KGSP – Deciding on Your University

Like I have explained in my previous post there are two ways to apply for KGSP. If you apply via embassy, you need to select three universities, while via direct application you only choose one single university. Nevertheless, in both cases I recommend to choose carefully.

First of all you should check the guidelines to see which universities take part in the program for the year you are applying for. Then you can narrow down your choices. In my case, I first made a list with all universities in Seoul (since I wanted to study in Seoul only) and then checked each and every description of the school to see if they offered my desired major. After this step, I visited the websites of the left universities on my list and browsed through their site for additional information about the school and the program. Unfortunately the content of the English university websites differ immense from the Korean ones (I even had cases where the English website did not work…). Based on the gathered information, I selected and ranked three universities that offered the best program for me.



Not sure which university to pick? Here is some more information.

In Korea the term SKY universities exists. SKY stands for Seoul National University, Korea University and Yonsei, the top three universities in the country. The goal of many Korean students is to attend a SKY university, since graduating from one of those will offer them a prosper career and social status. Besides SKY (all located in Seoul), KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) in Daejon has continuously rising it’s reputation and can now be place at the same level as SKY for scientists and engineers. The competition for those four universities is high. If you plan to select three of those universities in your application, there might be the possibility that you get rejected three times. I therefore recommend (if you really want to try to get into SKY or KAIST) to select two of them and a less competitive university as your third choice.

In general applying for a university located not in Seoul rises the chance of being accepted. Most of the applicants want to stay in Seoul – for whatever reason they have. Therefore, universities in other big cities (Busan, Daejon or Daegu) and especially universities in rural areas (Jeonju, Cheonan, Jeju Island – yes, you can even study on Jeju!) are having lots of seats for foreign students. Every location has it’s advantages and disadvantages of course. Just to give one out of many examples: while Seoul offers plenty of possibilities to enjoy the busy and diversified life in the capital, it is also by far the most expensive city to live in Korea.

When you are eager to live in a certain city, you better also check if the campus you will be attending is actually located there. Some universities have different campus locations. You better clarify where the courses of your major are going to be taught. In the end you apply for a university in Seoul, move to Seoul just to find out that your lectures are held in another city (I know from fellow KGSP students facing this problem).

I often read the question, and I also asked this myself back then; if courses are taught in English. In general I can say NO. If you do not attend GSIS (Graduate School of International Studies) the chances that you have courses in English are very little. Some universities, especially the bigger ones, have occasionally lectures held in English. From my own experience of the Business Administration Department (marketing major) at SNU I can say that one English class in my first and second semester each was offered, while none in my third or forth. Some universities offer a catalog with courses taught in English for each semester. If you cannot find it on the university website, you can always ask their administration office to send it to you by email.

Furthermore, I also recommend to look into the actual course catalog  by semester rather than into the course curriculum. During the application process I orientated myself on the course curriculum and was then very surprised when some of the courses introduced there are actually not taught (anymore).

I hope the information will be useful for your decision. More about KGSP in later blog posts. Also start following my blog to not miss further adventures in Korea.




  1. Hello, I was browsing your blog and have enjoyed reading your articles about life in Korea and KGSP. I was wondering what you think of student life at SNU? I have received a KGSP scholarship and applied through the embassy route. I now must decide which university I would like to go to. SNU’s website doesn’t outline a lot of student life activities (I have a feeling that one must have a student profile to access this info on the website). I wanted to check in with another KGSP scholar to see what student life is like. I would also greatly appreciate any advice you might have. Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing from you! ^_^


    • Hello Ämi,
      well, how is my student life at SNU? I would say very busy. Compared to KGSPs from other universities I would say that the workload at SNU is higher. This probably depends on your major too, so this is from my experience with a major in business administration.

      SNU offers various student activities in form of clubs and circles, but for the majority of them, your Korean level should be high. There is also an association for foreign students that organizes events from time to time. The university also hosts various events during the semester. Just lately we had an international food festival where international students sold self-made dishes. If you decide to live in the dorm on campus you probably also have to chance to meet new people and attend events organised by the dorm. However, I cannot say much about it since I do not live there.
      I hope this gave you a brief overview about student life activities at SNU.


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