How To Get Into Korean Colleges


So, you just graduated high school and you’re thinking to yourself, “DANG, I want to study in Korea!” But how!? :( You’re not alone. Korea is filled with vibrant cultures making the country a great place to live, study, and work. We will break down the do’s and don’ts to give you a better idea of how things run in Korean universities and what they look for in prospect students. So listen up! Let’s take a look at this step by step and simplify it as much as possible:

Why study in Korea?

It’s Korea, DUH! 😀 But! No matter how much you love Korea, you have to be aware of what you will run into (which applies to any country) – like the environment, home sickness, and etc. Other than that, if you are a tough cookie, Korea should be one of the best experiences for you! Here are some other reasons why Korea is so awesome!:

  • Korea has a very developed economy (15th in the world! yeeuh!) with many employment opportunities for foreigners.
  • There are a number of culture and language based programs available that will lead you to the heart of South Korea’s cities.
  • Korea’s natural beauty, four distinct seasons, and contrasting scenery in a small country allows for some great exploring. Check it out for yourself.
  • Korea’s rich culture will fascinate you, and many elements of the past have been preserved for the modern cities of Korea.
  • Although Korea is a divided country, it has become important economically, diplomatically, and strategically among other nations such as China, Russia, Japan, and America.

This is what makes Korea a sweet deal for students who want to study in Korea! :)


Preparation – 3 steps

In Korea, there are many different universities you can choose from. This makes it easy for you to choose a university that fits you the best. But where do I start, you may ask? Remember, advanced research on your own is the best advice we can give to you. Make a list of the universities that look interesting to you. Are you an artsy guy? Are you a math wiz? Whatever suits you, choose wisely. Another thing that you should look out for is the application process – they are usually all in Korean (many universities are working on making the process in English so it’s a lot easier for students abroad).

1.) Do not procrastinate.
Seriously, do NOT procrastinate! As application deadlines get closer, you will get more frustrated. Korean universities have entrance exams only once a year (usually in October or so). If you pass the initial deadline for the application, you will have to eat another birthday cake before you can apply again.

2.) University fairs.
You know, it’s kind of like the science fair and job career fairs you’ve always attended in high school, except this is a University fair. Korea is great in organizing university fairs every single year for students who are interested in studying here in Korea. Although this applies to more bigger cities like Seoul, most cities in Korea have university fairs where all universities look for foreigners to gather and promote their universities and programs. Make sure you attend at least one of these university fairs to get an idea of what is best for you. It seriously helps! If for some reason you have financial problems and you can’t fly to Korea, e-mail the university staff (extremely early) to find out more information. This would be the best alternative.

Usually, many of the university advisors will be available to help you understand the university a bit more. They will immediately guide you through the whole process, and some of them will even accept the applications right on that day.

3.) Get your documents.
Now you know which university you want to to go. You know all the dates and so forth. Well now comes the hard part. It’s time to get your high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, and etc. Advice: Start this process as soon as possible. There will be many university fairs throughout the year where you can get more information about the options you have. Most of them will have completely different admission requirements so its important for you to check with them in advance so you have everything ready by the time you decide to apply. Don’t procrastinate on this!

If you have steps one, two, and three in tact, you got the hard stuff down. Now let’s get on to FAQs.


Do I Have to be Smart?

Define smart. Many people misunderstand the fact that there are just as many opportunities to study as a foreigner in South Korea as there are plenty of opportunities for South Koreans to study in other countries. You may think that the common requirements are extremely good grades, exceptional Korean language skills, and blistering loads of money to pay tuition and living expenses – well, you thought WRONG! In fact, some universities have a very high quota on foreign enrollment, hence, it may actually be easier for you to get into a Korean university than an actual Korean! 😉

How much Korean should you know?
Admission requirements will be different for each university. Some will require Korean, some don’t. As an example, some universities will ask you to have incredibly good scores on your Korean proficiency tests, to have many extracurricular activities, etc. However, the truth is that the only thing that really matters is how “well-rounded” you are. Are you an open guy/girl? Just a tip, don’t get depressed if you didn’t do well on the Korean proficiency test, you can still get admitted. Trust us! Just think of the Korean test as your confidence test. Are you serious about attending the university? That’s all.

