Is celebrity education really education?
Shortly after posting this entry about Tim’s educational background, I saw the following (edited) transcription of the “Star News report” (you can watch the video clip of the segment at that link as well), which discusses celebrities and the way in which they gain admissions to universities in Korea.
It’s a topic that comes around every year, around the time that school starts, when once more national ire flares over the unequal treatment of universities in how they admit students, favoring entertainers and pandering to them in order to woo them to their respective institutions.
On top of the easy admissions, there’s resentment from bona fide students, because the celebrities hardly carry on a normal student lifestyle once enrolled. Even the more distinguished institutions (which are generally more strict in admitting students based on merit) get their fair share of accusations of unfair treatment for stars.
The segment is pretty toned-down in its criticism — the issue provokes much more heated commentary in real life, as it’s a lightning rod for critique and debate. But you can read between the lines and get the general idea.
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Each year when the graduation-enrollment season rolls around, stars who are enrolling in universities become a hot topic of conversation. Who’s up for entry this year?
This year, there are tons of stars planning on entering university. In addition to the popular CF, drama and film actress Go Ara, there’s the lead actress in MBC’s current weekend drama Ggakdugi [Radish Kimchi], Park Shin Hye. There’s also the face of many music videos and CFs, Kim So Eun, as well as the actor in the recent popular sitcom Unstoppable High Kick, Kim Bum, who will be majoring in acting in the film and theater department of Joongang University’s media and performance art school.
There’s also SBS’s much-lauded and top actress Lee Tae Ran, who’s happy to be enrolling in the same program. Lee Tae Ran has admitted on a recent television program that she’s felt sad at being a mere high school graduate. Now that she’s become a university student even at this late date, she’s able to shake off that sadness.
Kim Bum, Go Ara
Lee Tae Ran must be even happier, as she’s starting her university education late. I hear Top of the singing group Big Bang, which has skyrocketed in popularity these days, is also planning to enter university.
That’s right. Big Bang’s Top will attend Dangook University’s Jookjeon campus in their film and theater department. He’s always had a lot of interest in acting, and recently appeared in KBS2’s drama I Am Sam, to generally favorable response. He’ll be majoring in acting.
Yes, that’s right. Quite a number of celebrities are entering university. As entertainers are so busy working that they won’t have much time for studies, how is it that they’ve been admitted to colleges?
At universities with film, theater and acting departments, there’s what is called an “special talent” admission.
When entertainers are recognized or win awards both at home and abroad in acting- or film-related capacities, or start appearing in films or television more frequently, they win support for their work. Myungji, Donggook, Joongang, and Hanyang Universities, as well as Dongdeok Women’s College and the like, admit celebrity students in this manner.
In the case of singers, it’s enough to have released one album. In particular, many singers enroll in Kyunghee University’s postmodern music department. Students at that school include Rain, Park Hyo Shin, Lyn, SG Wannabe’s Kim Jin Ho, Buzz’s Min Kyung Hoon, Sugar’s Park Sujin, Dong Bang Shin Ki’s Choi Kang Chang Min, and others.
Choi Kang Chang Min, Lee In Hye
Normal high school students study extremely hard in order to gain admittance to universities. It seems celebrities are accepted a bit more easily.
That does seem true. It can’t be denied that high school students who have to study extremely hard think, “Why don’t I just become an entertainer? That way I can get accepted to a university easily.” Even at the reputable Koryo University, students became upset at the admittance of SES pop singer Eugene.
Entertainers may possess talents, but they’re also the product of lots of planning by their management and the considerable influence of marketing. Their talents aren’t something that can be easily verified through objective means, but it’s inevitable that other students would feel disgruntled when a celebrity uses merely his or her name to gain entry to a university.
But why, then, are entertainers sent to college under such circumstances?
More than anything, it’s to promote the university. The university’s happy because they are advertised, and celebrities are happy because they’re admitted to college. In truth, many universities use their celebrities as models for promotion.
They are also used as models in brochures and videos. Many celebrities are used to promote all sorts of things for the schools they attend. Schools in the outer provinces are more in need of publicity, so it’s known that entertainers are even more welcome there.
Yoon Soyi, Park Hyo Shin
Celebrities seem to be enrolling in college more easily than in the past, but are they really engaging in the college lifestyle?
It has been pointed out many times that there’s a problem with entertainers being insincere in their student status.
You’ll have a hard time spotting a celebrity with a killer schedule in a lecture hall. This is the result of universities fighting fiercely over celebrities to bring in, as well as the universities offering to graduate these students even if they aren’t attending classes all the way through exams.
This is many times the cause for outrage among their fellow students. It’s only natural that they’d feel angered that entertainers are brought in merely to advertise the schools and are allowed to graduate without difficulty.
But still, there must be entertainers who are recognized as being model students, aren’t there?
Yes, there are. Those include Korea’s Little Sister Moon Geun Young at Sungkyoongwan University, Yoon Soyi at Donggook University, and Ryu Hyun Kyung at Hanyang University.
In order to attend school, Moon Geun Young stopped all acting activities this year. If she wants to major in Korean language and literature, she’ll have to study very diligently.
Yoon Soyi also slowed down her acting due to her studies. After appearing in last year’s Goodbye Solo, except for a one-act drama, she hasn’t appeared in any dramas. However, she is now acting in MBC’s Auction House.
Ryu Hyun Kyung, attending Hanyang University, even won a scholarship from her school.
In addition to these actors, there are also those such as Park Hye Won at Konkuk University and Kim Hyo Jin at Hanyang who are focusing entirely on their studies. Lee In Hye, who attended Koryo University as a special talent admission like Eugene, has been said to have been a model student.
Lee Tae Ran, Ryu Hyun Kyung
Perhaps because schooling issues are particularly sensitive, the subject of celebrities being admitted to universities is always a hot-button issue. When a celebrity is admitted to a university, what issues should the schools and students consider?
Actually, it’s rare for most high school students to want to go to a school strictly because a celebrity went there. The celebrities’ influence is not as strong as the schools believe.
As in Eugene’s case, the opposition to these kinds of admissions at schools with good reputations is strong. Rather than automatically admitting students because they’re celebrities, they’ll have to be admitted using a stricter basis, and the school administration should regulate the admitted students more strictly.
Entertainers should avoid thinking of entering college as simply career management, or a means to postpone military service, and instead focus on studying.