Post #14: Response to “44% of Korean Ivy League Students Quit Course Halfway”

“44% of Korean Ivy League Students Quit Course Halfway”

By: Park Si-soo

Forty-four percent of Korean students at top American universities give up their studies halfway through.

This data is contained in Samuel S. Kim’s doctoral dissertation “First and Second Generation Conflict in Education of the Asian American Community” delivered at Columbia University Friday. 

The drop out rate is much higher than 34 percent of American, 25 percent of Chinese and 21 percent of Indian students. 

The results come from tracking 1,400 Korean students registered at 14 top American universities – Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Amherst College, Duke, Georgetown, Brown, Dartmouth, Pennsylvania and Princeton – between 1985 and 2007. 

As of 2007, 62,392 Korean students were taking undergraduate or graduate courses in America schools, accounting for 10.7 percent of all foreign students in the country, said the Institute of International Education, a non-profit organization. 

By the numbers, it is the third largest following those from India and China, with populations more than 20 times that of Korea. 

For instance, Harvard University has 37 Korean undergraduates, the third largest behind Canada and Britain. Harvard, Yale and Princeton have a total of 103 Korean undergraduates between them. 

Kim said in the thesis that such a high dropout rate is largely attributable to Korean parents forcing their children to study rather than participate in extracurricular activities, an essential part of overseas education for foreign students to acclimate themselves to American society and get a good job in the long run. 

According to the thesis, Korean students consume 75 percent of their time available for studying, while they allocate only 25 percent to extracurricular activities such as community service. 

In contrast, American students and those from other countries tend to equally share their time for both study and other activities. 

He said the Korean mindset regarding education kept Korean students from moving into the American mainstream, citing statistics that of high-ranking officers at World’s top 500 enterprises selected by American business magazine Fortune, merely 0.3 percent are Korean, compared with Indians at 10 percent and Chinese with 5 percent. 

“I saw many Korean students in America isolated from the local community due to their study-concentrated way of life,” Kim said in an interview with The Korea Daily, a Korean-language newspaper published in the U.S. “They should abandon what they were familiar with in Korea to succeed in America.”

1. What does Kim say is the most likely explanation for the high dropout rate among Koreans?

Kim says that rigorous studying habits are the most likely explanation for the high dropout rates among Koreans. In the article, Kim states that the Korean culture, to which the Korean students are accustomed to, is focused too much on studying. He says that many Koreans drop out of college because they cannot adjust to the American way of life in which students spend half their time on extracurricular activities. 

2. How does the dropout rate among Koreans compare to the dropout rate among other groups?

The dropout rate among Koreans much higher than the dropout rate among other groups according to this article. Kim states that 44% of Korean students dropout while 34% of American students, 25 % of Chinese students, and 21% of Indian students drop out. 

3. What are you currently doing to increase your own college readiness? Is there anything you think you should do before you graduate from high school to be better prepared for university?

Currently, I am doing many things to increase my college readiness. I believe at college, students will spend time studying as well as playing. Right now, I try to divide the time I use to play and the time I use to study so that I will be prepared to play and work at the same time when I go to college. Not only this, but I am starting to depend less on school teachers to learn things. I think at college, professors will be too busy teaching to help me when I need help. To prepare for such situations, I try to study on my own and read the textbook or information from other sources if I do not understand what goes on in class. I also started talking to unfamiliar people because I believe that at college everyone will be new to me because of the big number of people there. Through this, I think I am preparing myself to make friends in an environment where I don’t know anyone. Last but not least, to increase my own college readiness I have went to a summer program at a college in the states. I believe that through this experience I realized what it would be like to be a college student and learned a bit more about what I would have to do at college.

I believe that before I graduate from high school I should start learning how to talk to my teachers to be better prepared for university. I think that at university the professors will be hard to approach so if I don’t start talking to my teachers who are easier to approach, I’ll never be able to talk to my professors when I need help.


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