How to apply?

In this post, I will explain some details about the documents you must gather in order to apply and more important, how to enhance your application.

First of all! Gathering every documents takes time! So DO NOT start when the official guideline is out (beginning of february). You have to use the previous guideline to start making your application.

I personnaly started to gather documents at the beginning of january and I received the last document very very late (few days before the deadline >//< thanks to the administration T_T).

1/ Which documents do you have to submit?

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These are the documents that must be submitted. Warning! For those that apply via Uni Track, this list may be different depending on the university.

As you can see, most of them are pretty easy to get.
Forms 1, 2, 3, 7 and 8 are KGSP files to be filled. (no need to get anything)
Form 4, 6, 13, 14 and 15 are not mandatory for master & PhD.
Forms 18, 19, 20 are fom korean adoptees.
Form 5 are 2 letters of recommendations.
Forms 9, 10, 11, 12 are certificate of degree and transcripts.
Form 16 and 17 to prove your nationality and your parents.
Forms 21 to 24 are not mandatory files.

So in the end, the minimum documents you must submit are KGSP files, 2 letters of recommendation, your degree diploma with transcripts and certificate of nationality (passport is enough). As you can see, this is not impossible!

You may not have your last degree diploma. Indeed, I was doing my master degree when I applied to a doctoral degree so I was not able to provide the master diploma. Instead, you can provide a certificate of expected graduation. It can be done by your university or by the teacher responsible for your degree.

 

2/ Translation and notarization

BUT…every document must be translated either in english either in korean (so loooot of money needed).
For some document you may translate it yourself. For instance, another applicant translate in english its university transcripts and get an official stamp of the university. In my case, the university refused to provide me the stamp on my translation >//<  I finally get lucky thank to my korean teacher who is a sworn translator so I obtained the precious translations in korean without paying much.

Very important, every document must also be notarized. Indeed, you must not provide the original copy of documents because none of them will be returned. So instead you’ll give photocopies and to confirm that they are authentic photocopies you must notarized them.

The process may be different from a country to another. In France for instance to notarize school documents you must go to the rectorship, then to the City hall and finally to the Assize Court….it took me approximatively one month >//< But then I found out that City Hall ‘s stamps were enough. I advise you to get close to other applicants in your country to share informations and to contact previous scholar.

 

3/ How to convert in GPA?

One of the biggest problem of KGSP is the grades conversion. Indeed, grades are different depending on the country. In order to compare everyone, KGSP ask you to provide your grades into GPA (/4) and to explain your country’s grade system. (You need to have a GPA above 2.64 on 4 to be selected.)

I personnaly used the website Foreign Credits and provided their grading system to KGSP:

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Then, I gave them an exemple on how I used the website:

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On this website, you choose your country (so grade system) and then for each subjet you need to enter your grade and the credit related. The website will convert is into US grade and GPA!

 

4/ How to write the Personal statement and Statement of purpose?

This is the one of the most important thing in your application! DO NOT neglect! I advise to write it on a PC to make it clear and to write a lot.

FORM 2. Personal statement
In this part, you have to describe your past study, your work experiences and your interest in South Korea.
This is about your motivation. They need to understand why you won’t give up, why you want this scholarship so much. They need to know that you’ll acclimatize quickly to a new country and that you’re a valuable person.

Here is the detail of my personal statement as an exemple. This is purely an example, you may build your arguments differently.

So, first I have listed all the internships I have made during my studies. Then I said that thanks to these experiences, I acquired many skills and qualities such as autonomy, knowledge and so on. Next I wrote that I found out that I really want to work in research laboratories later so I need a doctoral degree. Thus, I wanted to apply to KGSP for a doctoral degree. But why South Korea? I gave differents reasons: I have been studying the language for several years, I did a backpack travel there, SK is starting to be known for the quality of their research in biotechnology…. I ended talking about the korean degree I made besides my actual degree in sciences. Then, the korean association I joined as a community manager and the international contest I took part of.

FORM 3. Goal of study
In this part, they want to know what you’ll do in South Korea. Have you extensively look for the courses available in universities? For instance, in this part, I said that I contacted several researchers in different universities and that 4 of them accepted me in their laboratories. So I outlined in details what these people are working on and how their works are linked to my goal study and future job.

FORM 3. Future plan
In this part, they want to know what you’ll do once the degree in Korea is over. It looks like they are not that much interested in scholars that want to stay in Korea so I advise no to mention it if it is your goal. Besides that you can write what you want. I wrote that I was interested in having a volunteer experience in preserving animals and nature but that there is also some companies related to my degree field I would like to work for. This part is up to you!

 

5/ How to enhance an application?

1-First of all, you need to know that student studying science and engineering have advantage. It means that with similar applications (grades/Experience…) you may not be chosen if there is a science student applying. It makes sense. Indeed, korean universities are not that much interested in foreign students studying korean language, korean history and so on. The same for those who want to apply for english degree, be prepared for interview questions!

2-Then grades are important. You must have grades as high as possible or to be one of the best student. It is possible to have low grades but still being first. So if you can obtain them, include rankings in your application (of course only if it helps you^^).

3-TOPIK and english certification are not mandatory but I greatly advise to provide them. Be aware that each of them must be valid by the time of the application.
You may not speak korean at all, but you still can obtain the TOPIK 1 along with a minimum of work. Warning! If you provide a too high TOPIK level (5 & 6) you’ll be exempted from the language year. It may a goal or not (I personally really wanted to have the language year). Another thing you may want to know is that if you provide a high level TOPIK you may have to do the interview in korean!!
As for the english certification, just do it. It is a bit expensive but even if you don’t have a really good level, at least you can tell them that you know basic english. If you do not provide anything, they can assume that you may not speak english at all. I personally took the TOEIC test without writting examination and oral examination. So I did only the reading and oral comprehension and it was enough.

