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Archive for February, 2009

Journal #19

This journal is a reflection on the Collegeboard Quickstart service provided by Collegeboard

 

  • What tools are available?
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    At the Quickstart, we can do four major things (based on our PSAT scores). We can check our PSAT scores and know how well we did compared to others. The site enables us to predict our real SAT Reasoning test scores. We can also review what we missed and what/how to improve on what we missed. Furthermore, we can see which colleges fit our description. For example, the Quickstart provided me with fourteen colleges/universities that I can consider applying to. Finally, we can explore more about our majors. 

     

  • How do the tools work?
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    If we click on one of the four services provided by Quickstart, we are directed into a more specific topics concerning that area of service. For example, if we click on “My college matches” the site directs me to fourteen schools around the world. Furthermore, if I click on one of the fourteen schools, I am directed to a site that contains detailed information about that school. The system in general is very easy to comprehend, and it always starts out broad and narrows our topics to meet our needs. 

     

  • What tools were useful?
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    For me, the tool called, “My Major and Career Matches” were very useful. I never knew that there was such an extensive range of college majors, from home economics to specialized nursing. I personally chose electrical engineering as my major, and the tool informed me about the major and other majors that I might want to take. I previously thought that engineering was a very narrow topic; however, by using the tool, I was able to find out that there is a whole new range of majors inside the field of engineering. 

     

  • What could be improved for future releases?
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    The one thing that I disagree most on is the tool, “My College Matches.” This is not because the tool recommended me poor schools. I didn’t like how Collegeboard only gave me lists of international universities, only because I put my address as Seoul, South Korea. The tool does not recognize that I wish to attend schools in the states. It assumes that since I am an international school, I will probably attend a school in places like Cairo or Canada. However, this is certainly not true, and most Korean International students attend colleges in the states. So, I thought that the tool would be improved by asking questions like, “Do you plan to attend college in the states?” or “Are you interested in international colleges?”
    An Example of Quickstart Page

    An Example of Quickstart Page

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    Journal #20

    This is a Journal response about an article on the “Faceless” painter Sun Mu.
    • What reasons are implied for hiding the identity of the artist?

    Sun Mu is an unknown/faceless artist who is known only through his highly political paintings, such as the drawings of Kim Jung-Il and the nude woman wearing a North Korean flag. From the article, we can clearly notice that Sun Mu’s biggest concern for not revealing his identity is because of his fear that the North Korean government will hunt his family down an start torturing them for treason. In North Korea, if one of the family member is accused of treason, then the whole family is treated as betrayers and disloyal people of the country. People from the North Korean government might recognize his face, which would result in another showcasing of North Korean brutality. For this reason, we can see (as people living in a world far from that of North Korea) that Sun Mu is still in fear of the North Korean government, and that dictatorship might be even scarier and more authoritative than we had originally imagined. 

    • Why is his art considered to be controversial?

    Some of Sun Mu’s audiences do not understand the meaning behind Sun Mu’s paintings. Although he is against all forms of North Korean institutes (government, society, education, etc.), some of his paintings seem like he is working for the North Korean government, and popularizing Communism. For example, his painting, “Happy Children” was under investigation by the Korean police because some viewers believed that painting as a Communist propaganda. Sun Mu’s original intention was to tell the people that the children’s smiles are all a counterfeit that the government forces them to wear. Sun Mu’s paintings are very “detailed” in that not many people can understand the intended irony or sarcasm. We need to know a lot about the situations in North Korean and its oppressive government to fully understand Sun Mu’s artworks. Since South Korea is a country that does not favor teaching much about North Korea, South Koreans tend to miss out on the intended messages in Sun Mu’s paintings.

    • What specific details from his artistic style seem noteworthy?

    Since Sun Mu used to be an propaganda artist for the North Korean government, most of his artworks are similar to the posters that are in Pyongyang. With bright red and blue colors, Sun Mu portrays the North Koreans as happy people. Kim Jung-Il, the nude woman, and the children in Sun Mu’s paintings all seem to be happy. However, one major difference from the actual propaganda paintings is that Sun Mu’s posters are full of irony and sarcasm. It is also very bitter. For example, to show defiance to the oppressive government, Sun Mu draws a painting of Kim Jung-Il, which is strictly prohibited in North Korea (only a few people can draw the dictator’s face). Furthermore, he has the North Korean flag upside down. These show that Sun Mu seems to be a Communist propaganda artist, but in reality, he is against Communism and the North Korean government.

    • How is the work of artists relevant to larger political issues between North and South Korea? Do artists have a role in raising public awareness or extending a dialogue about reunification?

    The tension is still very big between North and South Korea. Technically, we are still warring, because we signed a truce back in the fifties. The tension has grown bigger with the conservative Lee administration, after President Lee pledged to stop the free-flowing/no benefit aid to North Korea. Amongst this tension and turmoil, artists have a big relevance in the political issues between the two nations. For examples, some artists draw paintings that portray South Korea as a land of opportunity, and some portray North Korea as a place of equality and friendship (“family-like” country). In these cases, artists are using propaganda. In fact, both nations use propaganda posters to persuade the people of the other side to join the “good” side. This is one of the reasons why North Korea is so angry at the ROK government recently. Many North Koreans, after looking at South Korean propaganda, decided to flee their country and head to either South Korea or China. These types of reactions show us how important an artist’s role is between the relationship of the two countries. Artists have much influence on the public, because an art is easy to notice and can bring a lot of meaning. Sometimes artists use their skills to inform the public about corruptness of one government, and sometimes they use their skills to promote peace in the Korean peninsula. However, one thing that we must be careful of is overuse of propaganda, which could end up in growing tensions between two countries, and possibly another disastrous war.

