The folks at the Common Application site sent me a brief e-mail today announcing the 2009-2010 will launch July 1. That means all updated forms and essay prompts relevant to the Class of 2010 will be published and available online starting on that date. Keep in mind that the college application essays we are writing are based on the 2008-2009 Common Application. However, the prompts remain fairly similar from year to year and the final option is always to write about a topic of your choice.

Similarly, the supplemental essays we are writing in response to the requirements of individual colleges might change a bit between now and this summer. However, you should be confident that whatever you write now can be applied to either the Common App. or a supplemental essay. You might need to adapt or modify some of your writing, but it is best to get some of the heavylifting writing done between now and the end of the school year.  Oh yeah, it’s also a big part of your fourth quarter grade in Writing 11.

Here is the excerpted relevant information from the Common Application folks:

The 2008-09 online application shuts down on June 12… The 2009-10 online application launches July 1. Your username and password will remain the same, though your former applicant records will be gone, to make room for your new roster of rising seniors…  There are no changes to the 2009-10 Teacher Evaluation form.


These photos document how much Seoul has changed in the last 40 years.

1969-10-22_한남동_모습_s5weMight be something to think about for some of you as you work on revising your college application essays.

Mrs. Spisso has posted the Summer Assignment for next year’s World Literature class, along with a recommended list of books to choose from:

Read the original articles from Newsweek and The Economist linked in the two posts below. The Economist is the leading international news magazine, and Newsweek is arguably the second most prominent news magazine in the United States.

1. How has the international media responded to North Korea’s missile launch?

2. In what ways might international perceptions of North Korea impact how the world views South Korea?

3. Has anyone ever asked you “which Korea are you from, North or South?” What does that question reveal on the part of the speaker?

Newsweek picked up Andrei Lankov’s article for its current issue. Lankov is considered writes regularly about North Korea. This article is a companion piece to the one linked in the post below following the North’s missile launch.

Over the past few months, North Korea’s behavior has grown unusually belligerent, even by Pyongyang’s prickly standards. The North has cut relations with Seoul, tested a new missile, and, after the U.N. condemned the launch last week, threatened to withdraw forever from further nuclear-disarmament talks and restart its weapons program.

Much of the recent commentary has suggested that these moves are a ploy—an attempt by North Korea to sweeten a coming deal with the United States—and that ultimately, Pyongyang will give up its provocations and open to the outside world, as China has. This is a dangerous fantasy. Kim Jong Il and his circle know that exposing their subjects to foreign influence would be fatal to the regime. So they’re likely to continue clamping down and provoking the West. There’s only one way for outsiders to stop Kim’s aggression: regime change., the online version of the leading print news magazine, published a timely article called “Making a Splash” in its April 8th issue. You do not need to write a blog post response to this article, but keep it in mind in relation to our discussion of “Dr. Strangelove”.missile

THE launch of its three-stage rocket on April 5th, North Korea declared, was an outstanding success. The experimental communications satellite sent into orbit was already beaming back revolutionary songs to a grateful nation, and rocket technicians were weeping “tears of joy”.

Yet the United States, South Korea and Japan, over whose main island the rocket flew, said that the launch was a front for testing a Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile. What is more, they claimed, it was a flop. The booster rocket appears to have dropped as it should have done into the Sea of Japan, but the rocket’s remaining stages along with its payload ditched in the Pacific some 3,200 kilometres (2,000 miles) from the launch-pad.

The PBS documentary Field Trip to the DMZ follows a group of students, including one 20-year-old defector from North Korea whoe currently resides in South Korea, as they make a visit to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates South Korea from North Korea.

FOCAL POINT trains its lens on one of the 15,000 North Korean defectors who have made it to South Korea. Twenty-year-old Haejung (not her real name) was smuggled out of North Korea some years ago in the hope of a better life — leaving her family behind. She now attends Hangyeore High School, a special boarding school an hour outside of Seoul, founded in 2006 to help North Korean teens adjust to life in the South. Most of the school’s 240 students are separated from one or both of their parents back in the North, with little hope of ever seeing them again. They experience severe culture shock transitioning from one of the world’s most isolated Communist states to one of the most technologically and economically advanced societies. The school tries to fill both the emotional void and the cultural gaps. The students eat, sleep, and study on campus. The teachers live with them in the dorms, and many have training as therapists to provide psychological counseling. The curriculum includes everything from history to English to learning how to use a cell phone, computer or credit card. In Field Trip to the DMZ, the students make their annual trip to the border, and Haejung dreams of a time when her family and her homelands will be reunited.

McDonalds is a common symbol of the Westernization of some Asian countries, including South Korea.

McDonalds is a common symbol of the Westernization of some Asian countries, including South Korea.