Yeah, see if you can spot the "oh, that's exactly like South Korea" aspect of this story:
Students are battling to get into the best schools, putting more time into preparing for college entrance exams, sculpting their high school resumes, and even hiring high-priced college admissions consultants. Oddly, they’re not studying as much once they get in. How do we explain this apparent personality transformation from energetic applicant to disengaged matriculant?Okay, so there may be only a little actual Korean influence here, but the trend toward what is happening in South Korea is striking (although grade inflation in many South Korean universities is on its way out).
It may be that the college you attend has become a more important signal of student ability than it used to be, and your class rank less important. Differences in average student ability between colleges have increased over time, while differences in student ability within colleges have decreased. If students at your college are now more similar to you, employers may learn a lot about you from the name of your alma mater. This may help explain both the brutal competition and the post-admission collapse: the perception is that getting in is what really matters. Once you’re there, the battle is all but over.