balance of Seeing the World

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“Are you, Minister of Justice Han Dong-hoon’s children and niece-in-law? If the allegations raised were true, I thought it would take something. I do it all that way. To be honest, I feel sorry for the students who have no money. No matter how hard these friends study, preparing for entrance exams at prestigious American universities is ‘the world they live in’. VVIP (very few upper-class customers) customer students pay money to design everything from essays to extracurricular activities (EC), volunteer work, and awards.” A (42), who has worked for 10 years in the consulting industry that helps foreign university admissions, is at the center of the suspicion of ‘accumulating expedient specifications’, such as plagiarism and writing of thesis, and development of an app for various competitions. said this about Although it is being evaluated as a wrong behavior, it is already widespread ‘the tip of the iceberg’. The consulting industry in the United States and Korea believes that this incident has revealed the hidden reality of ‘accumulating specs’ for American college entrance exams by the upper classes in Korea. Mr. A, whom I met in Santa Clara, California, USA, compared the behavior of Koreans to ‘Ivy Castle’ beyond ‘Sky Castle’. The Hankook Ilbo reported that Cupertino, California, where the controversy over corruption in the entrance exam arose in order to confirm the reality of ‘Ivy Castle’, Irvine, which is considered as the ‘No. I focused on this crowded Apgujeong-dong, Seoul for a month. There was a dark side of those who did everything they could to get into a prestigious American university represented by the ‘Ivy League (eight famous private universities in the northeastern United States)’. They were using the title of a prestigious overseas university as a ‘league of their own’ to inherit wealth and privilege. We looked into the reality of Koreans’ preparations for overseas university entrance exams, reflecting the naked face and perverse desires of ‘Ivy Castle’, which crosses expediency and illegality, four times. The saying ‘Money is all you need to enter a prestigious American university’ was true to some extent. According to a quote from a consulting firm specializing in overseas university entrance examinations obtained by the Hankook Ilbo on the 23rd, consulting for VVIPs was at a level that did virtually everything for a given amount of money. The company’s VVIP Consulting emphasized that a mentor who was an Ivy League admissions officer for four years of high school in the United States provides special consulting. It is the first time that the specific items and costs of a consulting company that have only been floating around are disclosed in detail, and the company manages and provides consulting on more than 50 items. Broadly, it was divided into GPA, non-course management, official grades and university application management. In detail, △class design for each high school grade △feedback for correction of school assignments △preparation leadership project consulting △connection of internships at home and abroad △selection of private institutes and instructors △application for F1 visa (US student visa) △dormitory application there was no One parent who was consulted here said, “’Students need only a body. He emphasized that ‘don’t worry, we will take care of everything for you,’ so I wanted to register as soon as I had the money.” He said, “It is said that if you receive consulting, your pass rate will increase four times, but it was a high-quality roadmap that ordinary people could not imagine.” All of the extracurricular activities that were important in college admissions in the US were solved with money. The VVIP consulting program included 5 competition preparations for 4 years of high school, 2 research papers, and 1 paid internship. The condition of the contest was ‘until receiving the award’ and the research paper ‘until it was published in an academic journal’. In fact, it meant making money until it was enough. The cost of VVIP consulting started with a minimum cost of KRW 140 million (excluding tax) for 4 years (9th to 12th grade). The cost of preparing for the American College Admission Test (SAT), TOEFL, Advanced Placement (AP) test, and paper review were separate. It meant that if you had 200 million won, you would prepare yourself for the US university. College admission consulting firms based abroad provided ‘Korean-specialized’ services in consideration of Korean parents who are highly zealous for education. In the middle of this month, I received a consultation from an entrance examination consulting company, and I was excited to promote the specialized service. An official from the company said, “Koreans preparing for university entrance exams in the United States are closely managing them to the extent that they find a Korean branch. We also have a lineup of domestic faculty for writing thesis,” he emphasized. When promoting a research program based on the premise of writing a dissertation, he emphasized that “that kind of accident never happens” as if conscious of the ‘suggestions of the expedient spec community’ of Minister Han Dong-hoon’s children and his nieces and nephews. The company’s program does not involve buying papers, but students participating directly, so there is no controversy over writing or plagiarism. The cost of participating in a six-week short-term research program with professors or doctoral students from the US Ivy League started at 6 million won. The competition preparation program to receive the award was only for VIP