Applying to Korean universities as an international student can be very overwhelming — trust me, I’ve been there. There’s reading the very long and sometimes very confusing guide that the university provides, there’s also the expensive and difficult online application process, and then there’s the even more difficult and exhausting application process by post after that. But fear not! I’ve come to guide you through the way, towards the light, and give you five tips on applying to Korean universities as an international student!

Note: This article is mainly intended towards full undergraduate applications only.

Read the fine print on the application guide

During this whole process, the application guide that the university provides you with is going to be one of the most important resources to go through. Cherish it, keep in mind the important dates like application deadlines, and most importantly, read through it very carefully. This may seem like obvious advice, but one detail that you don’t understand or are unsure about could negatively affect your entire application, so you don’t want to miss anything.

Also, if there’s something unclear in the guide that you feel is important for you to know, don’t hesitate to contact the admissions team at the university, preferably through the phone, as it might save you a lifetime of hassle in the future. Here are the links to the 2019 spring application guides to three of the most popular Korean universities for international students; Korea University, Yonsei University, and Ewha Womans University.

Don’t try taking any shortcuts on the steps

The things the university asks you to do may be overpowering, but they are not trying to unnecessarily torture you (though sometimes it may feel like it). The university is asking for all of these extra documents and stamps of verification because they are required to by law and because they want to ensure that you don’t run into any issues as an international student in South Korea if you are accepted into their university.

It may also be the case that your application gets disqualified if you don’t do exactly as they say. So if you need to go find a notary to translate your documents or have to visit the South Korean embassy to have them verify your documents, then be prepared to go through that because there’s no getting around these extra steps if you really want to study in South Korea.

Do your own research when looking for the university’s admissions requirements

This one might seem a bit odd, but unlike western universities, Korean universities are not very specific when it comes to their admissions requirements. They don’t give you a range of grades you have to obtain or subjects you have to take, nor do they provide their acceptance rate. This may seem like a good thing, but sometimes you just want to know so you have a better idea of what you are getting yourself involved in.

This is where individual research comes in. You have to look through the depths of the internet or ask around a lot of your acquaintances to find out more about what the university might expect of you. Be careful though, don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Here are some blogs and YouTube channels that I personally found very helpful when I was applying to study in South Korea. There’s Ewhainatheart, who is a former student at Ewha Womans University; and Steph Choi, who studied abroad at Seoul National University. Also, an honorable mention goes to seoul-bot for her hilarious videos on the chronicles of life as an Ewha Womans University student.

Scholarship applicants: Make sure you have examined all the scholarship options available to you

Fortunately, a lot of Korean universities have a wide range of scholarships available to international students – ranging from full scholarships that even pay for your dorm to just one year scholarships that are a great help if all you need is a little push. Not only that, but usually you can also apply to multiple scholarships at once, thus increasing your chances of getting some kind of financial support for your studies.

This all sounds amazing, but for those who dig a little deeper, you can actually discover that the South Korean government has its own scholarship programs to help international students. Also, there’s no need to be discouraged if you don’t receive a scholarship during your application process, as some universities like Ewha Womans University still provide merit – or volunteer-based scholarships for registered international students. This is why it’s important for you to take the extra mile and read more about what scholarships are provided for international students in South Korea. You’ll be surprised at what you can find!

The website StudyinKorea showcases all the scholarship options provided by the South Korean government for international students interested in pursuing higher education in South Korea.

Interpret the application form questions in your own unique way

The application questions for Korean Universities can be very vague and somewhat puzzling, like when they ask for your philosophy in life or about your specialized interests in your major. It also might take you a minute or two to understand what they really want to know from you, but don’t worry – you can figure it out by figuring your own unique interpretation of the question they asked you. We all know how much admissions counselors love refreshing and uncommon applications; that is, if you don’t take it too far with the uniqueness. So don’t agonize over trying to figure out word-by-word exactly what they meant by their questions. Just answer honestly what you interpreted their question as because that is genuinely all they need from you.

I hope you all benefit from this short little guide during your application process, and good luck to you all!

Hey Soompiers, what struggles did you have when you applied to universities? Let us know in the comments below!