With the rise of the “Hallyu Wave” over the past few years, Korea has seen an immense rise in popularity. Not only is it a forerunner of contemporary pop culture, but it is also a dream destination to study an undergraduate degree for international students. It is also home to technological advancement and extraordinary history can coincide. Korea is a curious mix of the ancient and modern worlds—a cultural hotspot that anybody would feel right at home in.
As a global nation, Korea frequently invites international students to come study for bachelor’s at any of their acclaimed universities. In fact, Korea is one of the friendlier countries to study in as an international student! If you’re looking to apply as an undergraduate student, the following information will be very helpful for you.
Application Requirements for Applying for Bachelor’s in Korea
The following is a list of general university admission requirements in Korea. Depending on which university you’re applying for, the complete set of requirements may be shorter or longer than the list here. Each university is different and has its own set of prerequisites and requirements for admission.
The application form is the most important document in your application. It contains your personal details, educational background, applied courses, and other important information that lets the university know who you are. All universities have an application form required for the students to apply for bachelor’s in Korea that is unique to them, and a PDF version of it can usually be found on their school websites.
High School Documents (Certificate of Graduation and Academic Transcript)
These documents serve as proof that you are both qualified to take up a bachelor’s degree in Korea (at least 12 years of schooling) and qualified to study at a particular university. A certificate of graduation certifies that you have completed secondary school, while academic transcripts contain a list of your classes and their corresponding grades. To ensure academic excellence, most universities have a minimum GPA required to apply for admission.
As an international student, you may be asked to provide a grading key if your grading system is different from that of Korea.
This is a reference letter usually written by a teacher, principal, or guidance counselor from your high school. A recommendation letter is another essential requirement for international students to obtain an undergraduate degree in Korea. It usually contains questions about a student’s character, study habits, extracurricular activities, and more. Most Korean universities will need two or more of these.
Proof of Nationality
As an international student, you will be asked to submit proof of your nationality. This can be in the form of a certificate of nationality or the biometrics page of your passport. If you possess dual citizenship, you will be asked to submit proof of both.
This document helps the university gauge who you are on a personal level and is especially important if the competition is intense. These statements usually include reasons for studying an undergraduate degree in Korea along with your course, why you’re particularly deserving of a slot, your future career plans, and other pertinent information. Each university will have its own word count limit and may even allow you to write it in a language other than Korean.
Bachelor’s Degree Language Requirements for Korea
Aside from the previous documents, international students will usually also be asked for proof of Korean language proficiency.
Korean is the primary language of instruction in Korea. While some universities may advertise English-taught courses, there are usually also Korean-taught classes required in the curriculum. Additionally, living in Korea without speaking the language can be extremely difficult. Thus, it is highly recommended that you enroll in a Korean Language Institute (KLI) before applying for a bachelor’s degree in any Korean university.
Korean language proficiency is measured by TOPIK or the Test of Proficiency in Korean. It was designed to measure a person’s reading, writing, and listening skills in the Korean language. There are three stages (i.e., Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced) of the test, and each stage will have two levels each for a total of six levels. The test is held several times a year, and information on test dates and locations can be found on TOPIK’s official website here.
Most Korean universities require a minimum of TOPIK Level 3. You will need to submit a copy of your test results as part of your admission documents. Generally, each level will take around 10 weeks of studies at the KLI, so a TOPIK Level 3 can be achieved within 7 months or so. However, we recommend that you study for at least one year before enrolment or even more—not only will this ensure you’re well within the required proficiency level, but some universities like Kyung Hee University and Ewha Women’s University actually offer tuition fee reductions the higher your TOPIK Level is!
If your preferred course is taught in English, you will be required to send proof of English language proficiency (e.g., IELTS, TOEIC, TOEFL). If you come from a country whose first language is English, you do not need to submit this.
How to Apply for Bachelor’s Programs
University admissions usually open twice a year—the first a few months before the spring semester and the other a few months before the fall semester. Both options are viable for any international student wishing to study bachelor’s in Korea. However, there are no set dates when it comes to the application process—as was already mentioned, each Korean university is different. Naturally, their timelines and deadlines would be different as well!
1. Visiting University Websites
With that in mind, you should start planning your applications by visiting official university websites. There, you will find comprehensive guidelines in English on how to apply as an undergraduate including timelines, requirements, and prerequisites. You should also check what courses they have available, what cities they’re located in, and how competitive it is. Definitely consider applying for more than one university to increase your chances of getting admitted.
At this stage, you should also be checking the application processes various universities have. Always remember that all universities will have their own unique process.
Take the following universities as examples:
As you can see, these universities differ greatly when it comes to their admissions process. Some are shorter or longer than others, some have more requirements, some require online or physical copies, and so much more. This is why you must do your own research for each university before submitting an application.
2. Starting Your Application
The next stage is actually starting the application process itself. Start by downloading the university application form and completing it. Here is where you can add in your general information and desired courses, and pay the application fee (if applicable).
3. Uploading Application Documents
If you pass the online application, you will then be required to upload scanned copies of your application documents, submit hard copies by mail, or even both. University websites will usually tell you if they require original copies or scanned copies, and if they will be returning your documents to you after the application period.
4. Attending Tests or Interviews
Other plausible stages are taking a Korean language proficiency exam, attending an interview, and taking a performance test. Again, this will be indicated in the university’s application process. They will usually inform you when and where these tests or interviews will be taking place as well. Applicants should always be alert for the announcements of schedules especially with the tests or interviews as they are a significant part of the requirements in applying for bachelors in Korea.
All these steps are commonly-required for admission but can happen in no particular order or not at all. Thankfully, most application processes in Korea are very straightforward, so pursuing a bachelor’s degree there should be a breeze!
Interested in studying in Korea but not sure what to do? Our team can help! We offer paid admissions service for international students who want to study in Korea. We charge a fee to help with everything from choosing the appropriate university, helping with the admission application, and application for Korean student visa. If you are interested, fill out your information on this page. And feel free to check out the Available Programs for International Students and learn more about studying undergraduate programs abroad.