     

    A North-Korean Propaganda Painting

    A North-Korean Propaganda Painting

     

    One of Sun Mu's Paintings

    One of Sun Mu's Paintings

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    Journal #18

    This Journal is a response to the US News and World Report article on “Narrowing Your Choices” and “Upcoming Schools” 

    “Up Coming Schools”-

    Although most of the schools listed inthe Up Coming Schools were unfamiliar to me, I was surprised to find George Mason Univeristy ranked number one on the list. George Mason Univeristy was on my list as a “safety” school, and I knew the school very well because my house in the states was only about 20 minutes away from George Mason University. I always thought of George Mason as a school that has potential. I watched a few concerts there and know the campus very well. Besides George Mason, I also think we should consider this list seriously. Most students at SIS consider this list as probably something that doesn’t fit them or doesn’t apply to them, but I think these schools 20 to 30 years from now might become better/prestigious schools.

    “Narrowing Your Choices”-

    I’m currently in the process of narrowing my schools to six schools, according to the “2-2-2” rule. The article states that we need to not only consider what our brothers and parents recommend us, but decide for ourselves. Most of us tend to choose colleges that his or her parents attended. It is also true that many of us select careers that our parents have, because we are most familiar with them. However, the article urges us to set our own values and goals for going to college. For example, the best school for me might not be Duke University, where my brother attended, but maybe University of Illinois, where there is a great engineering program.

    Another important thing that the article mentioned was to plan our college decisions early, so that we don’t have to panic when it is time to turn in our applications. Just like the what we are doing for the I-Search Project, the article mentioned researching a lot about various colleges and coming up with a list of schools that we might/probably/and will get accepted to. Furthermore, rather than applying to 25 different schools and turning in hasty applications, we should try to apply to about ten schools so we have more time to work on our applications. I believe that the college admissions officers, who have been in the job for many years, know whether we put a lot of effort into an application or not. 

     

    Most of us have to make choices when we are choosing our schools

    Most of us have to make choices when we are choosing our schools

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    Blog Journal #17

    This journal is a response to President Barack Obama’s Inauguration and his Inaugural Speech.

    The fact that the first African-American became president itself is amazing. Barack Obama made history on January 20th, and his every step was followed by reporters from all over the world. He approached the bullet-proof glass podium confident. He spoke with hope and seriousness. He admitted that US would face harder, harsher times in terms of economy and national security. I liked the fact that he used the word “crisis” a lot. It informed Americnas and corrupt CEOs that they needed to change their attitude and work harder. I think a lot of people expect too much from a president. Some of us think that the moment Obama takes the Oval Office, America will get back in shape. However, this is not true. JFK state in his inaugural speech, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” This means that it is the people who have to change, not the Oval Office.

    Another great part about Tuesday’s speech was Obama’s ability to unite the whole world as if it were one nation. He said he would try to negotiate with the countries that Bush considered “evil.” He spread his hands to the Muslims, Jews, Budhists, and stated that we must all unite to fight this “crisis.” He stated that he would try to help the poor countries. However, he did state that he would defeat those that threaten our security, indicating his plan to solve problems in Pakistan.

    I hope he does his job well as a president, and I hope he keeps his words to bring change and security to America and the rest of the world.

     

    President Barack Obama giving his Inaugural Address

    President Barack Obama giving his Inaugural Address

     

    Traditional "Walk to the White House" Parade on January 20th

    Traditional "Walk to the White House" Parade on January 20th

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    Journal #16

    This journal is a response to the new SAT Score Choice Policy and the Newsweek article, “The New SAT Score Policy: Tiny Loophole, Big Shock?”  
    1. What do you think about this option? Should students have the option of hiding some scores and/or low scores?

    I think there are always the pros and cons about an action. For the Score Choice policy, the benefit of this new policy is that colleges will look at our best grades. We can hide our scores (that are sometimes too embarassing to even tell others) from the scary administrators. The negative side about this system is that the SAT scores (that are already high in Korea) will get even more inflated. Students will be taking tests again and again because they didn’t get 2300 on their SATs. Additionally, students will rely more on hagwons and economically stable students will get more benefits because they have the time and money to take the tests.

    1. What do you think about universities insisting that all scores be submitted as part of the application process, rather than just the highest scores?

    I agree with the colleges, because colleges will get a clearer information about the student. Basically through the Score Choice policy, we are hiding some of our scores. In order for colleges to make the most accurate choices, I believe that they need to see as much about the student as they can. That is why we have such lengthy application process and interviews.

    1. In what ways might the option to hide score raise the stakes and make admissions even more competitive/stressful for students?

    The scores will definitely get inflated and the whole idea of SAT will be, “Did you get 2400?” This will eventually make students more stressful. I think it will get into the point where there might be a new section on SAT or a new scoring policy.  

    1. Other thoughts/free response.

    This is certainly a marketing strategy for College Board to get more students to take the SATs than the ACTs, which are becoming more popular nowadays. Although marketing and competition  is important, College Board is a non-profit organization, and I think they should care more about the students and what’s best for them. I definitely think that the Score Choice policy will make students more stressful. Idea of sending the best score might seem great, but we’re going to have to take more tests and study more to compete with the rising scores.

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    New SATs policies might be a stress for some students

    New SATs policies might be a stress for some students

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