Asia Pacific Education Review

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 573–583 | Cite as

The effects of high school track choice on students’ postsecondary enrollment and majors in South Korea

  • Woo-jeong Shim
  • Sunhee PaikEmail author


In South Korea, college-bound students are divided into two tracks: Munka (文科) and Yika (理科), and this tracking (MunkaYika tracking; MY tracking) considerably influences students’ choice of college majors and future careers. This study aims to examine how MY tracking and other factors influence students’ postsecondary enrollment (2- or 4-year colleges) and college major choice (vocationally or academically oriented). The findings indicate that there was no significant effect of MY tracking on students’ choice of a type of colleges, but the Yika students were more likely to study vocationally oriented majors more often than the Munka students. Male students had a higher probability of going to 4-year colleges and studying vocationally oriented majors than female students. Academic performance in high schools and fathers’ education levels contributed to students’ enrollment at 4-year colleges, and conversations with parents about academic or career plans influenced students choice of vocationally oriented majors.


High school tracking College major choice Choice of higher education institutions Academic high school Curriculum differentiation 


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Copyright information

© Education Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Office of Higher and Lifelong Education ResearchKorean Educational Development InstituteSeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Office of Global Education ResearchKorean Educational Development InstituteSeoulRepublic of Korea

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