You will be very surprised to see that most universities require international students to be really good at Korean, which in reality you don’t. The universities just want students to be serious about the people attending their universities. Your Korean will improve dramatically over time even if you failed miserably on the test. Nevertheless, if you tried hard to show on your application that you can try, you should be considered easily. Well-roundness in a person is what really matters! 😉


Letter of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation is also a big factor to your application process. It’s kind of like proof to show that you are a considerable person for the university. Make sure you start getting them early before you come to Korea. Talk to your teachers in High school and your part-time job employers (if you have one) for good recommendation letters that can show your university of interest what kind of student you are! Also, make sure you make several copies of the letter and you ask your professor to sign them all. You’ll be so happy to know that all those recommendation letters will have helped you get into the university you wanted.



Finally, you got everything together. Now all you have to do is submit! This is the easiest part. Nonetheless, keep something in mind: Koreans take deadlines pretty seriously. Make sure you don’t send your send your applications too late, or you’ll lose your chance to getting admitted where you want to.


Good luck!

If you have any questions, thoughts, or even concerns, leave a comment below!


  1. 타일러 says:

    Wooow~ >A<
    I really hope that I can attend a Korean University when I graduate from High school.

  2. Justine says:

    Do you know where the University Fairs are going to be and when they are going to happen?

    • Eric Huh says:

      University fairs are usually in the summer time, or right before the school year starts. Keep in mind that each university will be different! Depending on which school and major you are interested in, we recommend you checking out the university websites. They will provide you the general procedure and will usually have scheduled events for the upcoming year. Best of luck to you :)

  3. Esther says:

    What websites would you recommend to star searching from?

    • Eric Huh says:

      It really depends. We highly recommend you checking out different university websites (they will usually have an English website) to find out more information on what major you are interested in. They will usually have the whole application procedure listed on their website. Some recommended universities would be from the “SKY” universities (Seoul National University, Korea University, and Yonsei University), hence, the SKY Universities are the top three schools here in Korea and have a very high acceptance rate for exchange students, international students, and even international summer programs for Korean language courses. Good luck!

      • Joi Stricklan says:

        I heard somewhere else that their acceptance rates for both korean and international students are really low. Not to sound doubtful, but do you have any proof?

        I am interested in attending SNU, Kyung Hee, or Ewha. Can you give me some specifics on these? I have already been over the websites and admissions guide several times. Anything I might not know?

        • Joi Strickland says:

          I am interested in applying as an international student not as an exchange student.

          Thank you!

  4. Dana says:

    This was really helpful but what about studying in Korea as an exchange student? I’m korean but I lived in Canada for most of my life and I was planning on attending university here than go to Korea as an exchange. Which way is easier? Just applying to Korean universities or going as an exchange?

  5. Anni says:

    well..if u are only interested in doing a language program or summer program where u pay the tuition yourself, u dun have to worry at all! they mostly take everyone.. its like u are the customer here,since u pay the very high tuition fees.
    But I think actually getting enrolled in the university as a undergraduate student is the hard part, i know from other asian countries that even if you are a foreigner u still have to do an entrance exam..of course different from the one local students get.. wonder if its the same?

    I am going to be an visiting student this year where i will spent 2 semester to take some business courses which credits can be transformed back to my home uni and it is not hard to get in or even u will get in anyway, of course if u fit the requirements, like grades above “whatever grade”. its not sky university, but sungkyunkwan which is a really good university as well.. so i really look foward to it :)

  6. Sheedah says:

    What about Master programs (and not the TOESL Master programs) and professional schools? Are they just as open to enrolling foreigners as the undergraduate programs? I’m thinking of staying in Korea and getting a Masters of Science degree. (In actuality, I would like to go to med school here, but I feel that is a long shot.)

