The costs of the craze to enter top universities

A documentary film about the social and personal costs of South Koreans' craze for being admitted to the nation's top three universities depicts a system that is a far cry from President Barack Obama's praise of the Asian country as a model for United States educational reforms, writes Youkyung Lee for Associated Press.

"Reach for the SKY" follows three students and a teacher working for a test-prep company before and after South Korea's college entrance exam. The once-a-year exam is the final and the crucial checkpoint to enter "SKY", a shorthand reference to the country's three most prestigious universities.

Gaining admission to a SKY university is the ultimate goal of one's 12-year education and is akin to being admitted to a better class of people who later lead a company or the country. Only the top few test-takers reach the SKY. The rest spend another year or two working to improve scores and retake the test – the "repeaters" in the movie – or they are doomed to live out their lives as losers.
Full report on the Star Tribune site