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Do Korean Universities Accept A Levels?

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

Many American students are not sure if the Korean school system will acknowledge their A level. This is mainly because schools in Korea don’t use the same grading system as Western countries.

Have you ever wanted to study abroad at a Korean university? International students should always know what levels these universities accept before they apply.

International students’ academic achievements won’t go unnoticed when applying for university in Korea. While Kora uses a different grading system, they will still treat international student’s achievements the same way their current school system does. Students are also encouraged to send in any awards obtained and their test records with their application.

There are many great universities in Korea, especially for students who want the best training at vocational schools. Studying in Korea pushes students to be more competitive throughout the school year.

If you’re an international student who wants to study in Korea, you’ve come to the right page. Today, we’re going to cover how to get into a university in South Korea.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Study in Korea?

The necessary qualifications will depend on which school you are applying for. There are many vocational universities in Korea, and each one has different requirements.

However, in order to apply for university in Korea, international students must have a high school diploma. Korean schools will only be interested in viewing their achievements from grades 10 through 12.

All international students must have a strong understanding of English or Korean language. While they don’t have to be fluent in both languages, they must know one of the two if they want to study in Korea.

Applicants will be required to take a TOPIK (test of proficiency in Korean language) or a TOFEL (English proficiency). The language proficiency testing is a very important part of going to school in South Korea.

If a student is not strong in Korean language, that’s okay. There are many university courses taught in English. English is the first foreign language introduced in primary schools, and the majority of Koreans have many years of English language training by the time they reach university. International students who only know English will still be able to apply for schools in South Korea.

The Qualifications to Study in Korea Depend on The Type of School

When Korean schools are grading their students, it’s strictly based on academics. Western schools have more extracurricular activities that aren’t as common for Korean students.

Instead, Korean students have been introduced to vocational schools where they can focus on specific training. High school isn’t mandatory in Korea, which is why many students focus on a specific area.

Since Western high schools focus on general education, many students participate in extracurricular activities to earn scholarships and impress post secondary schools.

Many of these activities could help a student get admitted to a university in South Korea. That is why students should submit awards and certificates with their application form.

Universities Usually Require a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher

Korean and American schools are slightly different from each other. Many American students attend university right out of high school. However, in Korea students need to attend junior college first. Actually, the school system in Korea is like this:

  • 6 years primary school (required)
  • 3 years middle school (required)
  • 3 years high school
  • 2 years junior college
  • 4 years university
  • 4 years graduate school

What documents do students need to provide for admission to university in South Korea?

All international students who want to attend a university program in Korea will need to submit admission application forms. There are many documents they will be required to send with them for admission. To pursue an education abroad, students will need to send in:

  • Personal statement of why they want to attend the university and why they should be accepted
  • Proof of TOPIK or TOEFL
  • High school transcript
  • Reccomendation letters
  • Copy of passport and parents’ passports
  • Birth certificate
  • Optional documents (ei: awards, volunteer activities, high school portfolio, etc.)

Once a student is accepted, they will be able to apply for a student visa. A student visa is necessary in order to reside in a foreign country.

What Grades Do You Need to Get Into Korean University?

Korea is known for the competitive atmosphere at the schools. Many Korean students aim to be at the top of their class so they will be accepted to a good university.

This leads a lot of international students to believe that they won’t be accepted to university unless they nearly perfect grades. However, a GPA of 4 is always helpful.

It’s no secret that Korean universities will be taking a look at students’ academic results and achievements from grades 10 through 12, but their grades do not have to be perfect.

Good grades are important, but the universities don’t admit a student solely on grades. A letter of recognition from a teacher is very important to help a student get accepted into their university of choice.

Korean universities are looking to add more international students to their classes. They are offering foreign exchange programs and even Korean scholarships to make this possible.

Any student who wants to travel to another country for the academic year could benefit from applying for a Korean scholarship. These scholarships are helping many students pursue a higher education.

Can You Study in Korea for Free?

Schools in Korea do charge high costs for tuition. Unless the school is required by the Korean Government, there will be a tuition fee. Public schools have a lower tuition fee, but private schools usually have a very high tuition fee.

The programs for higher education are always more expensive. However, foreign students could earn their degree for free.

How do they do this? If you want to attend classes without having to pay high costs in South Korea, you will need to apply for scholarship programs.

As a way to introduce more foreign students into their classes, Korea has more scholarships available. Each scholarship program will cover the costs of tuition for every semester the student is in class.

It will also cover their travel fees, living costs, TOPIK or TOEFL fees, and medical insurance.

How Long Is Law School in Korea?

In Korea, law students can study a graduate law school program to become a licensed lawyer. This program takes 3 years to complete. However, students will have to pass the Korean Bar Examination to be able to study law at Korean universites.


The Korean government is trying to encourage more international students to apply at the Korean universities. It’s important that students who apply to these courses are serious and have high grades.

This is because Korean universities are more competitive than universities in North America. Studying in Korea does have its advantages, and can be done for free with a scholarship.

Students will have to submit a set of documents and complete a language course to get accepted to Seoul universities.

Once their application has been approved, they can apply for their student visa to make the journey possible. Students will also need to prepare to take a test for TOPIK or TOEFL several times for their university courses.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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