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Between 1954 and 1994, students enrolling in colleges in Taiwan were required to participate in the Joint College Entrance Examination (JCEE). Within that period, a student’s score on the JCEE was the sole factor determining the college a student would attend and the major the student would pursue. In 1994, CEEC implemented the General Scholastic Ability Test (GSAT), ushering in the era of multiple pathways to college admission.

The college admission process has undergone minor modifications since 1998 in response to suggestions from students, parents, high school teachers, and colleges. Currently, students planning to continue their education have three options: (I) Stars Program, (II) Personal Application, and (III) Admission by Examination and Placement.

(I) Stars Program.

Introduced in 2007, the Stars Program seeks to provide all public and private high school students across the country with an equal opportunity to attend college. One of the primary objectives of the Stars Program is to increase enrollment in college of students from remote areas. The program utilizes grade point average from the first two years of high school as the admission criterion in conjunction with a GSAT score that has been specified by the college department. All candidates must be recommended by their high schools, and there is a specified quota of students who are able to enter college through this program.

(II) Personal Application.

The Personal Application process was introduced in 1998, and expanded in 2000, with the goal of providing all high school students with an opportunity to apply to their preferred colleges or departments. Students choosing this option first take the GSAT. After students receive their GSAT results, they decide which colleges they are eligible to apply to based on criteria set by the colleges. If a student is qualified, the college will invite the student to participate in the second stage of the screening process. During this stage, students may be asked to take additional tests given by the department, prepare a portfolio, and take part in interviews.

(III) Examination and Placement.

The Examination and Placement process is for students who did not take part in the Stars Program or the Personal Application process, or who failed to gain admission through either of these routes or were dissatisfied with the results. Students taking part in the Examination and Placement process must take the Advanced Subjects Test (AST). After students obtain their results, they fill out a preference list where they indicate their interests in specific colleges and departments.