  7. Anni says:

    for master degree u gotta prepare a lot of cash..but i am not sure they have a masters of science with completely english taught lesson.. i only know the mba completely in english.. but if you know korean,then its not a big problem! u should check the master programs the unis have in korea first. but it is possible for foreigners to do masters.

  8. Peggy says:

    Hey I’m really interested in studying in Korea, but I’m really confused because of the differences between when the academic year in the US and in Korea each start.
    I’m currently a Junior in High School in the US and so I’ll be starting college applications this summer so I can start college fall of 2014. I know that university in Korea starts in the spring, or at least so say the websites I’ve looked at, but I technically shouldn’t be. Most applications also say you should have graduated high school, but even if I apply to start the fall semester of 2014 rather than the spring one, I won’t have graduated. If I read it correctly, it wasn’t talking about graduating by the time you entered, but rather by that first semester. I was thinking of emailing a university or something to see if I can get a more clear response from one
    I’d really like to start as a Freshman in Korean University if it’s possible, so if you have any recommendations or anything it would be great! 감사합니다!

  9. Şerife says:

    Hello ,
    I am Şerife. I am writing from Turkey. I am a student at Gazi University in Ankara. My department is mechanical engineering. I would like to do internship in Korea, but I do not know what I should do for this. I mean , what should I know about this subject or how can I search ? Should I communicate universities or companies ? Could you give me some information

  10. kim says:

    But if you are going just to study korean from scratch then you don’t need any ”korean test”?

  11. Abdi says:

    There’s also a great scholarship program that people can use. You have to apply via your local Korean embassy. This is a program for Undergraduates and Graduates.

  12. Grace says:

    How do you find out about university fairs? Like when they are? and can anyone attend?

  13. Lacey says:

    Are there universities that have programs in english?

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  15. Lacey says:

    What are some universities with English programs?

  16. Vanessa says:

    So, is it possible to apply to one of the universities in Seoul and not be an exchange student but actually attend there as a student (International student I guess) and still take classes in English? Like the university I choose in Seoul will actually be my home university, that’s what I mean. If that makes sense.

  17. Natalia says:

    Hi, i’m currently searching for an university in Korea that suits me best. Would you mind to recommend me some of the universities that have the best scholarships for design majors or architectural majors? 많이 도와줘서 고마워 :)
    @lacey : you can search some of the universities in ! Goodluck to you

  18. Helina ethio says:

    okay,, so are scholarships for free,, I mean wat do u do afyer u get in,, do I have to pay for my self or… and what is the best english speakin(teaching) university the have Architecture fields?:)

  19. Kaela says:

    Hey guys!
    So I have a lot of backstory, so pardon me for being long-winded. I’m already living in Seoul and studying at SNU’s korean language program. I dropped out of college three years ago, so I don’t have my Bachelor’s degree, and it’s been a while since I graduated High School. I want to apply to Hongik University for Fall Semester 2014 but the homepage is ALL korean and I seriously have no idea what the hell I’m doing and what I need to prepare! I have spent hours and hours and hours translating links and simple parts of the page but….unfortunately, I also have a macbook. So their flash websites don’t work very well with my web browser either! I’m also the completely OPPOSITE of loaded in cash. If I stay in language school after 4 more months I’ll be legally allowed to work part-time. So then I could save up some money for tuition and living expenses, etc by then, hopefully. But I don’t even know how much to save up, because, like I said, the homepage and admissions information (even for the foreign students) is all written in Korean. The only English stuff available is a page that only describes the undergraduate/graduate school degree programs, courses, and who teaches them. Which is nice but kind of useless….do you have any suggestions or ideas on how I can figure this stuff out and get everything done in time? Also, what about scholarships? Do you know what’s available out there for adults like me??? I know if I study my ass off in Language school now I can try to get some small scholarship funds but I don’t know if they would transfer to another university or not, and I can’t get anything from the states because I’m not already in college or fresh out of high school….and once I’m a fulltime student, working would be more difficult because I’m studying abroad to focus on SCHOOL not money….>_> The only things I could find so far were for students only from specific countries (usually lower-economic or southeastern asian countries) I wish there wasn’t this assumption that all Americans are rolling in the dough. Any advice or points or suggestions, please let me know!

