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Here’s How You Can Study at Seoul National University as an International Student

Ever wondered how to get into the prestigious alma mater of K-drama brainiacs?
Here’s How You Can Study at Seoul National University as an International Student
IMAGE (LEFT TO RIGHT) Extraordinary Attorney Woo/Netflix, Seoul National University
Ever wondered how to get into the prestigious alma mater of K-drama brainiacs?

If you’ve ever watched a K-drama with overachieving and brainy characters, chances are, they might have gone to Seoul National University (SNU).

The prestigious institution has been name-dropped in several Korean series, be it mystery drama Sky Castle or the latest Netflix legal hit Extraordinary Attorney Woo. Known as the top university in South Korea, SNU has been synonymous with academic success, even in the fictional scene.

But how exactly can you get into this high-ranking school? For international students who want to follow in the footsteps of their favorite leads, it could certainly be in the cards. Scroll down below for what you’ll need to be on the road towards that coveted SNU diploma.


READ: How to apply to study in Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea

How do you know if you’re eligible?

Foreigners (a.k.a. those who had their entire schooling outside of South Korea and aren’t a Korean citizen) fall under the International Admissions II category. 

For undergrad applications, only applicants from government-accredited high schools will be credited. Qualification exams for college entrance, home schooling, and cyber learning systems won’t be acknowledged for applications; however, for those who did cyber learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then you can be eligible if you submit an explanatory statement or documentary evidence.

If you’re lacking a semester in school because you transferred to a different education system or you skipped a grade and graduated early, don’t worryyou’re still eligible, but you’ll also have to submit documentary evidence.

If you’ve applied for more than six times for the next school year’s early admissions, then you won’t be able to apply any longer. Applicants who’ve already been accepted to any Korean university for the same school year will also be ineligible.

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Do you need to be fluent in Korean?

While it isn’t technically required, knowing the Korean language will be a great deal of help. Some classes offer instructions in English, but you’ll have to contact the corresponding department or college to make sure.

seoul national university

What are the requirements?

Checked off the list so far? Then you’ll need to prep these necessary documents in Korean or English.

  1. Application form - You can fill this up on SNU’s official website. Personal info like names, date of birth, and graduation date should be highlighted/marked with a colored pen before uploading. 

  2. Personal statement and study plan - This should be limited to about 1,500 Korean letters or 600 English words. It shouldn’t include detailed personal information (names, occupations, etc.) of the applicant, applicant’s parents, and relatives.

  3. Two recommendation letters -  Keep this under 600 English words, too. Only submissions sent through the online recommendation website will be accepted, as submission through mail, email, and fax will be invalid.

  • SNU recommends a recommendation from a counselor, but if you don’t have any, you can submit two letters from two different instructors, including regular teachers, principal, or vice principal.

  • Just like the personal statement and study plan, the letters shouldn’t include detailed personal info about the applicant and their family members.

  1. Proof of Language Proficiency - You will have to submit scans or screenshots of one or more of the following documents to prove your proficiency in Korean or English.

  • For Korean, TOPIK score reports for level three or higher, or level four or higher at language centers of Korean universities

  • For English, TOEFL iBT with a score of 80 or higher, IELTS academic band score of 6.0 or higher, or TEPS score of 269 or higher

  • Standardized test results with Korean or English-related subjects

  1. Official certificate of enrollment (elementary, junior and senior high school)

  2. Official transcript (elementary, junior and senior high school)

  • For students who haven’t graduated yet, the most updated transcript will do. 

  1. Official high school (expected) graduation certificate

  • If the school doesn’t issue this, you can submit either a certificate of enrollment, transcript, or an official document (confirmed by authority of school) with the applicant’s expected graduation date.

  • After the preliminary admissions decision, applicants will have to submit document numbers five to seven with an Apostille (usually issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs) or authentication issued by the Korean Embassy or Consulate.

  1. Applicant’s certificate of nationality - This can be a scanned copy of an unexpired passport. If you’re a dual citizen, you’ll also have to submit proof.

  2. Certificate of fact on entry and exit - The certificate shows the dates you have entered and exited South Korea, which you can get from a regional district office. Without it, the official documents from your elementary and high schools can work as a substitute.

  3. Power of attorney for issuance of the certificate of fact on entry and exit - You can download the template on SNU’s website.

  4. Standardized test scores (optional) - This includes SATs, British GCE A-Levels, and the like.

  5. School profile - This is a free-form document that’ll include info on your previous or current school, including curriculum, advanced courses, number of students, average grades, entrance rate, etc.

  6. Proof of language proficiency other than Korean or English - This one should have the principal’s formal seal or signature. Otherwise, you can submit an explanatory document.

  7. Supplementary material - You can upload up to 10 of these, such as proof of extra-curricular activities, awards, etc.

If you’re applying to the College of Fine Arts or the College of Music, you’ll have to submit a portfolio of your work and a pledge.  

seoul national university

What’s the criteria for admission?

Admission will be evaluated through the documents applicants submit. But for certain colleges and departments, there may also be interviews, exams, and/or performance tests that you’ll have to take.

Is there a quota for international students?

As of 2022, there isn’t a preset quota when it comes to students from different countries. 

How much is the application fee?

The application fee costs 70,000 Korean won or approximately P2,977.

How about the tuition?

It depends on the college and/or major. For the Fall 2022 tuition standard, colleges like Humanities, Social Sciences, Business Administration rank the least expensive with 2,442,000 Korean won (about P104,000). A four-year medical degree, however, will cost about 5,038,000 Korean won (about P214,400). For the full fees, you can always check out SNU’s site.

Do they offer any scholarships?

Yes! International students with a 2.4 GPA or higher are eligible for one.

Ready to manifest your SNU student dreams? For more info, head to the university’s website. Good luck!


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