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How to Apply to Universities in Korea (6 Steps)

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Occupying the southern part of the Korean Peninsula, South Korea is a country in East Asia, that is known for being one of the most developed and advanced societies not only in Asia but in the entire world, as well as having the world’s fastest internet connections. The only thing faster than the internet connection may be the country’s rapid and massive economic development from the 50s until now.

Due to its high standards of living, South Korea attracts a large number of immigrants from other parts of Asia and the world. One of the best things you can do if you want to move to South Korea is to study at a university there, so in this article, we will tell you all you need to know about applying to a university in South Korea.

1. Fulfill the Korean and/or English prerequisites of Korean Universities

Before you apply to Korean universities, it is vital that you start preparing to meet the language requirements. It takes anywhere from one month to years to meet these requirements, so it is vital that you prepare in advance.

For undergraduate studies, you will generally need a level 3 proficiency in Korean, or, if you are studying in English, a minimum score of 80 for TOEFL and 55 for the IELTS exam. Most undergraduate programs are in Korean, so knowing the language will really boost your chances of studying there, however, studying in English is also very possible. The Seoul National University has their language requirements listed on their FAQ page.

Graduate programs have similar requirements, but they also may vary based on the course and university. Typically, there are more programs available in English on the graduate level compare to undergraduate, which means that you can expect more programs to require a certain level of English proficiency. As an example, here you can find the language requirements for Graduate programs at Korea University.

2. Know what subjects you will be studying at Korean universities

The most popular degree that students pursue in South Korea appears to be Business Administration. This is also the most common subject with over 800 business administration departments across all South Korean universities. Economics, which is similar to the before-mentioned subject is also very popular. The interest in these subjects makes perfect sense considering the economic growth in the country over the years.

Other popular subjects include physical education, family and social welfare, life sciences, computer sciences, and engineering, English language, and others. That being said, South Korean universities offer pretty much anything you might be interested in. The only exception might be medical school, which can be very difficult to get into as a foreigner, and requires passing qualification tests in Korean.

3. Shorlist Korean Universities that you want to apply to

South Korea has a number of very high quality higher education institutions, which gives you the opportunity to study there no matter what your subject of interest is. When you are looking for the perfect university for you, you should carefully explore the different programs that each university has to offer and select the one that most closely matches what you want to study. Then, you need to prepare your application before you apply to those Korean universities.

As we already said, there are a large number of reputable institutions for the subjects of economics and business, and a few other subjects that are popular. Even if you wish to study something else, most universities offer a wide range of programs to fit many different profiles of students.

To give you a good place to start your search, some of the best universities in South Korea are KAIST, Seoul National University, Korea University, Sungkyunwan University, and Yonsei University.

While these are considered to be among the best, you shouldn’t limit your search to just these as there are many others that may have exactly what you’re looking for, and considering the quality of education in South Korea, even the lower-ranked universities are up to a very high standard.

4. Meet the requirements for application to Korean universities

As is the case everywhere, Korean universities also have specific requirements that are different depending on the university that you’re applying to. Here you can find the application requirements for Yonsei University.

As you can see from the link above, Yonsei University has a minimum high school GPA requirement that potential applicants have to meet in order to apply. This is the case with a few Korean universities, especially those that are more prestigious and competitive.

However, for most other universities, the main requirements are that you have sufficient language skills, a copy of your passport, birth certificate, and potentially a few other documents. To increase your chances of getting accepted, you may also need to provide certificates of achievement, or awards from your time in high school, and in some cases a recommendation letter.

Graduate programs have very similar requirements to undergraduate ones, except for the more advanced courses which may require a better language proficiency or other requirements. As a starting point, you can find out more about the Graduate application requirements at Hanyang University.

5. Find affordable universities if you need assistance financially

Since tuition fees at private universities in South Korea can be quite high, (over $5,000 per semester) many students may need to look for some more affordable options and apply to affordable universities in Korea. National universities are significantly cheaper with tuition fees ranging from $1,000 to $2,000.

So, if you are on a limited budget, you should explore some of the national universities that Korea has to offer. Some of the best universities in the country aren’t private, so you really won’t be losing anything by enrolling in a national university. That being said, the competition to enter these universities is also usually higher, and in some cases, depending on the subject that you want to study, it might even be very difficult to get accepted in a course.

Additionally, even with the lower tuition fees at those universities, there are additional expenses that you need to consider including housing, food, transportation, living expenses, and more.

This means that if you are planning to go and study in South Korea, you need to first make sure that you can financially afford the move. Thankfully, foreign students are allowed to work part-time jobs, which can help you cover at least some of the expenses.

6. Also, apply for scholarships

To further help yourself from spending a lot of money, you should also explore scholarship opportunities and apply to Korean universities that offer generous scholarships. All Korean universities, both national and private offer scholarships that can cover either the full costs of studying or part of the tuition.

There are also scholarships that provide help with food, or accommodation. Before you apply to a Korean university, you should take a look in case you qualify for a scholarship.

As is the case everywhere, scholarships in South Korea are mainly reserved for two groups of students: those who have shown significant academic success in the past, and those who are financially underprivileged. If you belong to one of those groups, the chances for you to get a scholarship should be fairly high. Another way you can help yourself financially is by having high grades. Most universities offer stipends for enrolled students who are doing well in their studies. Whether you qualify for a stipend or not generally depends on your GPA.

I hope that this article on how to apply to universities in Korea for international students was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Asia Scholarships Category!