The final year in high school has always been tough for Korean students. But it is harder than ever this year thanks to the coronavirus outbreak and the disruptions it has caused in almost every aspect of life.
The virus has forced schools to close for months and already caused the national college entrance exam date to be postponed once. And last week, with just three weeks left before the application opens, over 100 colleges announced revisions to admission rules in a bid to reduce the risk of virus infections.
Amid confusion and anxiety, high school seniors and other college hopefuls are struggling to stay focused on the exam. It is an exam they have been preparing for their entire teenage years, the outcome of which will not only determine whether they will go to university, but can shape every aspect of their lives.
“It has been really hard to solely concentrate on studying this year, and nothing has helped so far,” said Shin Dong-yeon, a final year student attending a high school in Gunpo, Gyeonggi Province.
“The situation was changing so often, and I never could figure out where I would be and what I would be allowed to do the next day. I had no choice but to just live with it,” said the 18-year-old, who wants to become a sports marketer in the future.
Following the first peak of COVID-19 infections in February and March, South Korea saw a sharp rise in infections in August, mostly