  20. mariah says:

    American colleges, if you live in dorms it is taken out of your tuition and you have to leave during the holidays. Is that the same with universities in Korea? And by chance, because moving to another state is expensive, they wouldn’t pay for your airfare would they?

  21. Sean says:

    How prestigious is a degree from Korea in the American job market? I plan to acquire my Master’s in Education and have been suggested to look into options here (I’m currently teaching in Korea and already have a Bachelor’s degree). Besides cost and quality of education, one of my major concerns would be how the degree would appear to prospective employers.

    Sheedah, I’ve read that graduate programs offer scholarships to international students that highly subsidize education here (provided you maintain a 3.5+ GPA). Is this true?

  22. Sebnem says:


    My name is Sebnem I’m from Holland. I just finished highschool and now I’m going to start a program called interior exterior decoration. (it will take 4 years)

    So my question is what should I do and how would I get to go to school there? I would love to study abroad in Korea.
    My field of interest lies in the design of interiors and maybe later I would even love to attempt an architect training (I’m a creative person, love to draw and make designs)

    Why I want to study in korea? I think we all think the same here, I’m very interested in the culture, people, land, religion etc.
    When people aks me If I would like to study abroad I say ” YES, I would love to! I just need to know how!”
    when people ask me that question Korea always pops in to my mind, like go to korea!!!! seoul! YOU WILL LOVE IT THERE! 😀

    So, I know 3 things that I want.
    1. I want to study abroad in Korea, Seoul.
    2. I want to go to the creative direction!
    3. I want to experience the best time EVER in Seoul (and at SCHOOL)

    I love SCHOOL! hehheh

    If someone knows any kind or a tiny bit of information PLEASE share it with me I would be very grateful!


  23. Tae Eun says:

    How many teacher’s recommendation letters do i need for most korean universities?

  24. Jocel Peach says:

    I plan to study in korea but I’m undergraduate,is it possible that I can study in korea?im working now in Malaysia,,
    What requarments do I need?

    Thank you

  25. K says:

    Hi. I was just wondering if you could do a post about getting into a language school in Korea? cause I’m really considering in doing so after my degree. Thanks! :3

  26. narayan kumar khadka says:

    I am NARAYAN KUMAR KHADKA from SOUTH ASIAN country NEPAL. I have passed B.A, B.ED with history and Nepali language and literature in the second division from the T.U (TRIBHUWAN UNIVERSITY) and have done social work experience up to nearly 8 year in the 2 projects which were financially and technically supported by UNDP, DFDP, SNV-Nepal, and ADB and by the NEPAL government the projects were related poverty reduction area, but now, I want to read some social work related subject outside of my country, specially, coming in south KOREA.
    Because with the country our national and people have good and sound relation for many years. Being economical problem I could not get good marks in the the previous level but I have collected some founds to read going outside from my country. If I could have full or some percent scholarship, that would be better for me and Nepalese people because reading the sociology or social work related subjects I will join in the social work and service in my country again, for that I want to have admission on your college /university please sir please kindly inform me from when and how can I have admission? My email id is:
    khadka.narayan2 , you may call on +9779813172209. Thank you,

  27. Miosoty Gonzalez says:

    thanks for this great post! But another question for you! lol What if I’m looking to transfer for my college here to a university there and finish in that Korean university? Does most of this apply except for the high school part?

