Issuing and sharing one’s old school transcripts is a new social media fad in South Korea, as the retro craze continues among younger generations.
According to the Ministry of Education, 2.85 million school transcripts were issued between July and September of this year, marking a 6.1-fold increase compared to the same period last year.
While requests for transcripts are typically made for practical purposes such as job or college applications, this sudden surge is primarily attributed to a different motivation: a curiosity to rediscover one’s own past through the old school records.
School transcripts in South Korea have a section where the homeroom teacher leaves a short comment about each student. This offers a hint of how a particular child was perceived by teachers as a student, and unique insight into one’s childhood.
Childhood records, a few clicks away
The rise of this trend was facilitated by the convenience of online transcript issuance.
With just a few clicks at Government24, a civil service portal, anyone who graduated from high school here since 2003 can have their records issued online.
Those who went to school before that must visit the school itself or regional education or administrative offices to request physical issuance of their transcripts. School records are preserved for 50 years.
This reporter’s school transcripts show that teachers saw me as being “polite,” that I “read a lot of books” and as “fluent in English.” Apart from English proficiency, these attributes are among the most frequently used descriptions in teachers' comments.