4-If you have any kind of awards you should provide them. No matter the field, even if it not directly related to the degree you are applying for.

5-You may have done different degrees like I did. Provide the diploma as well. In my case, it was obvious I would provide it as it is a degree of korean culture. But not matter the field, everything you can be proud of has to be in this application!

6- The choice of your universities is essential! Every year there are students that only apply to SKY universities (Seoul, Korea, Yonsei) or to KAIST, Sogang and Ehwa but their applications are refused. 

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You can see the most famous universities in Korea. Even if it is not easy, you need to assess your application in order to apply to a correct university. If your application is not strong enough and you apply to Seoul National University, you may be removed. If you apply through Uni Track you only have one chance so choose wisely. If you apply through Embassy Track, you have 3 chances. If you are not confident, my advice is too add to your list a less famous university or even better, a university that is not in Seoul.

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20 thoughts on “How to apply?

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  1. I want to apply next February, but not really sure about my English skills (I’ll take IELTS this December) and my GPA. In higher education in my country (Russia), most subjects are graded ‘Pass/No pass’ (‘Credit/No Credit’), and the rest are graded on the five-point scale. The ‘Pass/No Pass’ grades have no official numeric representation, and I don’t know how to calculate GPA with that. I guess, I should ask Korean universities and Korean embassy, but I’m not sure they will answer me.
    Maybe I didn’t see, but what was your TOPIK score when you applied?

    1. Apply! Of course you should! As for the grade the better would be to contact a previous russian scholar so that they will tell you how they did their application. I got 115 points out of 300 for the TOPIK II so I basically missed the Topik 3 by 5 points T_T

      1. This is so sad! But now I’m sure your Korean is much better 😀
        Thank you very much! ♥

  2. Hello any aelf thank you so much for your useful information i have a question concerning your gpa ,iam amoroccan who studied in “classe preparatoire” after that i integrated a school so my gpa is not good so what was your gpa?cause i am sure that they will not untherstand that grading system of classe prepas is so difficult and hard

    1. Hello! The “classe preparatoire” thing is very special T_T in my case i refused to studied there because of evident bad score. I stayed in university and managed to get gpa 4/4. The good thing is that you can and have to provide a document which explain your score. So you convert your score in GPA and then in this document you explain what is “classe préparatoire” and add if possible something official about it, for instance one of your teacher who can write something or your high school.

      1. Btw, which university did you apply to? I am wondering that if I use the website you provided for the foreign gpa calculation, will my intended korean university accept this and the explanation? Did you get someone from your masters school to confirm that it is a valid website and an accurate reflection of how your country actually grades? I am just wondering if Kookmin Nuniversity (where i intend to apply via uni track) will take what I provide to them as a valid submission i.e. I am wondering if they will recognize this website and its conversion. Thanks again!

      2. I applied to KAIST, Hanyang and Yonsei. From what I know it looks like this website’s results are accepted. My master university did not help at all XD The best is simply to ask Kookmin Uni if they would accept this website’s result.

  3. Thank you SO SO SO much for this post! It has helped me immensely. My biggest concern so far has been how I do not meet the GPA requirements b/c obtaining an 80% in my country is close to unheard of. This website you provided for gpa conversion really shows that I qualify when looking at how my country grades though. Thanks again and I hope you are doing very well in Korea.

  4. Hi anyaelf! I’ve been loving your blogs about KGSP. I’m very much interested in applying for the graduate program this February. I plan to start processing the little details of my application as early as now so that I would not rush anything when the deadline nears me. I just want to really clarify, the requirements said that the ORIGINAL copies of both the Diploma and Transcript is required right? and that once the application is sent, there’s no chance that it would be returned whether or not you pass the scholarship or not. So I’m kind of worried and a bit hesistant in mailing them the original copies of both my diploma and transcript because what if I did not pass the scholarship, then my documents are gone forever! I won’t have anything with me to use in the future plans that I may have should I need them when it arises. I just want to ask if it’s really okay and allowed for an official notarized photocopy of the Diploma and Transcript be submitted rather than the original itself. Thank you and I’ll look forward for your response. God bless and have a great time!!! 🙂

  5. Hi anyaelf! I’ve been loving your blogs about KGSP. I’m very much interested in applying for the graduate program this February. I plan to start processing the little details of my application as early as now so that I would not rush anything when the deadline nears me. I just want to really clarify, the requirements said that the ORIGINAL copies of both the Diploma and Transcript is required right? and that once the application is sent, there’s no chance that it would be returned whether or not you pass the scholarship or not. So I’m kind of worried and a bit hesistant in mailing them the original copies of both my diploma and transcript because what if I did not pass the scholarship, then my documents are gone forever! I won’t have anything with me to use in the future plans that I may have should I need them when it arises. I just want to ask if it’s really okay and allowed for an official notarized photocopy of the Diploma and Transcript be submitted rather than the original itself. Thank you and I’ll look forward for your response. God bless and have a great time!!!

      1. Thank you for the advise. Just want to ask, if you yourself sent a duly notarized copy? Did it affect your application in anyway? So sorry if I’m being too annoying, it’s just that I’m that worried. Thank you anyways. 🙂

      2. Actually it’s not a choice, you HAVE to send notarized copies of all official documents. If you don’t, your application will probably be refused.

  6. Hello! Thank you for this post! I have a quick question. You mentioned that the documents you send in need to be notarized copies. Do they also need to be apostilled?

    1. Hello, I am not sure about the difference between notarization/apostille… >//<
      The idea is you need to prove the document you are sending are officials one and not fake or copied that were modifier

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