  28. Ravshan Hujakulov says:

    can you give some more information f.ex about fee and facilities

  29. Moses says:

    I am interested in studying in one of the colleges in korea.What i am i would love to study is in the field of agriculture,especially live stock farming.Is korea the right place for me as an international student?Please i will like to get more information and names of colleges that offers agriculture programmes.

  30. liyana says:

    hi. i’m from malaysia. i just want to know how to apply to universities in korea? i’m very interested to study there.

  31. Jumanah says:

    I am currently on break from college, I am honestly not a great student when attending college in the USA. I want to start a program in Korea as an absolute freshman, will that be alright. I am willing to save up and pay my own tuition as well as maybe getting a part-time job. I know a little Korean, I can read and write the language a little. Please help me understand.
    정말 고맙습니다!!!

  32. mercy says:

    Am mercy, and a nigerian. At early age I dropped out of high school(final year). And I would really love to continue my education in korea. What are the requirements?

  33. Emily says:

    I plan on going to Changwon National University for Korean Language as my major. I don’t know what to do about the first year of core classes though. In America your first year of college you have to take your core classes before you start the classes for your major. Do you have to do that in Korea as well if you are a foreigner? If you do would it just be easier to take my core classes here before going to Changwon? Can you even take core classes in Korea if you don’t fluently speak Korean?

  34. Justyna says:

    I’m Polish girl… Now I’m in China as Au Pair (nanny for baby) but from August 2013 I work as an English teacher in my boss’s training center… But my dream is study about korea – korean language, culture, history… I graduate technical school in April 2013. Honestly – my family is not rich at all. I’m thinking – am I good person to study in Korea?But this is my dream and I’m VERY serious about it. I will not give up on this!

  35. kathy says:

    hey..i’m a university student..i would like to know if i wanna study master in a korean university can i get the chance??
    my high school grads are great but in university i had ups and downs..also i wanna know how much chance i have for study master..i’m in 3rd year of my university and i have 1 year left..
    it would be great if i could have more informations..

  36. Fahime says:

    Sorry but what about the money? I want to study in korea and study dental but i really can’t pay sooo much for tuition.besides I’m good at korean and really love to go there to study.if you accepted in university should you pay for tuition or not?? Plz help me.감사합니다!

  37. Berta says:

    I’m a girl from Spain and I didn’t understand well (not bc im from Spain haha) “Do I have to be Smart”, I mean, I’ve read that you have to got an 80% of ur marks to get to University! Do u know if that is true? I really want to study uni there but it’s too difficult to get an 8 here! So, what can I do? thank u very much!

  38. Nick says:

    Dont they have any scholarships :/

  39. Sam says:

    Hey I am sam. I finished my MBA from UK, now I want to do my Phd from South Korea. can anyone suggest me a how to go for it. like when the enrollment procedure start, which is a better university for Phd in management. what about scholarships.
    do let me know please

  40. Hi I graduated from high school and I really want to study abroad in korea and sing to meet my idol

  41. Nunti says:

    I just want to share my experience. I applied for graduate admission for Fall 2014 but, unfortunately, I am not accepted. Although I really want to study Ph.D. at Korea like Korea University and have been trying my best to prepare myself before admission process , I cannot reach my goal.
    I have read this post many time because it encourage me about the application for Korean universities.
    I think that Korean language is very important for some department for example in department of Mass Communication which I applied. I think that Korean language is the main factor that I cannot be accepted.
    However, this post is very impressive and useful for everyone who want to study in Korea. I will apply again in Spring 2015.
    Fighting everyone!! ^_^

  42. Chingyi says:

    Hello! I am interested to have a student exchange program in Korea. Do you know which Korea university has the best business school? Thank you!

    • farzan says:

      Hello,my name is farzan and I am from Iran. I want to studying veterinary in Korea, and i was graduated from high school. please recommend me for good college for that,thank you.

  43. kiran gc says:

    I want to get admitted in Korean language program of SNU. How would i know when i have to apply for the admission. What are the criteria for those??