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US state universities recruit Korean students

State University of New York

The State University of New York (SUNY) and California State University held a briefing about their admissions policies as they relate to the recruitment of Korean students at the COEX in southern Seoul.

The session was organized by the Korus Education Institute which provides the Education Abroad program in partnership with American universities. About 200 students and parents attended the event.

The two U.S. state universities are in the process of attracting some 100 Korean students under the Education Abroad program. The deadline for applications is Jan. 23.

Students applying to the program can prove their English abilities by taking the Proficiency of English for Academic Purposes (PEAP) instead of submitting TOEFL scores.

The Education Abroad program is one of the international exchange programs selected by 20 state universities in the U.S. such as SUNY and California State University. These universities have officially acknowledged PEAP as a replacement for other English tests.

“Students are allowed to learn practical English skills in order to keep up with the American education style,” said Lee Jong-yul, CEO and president of KORUS.

School officials in charge of recruitment also said that students admitted through the Education Abroad program are fairly reliable as they prove their English proficiency after completing the PEAP course.

Under the program, students are required to take the PEAP course and liberal arts education courses at local universities in partnership with U.S. universities for one year before starting their study abroad.

“The quality of students is quite evident. I can’t stress enough how well the students do in this program, and how prepared they are though KORUS and universities in Korea as well, so we’re delighted to have them,” said Ryan Lemon, international recruitment manager of SUNY Oswego.

He said students from KORUS are 100-percent prepared.

“Students might have an initial culture shock when they arrive, but we try to alleviate that concern before they come. That’s why we bring our business to Korea so that we can actually greet the students who have been accepted,” Lemon said.

He noted that all Korean students who want to become global leaders and want a unique experience overseas can benefit from the program.

“I find the main difference between Korean and U.S. universities is the flexibility that they have. Students look for something unique in the way that when they’re enrolled on the program they’re going to be able to take many different types of courses,” Lemon said.

He said they find that students coming from this program are leaders rather than followers. “We’re not just looking for students who are potential global leaders. We’re looking for students ready for a challenge in a global environment, because we place a heavy emphasis on students being able to think, and not just going through classes,” he said.

“Our job is to prepare these students to be among the next global leaders, but also to be prepared and happy about what they’re doing,” the manager added.

“I always feel sorry that the current Korean higher education system is all about rankings, and only about five percent of high school seniors are allowed to go to the top 10 universities,” KORUS CEO Lee said.

Lee noted, however, students can find an alternative way to be admitted to higher education institutions with the help of the Education Abroad program, through which many American schools choose talented students worldwide.

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