George Mason University’s Mason Korea recently expanded its outreach efforts by creating a program to help Korean students improve their English skills enough to be admitted into the university. The semester-long program, called MK Way, offers intensive classes in English reading, writing and grammar, along with oral communications. In the spring semester, the program also offered an elective in business English.
“MK Way is for students whose English is good, but not yet good enough for them to be directly admitted to Mason Korea,” said Robert I. Matz, campus dean of Mason Korea. “It gives students who might not otherwise be able to attend Mason Korea a chance to do so once they’ve honed their English skills. These are students that will thrive at Mason because of their dedication to their work.”
The first MK Way class was offered in spring 2020, and had 18 students. The summer program had 11 students. Out of these 29 students, 27 successfully completed the program, said Kelley E. Chung, associate dean of admissions and enrollment management.
Students who successfully complete the program are then admitted into Mason Korea’s Patriot Plus Program, where they will continue to receive additional English language support as they begin earning credits toward their degree.
Tasha M. Troy, MK Way instructor, said the students who attend the program are particularly hard-working and dedicated.
“These students come with a passion to make the world a better place, whether it’s through establishing thriving businesses or working to resolve the conflicts between South Korea and its neighbors,” said Troy. “They appreciate the high level of support they receive from their professors. They are very bright and ask great questions. They keep me on my toes.”
The MK Way program was created as a way to help students who wanted to attend Mason Korea, but hadn’t tested satisfactorily on either of the required English language exams.
“It broke my heart to see the disappointed faces of these students that I had to turn away from Mason Korea because of the English language requirement,” said Chung. “They had excellent high school records, showing that they will be successful at Mason Korea. My team and I wanted to open up this barrier for these bright students to have an access and opportunity to prepare themselves for the academic English that is fundamental in college success and beyond college career.”
Mason Korea was established in 2014 as part of the Incheon Global Campus, an education hub in Northeast Asia. Located in Songdo-dong, Mason Korea offers U.S. degrees in five undergraduate disciplines, including global affairs and business.
Troy predicts that MK Way, which costs each student $5,000 USD, will continue to grow.
“The Korean population is hungry to develop high-level English language skills in order to be competitive on the international stage,” said Troy. “This program serves a deep need in Korea while bringing top talent into the Mason community.”