consulting customers, so it was like a ‘league of their own’. This official explained, “It does not create a certificate that does not exist,” but explained, “The role of consulting is to manage students until they can receive an award, and Apgujeong, South Korea, has already done this.” Consulting itself is not illegal, but the problem is that ‘accumulating specifications’ in the name of ‘consulting’ crosses the border between illegal and expedient. For example, consulting academies create various ‘fake’ contests to create awards. Kim (23), who graduated from a foreign school in Seoul and entered a university in New York, said, “There are many cases where consulting firms hold so-called ‘self-contests’. There are all kinds of competitions, even the ‘Seoul Gangnam-gu International Equestrian Tournament’, which is not held.” As such, ‘Apgujeongsik’ consulting, which guarantees scores for money, and puts unreasonable numbers in order to achieve a goal, has also landed in the United States. “I have seen all international students from Japan, China, Korea, and Europe, but I have never seen a case where they provide systematic entrance exam consulting like Korea,” said Lee, 27, an international student. Consulting academies are famous for providing college applications and making scores.” On the 1st (local time), I was able to witness the ‘Apgujeongsik’ consulting academy in Irvine, southern California, USA. On the Roosevelt Street, where 29 two-story buildings are gathered in one place, there were more than 40 academies alone. There were various types of academies, from math to English writing, book clubs, art, and fencing, but more than 90% of them were Korean academies. When I visited a prep school in the US, I asked who was introduced first. An official from the academy said, “We know the genealogy of exam questions from nearby schools, so we can guarantee GPA scores. However, since I am also involved in external activities (EC), it is difficult to take the course unless you are a sure person.” I quickly found out that there are frequent cases of fraudulently accumulating specs through the academy. When I went to a Chinese consulting academy near the Irvine school district and said, “I need a research paper,” the academy counselor asked, “Why did you come to our academy if Korean academies would do well for you?” He also said, “I will allow you to use computer science-related research papers with doctoral students, so please give me $2,000 in cash (2.6 million won) as a deposit first.” He said that the cost of a full copy of a thesis is about 15 to 20,000 dollars (20 to 25 million won). What is the reason that upper-class parents in Korea are so obsessed with entering a prestigious US university? Admission experts cited the difference in the university entrance exam system as the reason. In Korea, as the number of cases in which university professors insert their children as thesis authors increases, it has been pointed out that parents’ economic power and human network are directly connected to their specifications. On the other hand, American universities do not verify the ‘specs’ submitted by students in detail because they select students through a holistic review method based on ‘trust’. It is said that the attention of the upper class in Korea has shifted to the United States because specs ‘made’ with someone’s help are easy to be effective. Gina Kim, CEO of ‘Admission Masters’ (consulting academy) met at Irvine, said, “At U.S. universities, we collect GPA, SAT scores, extracurricular activities, essays, recommendations, and interview results to comprehensively evaluate skills, personality, and potential. “Just because you’re an honor student doesn’t mean you’re going to get accepted,” he said. Because a diploma from a prestigious US university is a stepping stone to high social status in Korea, parents sometimes say that ‘generating money as much as money put in’ is the American college entrance exam. “The Ivy League entrance exam is a battle between parents’ economic power and information power,” said Han (51), a parent who sent both children from international schools to American universities. There are a lot of parents who do not choose any means and methods to get a big, decent diploma,” he said. Even in the consulting industry, which has Korean students and parents as its customers, there are voices of bitterness against Korean parents with perverse desires. This is because expedients and fouls are rampant in the process of some upper-class earning an American college diploma as a ‘shortcut’ to pass on wealth, education, and status. An admissions consultant at Irvine pointed out, “American universities tend to view family and financial resources as legacy and ability, and the upper classes in Korea are abusing it.” He said, “I can’t reveal the customer’s real name because I signed the confidentiality clause, but many of the upper class think that ‘Money is enough for the US entrance exam’. There is a strong tendency to solve problems, and there are many cases where students enter prestigious universities after only playing sports and musical instruments that no one else can replace them with.” Director Yang Min, who runs a college admissions consulting academy in Los Angeles, said, “There are quite a few parents who call counseling in Korea and ask, ‘What is the academic background of the person who writes the essay?’ There are many cases where it is misunderstood or has a wrong perception.” He criticized, “I’m worried that students who have entered college based on expedient specifications will think, ‘I’m proud’.

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