Taiwan’s college admission rate at record low

16-year low due to fewer available spots

The college admission result based on the score of Advanced Subjects Test was released on Aug. 7. (photo: CNA)

The college admission result based on the score of Advanced Subjects Test was released on Aug. 7. (photo: CNA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The college admission results based on Advanced Subjects Test (AST, 指考) scores were released on Wednesday (Aug. 7) and saw the lowest admission rate in Taiwan in 16 years.

According to the Board of College Recruitment Commission, 24,575 places were designated for this round of admission, with an additional 10,001 places remaining from previous rounds, amounting to 34,567 available spots in all. A total of 42,604 people had signed up for assignment and 34,633 earned a place, which corresponds to an 81.29 percent admission rate, reported the Liberty Times.

In Taiwan, students can apply for colleges and universities through a multichannel system, which currently consists of four rounds: the special talent program, the Stars program, the Personal Application process with General Scholastic Ability Test scores, and the assignment process with AST scores. In the final round, students fill out a list of their top choices for departments and are then assigned to one according to their AST scores.

Huang Sin-fu (黃信復), the director of the Board of College Recruitment Commission, explained that the low admission rate might have resulted from fewer places being left after the previous rounds of applications. Although there were 4 percent fewer applicants compared to last year, the 14 percent drop in available spots was apparently not enough.

In the past, applicants would, on average, be assigned to their 27th choice, but this year the average student's 30th choice was the department they were accepted into. Applicants filled in an average of 60 choices this year, compared to 54 last year, with 18.1 percent of lists being completely filled out, which indicates that the applicants were more cautious this year.

National Taiwan University admitted 1,606 students this round, 84 percent of whom are from the six special municipalities of Taiwan. This is another example showing that urban students, who have easier access to better educational resources, still enjoy privileges in college entrance exams, reported UDN.

Liu Jun-hao (劉駿豪), a cram school teacher, noted that the "age of information engineering" has arrived, so departments in fields such as computer science and information management have become more popular and require higher scores for entry. In addition, contrary to past trends, students tend to prioritize departments over universities, which Liu thinks is due to better employment opportunities enjoyed by departments in particular fields.

Media often portraits AI and IoT as popular trends across the globe, and students might be influenced by this coverage, reported UDN. For example, the newly established AI division of the Department of Computer Science at National Tsing Hua University ranks as the 11th choice for students in the second category, which covers fields in science and technology.