Jaesusaeng (Hangul: 재수생; hanja: 再修生) is a Korean term for high school students who decide to spend a year studying to re-take the College Scholastic Ability Test, hoping to get a higher score and enter the Korean university of their choice. The university students attend has a major impact on their future careers. The equivalent term in Japan is rōnin.
Gaining entrance to the extremely competitive and prestigious SKY universities in Seoul requires that some students become jaesusaeng after an initial less-than-stellar performance on the national exam. Korea is "prepossessed by social status and reputation," and a SKY education is the main way to gain social status.
The public education system is not enough to prepare students for the exam, so most must attend after school lessons at various hagwon (cram schools). The fierce competition for enrollment at prestigious universities is called "entrance exam war" (Hangul:입시전쟁; Hanja: 入試戰爭).
The stress from constant study and limited social life of as a student has contributed to an increase in suicide in South Korea; for children aged 10 to 19 years old, suicide is the second most common cause of death in the country.
When a student fails to earn an adequate score over 3 or more years, he may be derisively referred to as a jangsusaeng (Hangul: 장수생; Hanja: 長壽生, literally "long life student") a play on words from the expression "Please live a long life" said to elders (장수 하세요). However, since 2010, the word "N susaeng"(Hangul: 엔수생; Hanja: N 壽生) is in common use. Although the definition of the word and the use of it is identical to the formerly used vocabulary, the Chinese character '長', which is read 'jang' and corresponds to the adjective 'long', is replaced with the alphabet 'N', which stands for the undefined number of time the student is taking the test.
- Lee, Seokyong. "Students on a mission". International Herald Tribune.
- Choe, Sang-Hun (June 25, 2008). "At South Korean cram school, a singular focus". International Herald Tribune.
- Goh-Grapes, Agnes (2009-02-22). "Phenomenon of Wild Goose Fathers in South Korea". Korea Times. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
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