To obtain a bachelor or master’s scholarship via KGSP-G you can apply via embassy or university. In the end there is no difference between people who got their scholarship via embassy or university. The only difference is the way of application. I’m going to explain how to choose between both!
1/ Check the quota
First of all, you need to check the number of scholarships allocated for your country depending on the application way.
For french people, there are 3 scholarship via the Embassy track and only 1 via the Uni Track. So basically it is more interesting for us to apply via embassy. But the biggest difference between both is the universities you apply for. Indeed, via University track you can only apply to one while via the Embassy Track you can apply to 3 different universities.
2/ Embassy track
Application: The application file is available on the application guidelines of NIIED (2018 KGSP-G Application Guidelines (English)). Applying via Embassy Track you can choose to apply to 3 different universities!!! That is important! That means that you have 3 more chance to be accepted in an university!
1st round of selection: For the one applying via the embassy, the first selection is made within people having the same nationality. In some countries, South Korea is not a big deal so there are only few applications. For instance, in France, there are every year approximatively 10 applications for 3 scholarships: so it is not impossible to get one of them. Warning! In some countries, this scholarship is requested a lot so it’s harder to get a chance via the Embassy Track.
Most of time, embassies run interview to choose their scholars. Questions vary a lot. For me, it was a 10 minute-interview with really easy questions. They mostly wanted to check what I wrote in my Motivation Letter.
2nd round of selection: Once you have been selected by the embassy, your application is given to NIIED. The number of persons selected depends on the countries. In France, for 3 scholarships allocated, the embassy recommends 3 students. In some countries, most of time when they have many allocated scholarships, they send more students than their allocated number: for purposes of having some students being rejected by their 3 Universities. The NIIED selection is more like an examination of the quality of the scholar, I don’t think a lot of people are rejected by NIIED after being selected by the Embassy.
3rd round of selection: Once NIEED reviewed your application, everything is sent to the 3 Universities you wanted to apply for. Some universities conduct interviews but some don’t. It is also depending on the department you apply for. For instance, the politic department of Yonsei may conduct interview while the biology department doest not. In my case, I was not interviewed by any of the universities (Yonsei, Hanyang and KAIST). By the beginning of june, each university had to send us the result so that we can know whether we are accepted or not.
I received these emails saying that I was accepted to both Yonsei and Hanyang. As for KAIST, I was the only one applying to KAIST that did not receive any answer (either positive or negative). Once the deadline reached, you have only 1 week to choose the one you want so I was in a hurry to know whether I was accepted in KAIST. But despite sending emails to KAIST’s administration I never received any answer. The day before the deadline to choose the University, I received an email from the NIIED saying my name was on the successful applicant’s list for KAIST. So I basically made it! I was accepted to Yonsei, Hanyang and KAIST! (curious about my final choice? –> check it out!).
4th round of selection: The medical examination is not really a selection in itself. At this step you are already a successful scholar! But you still need to prove that you have a good health condition.
3/ University Track
Application: This time, you need to apply directly to the korean university you are interested in. So you have to check the university website regularly to wait for their directives. Indeed, each university has different prerequisite and different deadlines. Some will ask for many more documents than needed for the embassy application. And some will have a really early deadline so you better anticipate and have your application ready. Do not forget that the application needs to be sent directly in South Korea!
1st round of selection: For this selection you are against worldwide students applying to the same university = highly competitive!! And very dangerous if you apply to a good university and your grades for instance do not reach their expectations, you are eliminated quickly. Most of universities do conduct interview so be prepared!
2nd round of selection: Once every university has sent their list of successful scholar, NIIED will choose the winners according to the countries’ quota. For instance, if 2 french students apply and are accepted to their chosen university, only one can get the scholarship because the french quota is 1. So NIIED will review their application and choose one of them as a successful scholar. Once you are selected by NIIED, the hardships are over for you! Only the medical examination remains!
4/ My personal opinion
Despite all the explanations, you may hesitate about the best way to apply for you.
-If you only want to study in one specific university, it is better to apply via Uni Track because you will be able to write a personalized motivation letter.
-If your grades are not that good, it is better to apply via the Embassy Track so that, in the case you pass the 1st selection, you will have 3 more chances to be accepted. And one of your chosen university should be a not reputed university, like one in Daegu or Daejeon, to protect its rear.
-If you apply for a doctoral degree it may be better to do it via the Uni Track. Indeed, a PhD is something really specific so it may be better to already have a researcher that accepted you. In my case, I applied for a doctoral degree via Embassy Track but I already had the acceptance of laboratories in the universities I applied for.