SEOUL, Feb.18 (Korea Bizwire) – University students in Korea go through a war twice a year when they register for courses at the beginning of a new term. As students want to enroll in popular or fun classes but the number of openings is limited, getting a ‘perfect’ schedule is no easy feat.
Recently, search word rankings from the popular portal site Naver were filled with names of universities. The phenomenon announced the start of the ‘registration war’ before the start of the first semester, and resulted from university students across the country starting to register at once.
To register for required courses, interesting courses, or courses in which it is easy to get a good grade, students adopt various strategies.
Some open multiple windows and try to access their university homepage on all of them. Some install additional browsers such as Chrome or Firefox beforehand – anything to get the fastest internet speed. Some relocate to internet cafés close to their university or even get a seat inside a building on campus in an attempt to get close to the server.
Students who have quick reflexes and good motor skills have the upper hand in registering for their preferred courses. Students even ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ courses on school community websites. Some are forced to take the semester off if they fail to get a good schedule. Others go to professors and beg to be accepted in the class.
Another trend is using ‘macros’, small programming scripts that give orders automatically. The programs continue to click with great speed until the student in registered. Because macros make the registration process unfair for less tech-savvy students, some schools are banning students from using them. However, since there is no way to actually block the usage of these types of aids, students continue to make use of them. In rare cases, seniors teach freshmen and sophomores how to use the programs.
Should students really have to go through all that to enroll for courses when they pay 10 million won every year for tuition?
Of course, universities are aware of the problem and are making efforts to solve the issue, but the solutions don’t seem to be very helpful or effective in improving the situation.
Officials say that universities have to make drastic changes, such as increasing the capacity of popular courses, but currently universities can only provide solutions such as giving a head start to seniors, or setting aside a certain number of seats for students in each grade.
The phenomenon of students oversubscribing to certain courses reflects the omnipresence of competition in society. Since better grades puts graduates in a better place when then apply for jobs, they have no choice but to do everything to not get left behind while they are in college.
By Francine Jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)