KGSP Application ~ Required Documents

**UPDATE** This blog post is from 2014. While much of the advice may still be valid, NIIED has changed some of the guidelines and requirements. For 2017 updates see this new blog post. And always be sure to read each year’s new guidelines thoroughly before preparing your application.

Okay, so in the 2014 facebook group for KGSP, a lot of people have asked about the required documents for the application.

(I say “a lot,” but it is probably less than 10. It just seems like more when they all ask the same question.)

First of all, you can find past and current year application information at the Study In Korea website. They publish the new graduate info at the beginning of February each year (and undergraduate at the beginning of September – be careful not to confuse the two). If they haven’t released the information for the year in which you plan to apply, then you can look back at previous years. The basic process has not changed all that much.

In the graduate program guidelines you will find a handy checklist of all of the documents that you will need to submit, so I really could just stop here, but I will try to add a few pointers regarding each one.


1. Personal Data (Attachment #1)
You will find this in the same file, right after the checklist. There is one set of forms for University applicants, and one set for Embassy applicants. The majority is the same, but some parts are different (for example the Embassy application has space to write your three chosen universities, but the University application does not).

Most of it is self explanatory, but…

  • English Proficiency/Korean Proficiency – If you have IELTS/TOEFL or TOPIK scores you can write them here. For me, under English proficiency I wrote “Native Speaker” just to make it obvious. NIIED says that these are optional, but if you are not a native speaker of either English or Korean, I would include at least one of them if you can. It’s important to show them and the universities that you will be able to study in either English or Korean.
  • Published papers – If you are applying for a PhD then you likely have some papers published from your Master’s Degree. I recommend including one or two of your best. More is not necessarily better, they only have time to read so much. If you are applying for a Master’s degree, then you may not have any published papers, and that’s okay. Don’t stress about it. But if you have published then go ahead and list them.
  • Awards – If you received academic awards, public service awards, etc then list them here. I recommend choosing recent awards (don’t go back to high school). Ultimately the choice is yours as to what you want to present to the selection committees.
  • University choice(s) – The application asks for University/Faculty/Department/Major, but the university information lists University/Division/Department/Field of Study. These are the same things, so you can write it as you see it in the university information. (For example “Ajou University/College of Engineering/Molecular Science and Technology/Medical Science”)
  • Grades/GPA – If your university grades on a 4.0/4.3/4.5/5.0 scale, then you are good to go. Input your term averages as listed in your transcript, then look at the table provided in the application materials to convert to a percentage. If your university uses a different scale (like 20), you will probably want to have your grades officially converted to one of the scales above. The problem is mostly that you also have to convert to a percentage (out of 100) and this is not always easy with different grading systems. (Simple division may lead to a much lower percentage than you actually deserve.) If your university will do the conversion, that is easiest and best. If not, you will probably need to submit your transcript to a grade conversion service.
  • Previous visits to Korea – Write down the dates of previous visits and why you were there. If you have ever come to Korea on a student visa (specifically D-2), you are theoretically ineligible for a scholarship (unless that rule changes). There are two exceptions. If you studied in Korea as a mandatory part of your degree program, and can get a letter from your university indicating that, then you will be eligible. Also, if you are a current or past KGSP scholar (undergrad or Master’s) and have at least TOPIK 4 you may apply again for a higher degree.

2. Self Introduction (Attachment #2)
This is pretty self explanatory. You’ll want to give them an idea of who you are and what makes you tick. Illustrate the things that lead you to your field of study, relevant academic, work or volunteer experience, and what is bringing you to Korea. The space is limited (only one page), so try to stay away from things they can find easily in other parts of your application. For example, stay away from listing every related course you took in university – they can find those in your transcript. Talk instead about particular aspects that really interest and inspire you. Leave your specific study plan and future plans for the next attachment below. Also, if you got into Korea because of dramas and k-pop, you can mention that (as something you know about Korea), but try to find something else you admire about the country, something with more substance. And if you have traveled or lived abroad, you might want to discuss what these experiences meant to you. And finally, if there are any question marks in your background (a particularly bad semester, and unfinished class, etc) that might need explaining, then you should explain them here. Short and sweet, don’t dwell and give them more importance than they deserve.

3. Study Plan (Attachment #3)
There are actually two sections here, with a half page for each. They are “Goal of Study & Study Plan” and “Future Plan After Study.” Be as detailed as you need to be about your study and future plans. You want to show knowledge of issues in your field, and how they can be applied to the real world.

4. Letter of Recommendation (Attachment #4)
You only need to submit one of these with your application. It should be an academic reference, not a work reference… Even if you graduated ten years ago (like me). Some people recommend getting high status people (like the school president or department head) to write your recommendation, but personally I would recommend having someone who knows you well (like an advisor or someone you took multiple courses with). Sometimes you can get the best of both worlds, an advisor to write it and the president to sign it. But, unless you went to a very small school where the president knows everyone, or you are the most standout student ever then don’t just have the president (or more likely some random person in an administrative office) write it. They’ll just create a nice form letter with generalities gleaned from your transcript. It should go without saying that you should choose someone you got along well with, and who can say good things about you.

Your recommendation should be in a sealed envelope with your professors signature or stamp over the seal. Do not open the recommendation to make copies. You can either ask your professor to give you four sealed copies of the recommendation (one for each set of documents you need to send), or you can ask your first selection institution (university or embassy) to copy it for you. (I put a post-it on the outside just to remind them.) This also means that you will not be able to have your professor email you their letter of recommendation. If you are not currently at your university, you should allow enough time for your professor to send you the recommendation, and then for you to send the application. Make sure your professor knows that the recommendation should be printed out and sealed, and that they know when you plan to send your application.

5. Pledge (Attachment #5)
Read and sign.

6. Personal Medical Assessment (Attachment #6)
You do not need to go to a doctor because this is a self-reported medical assessment. But, be honest because there will be actual medical exams later on. Primarily, they are looking that you are not involved in illegal activity (drugs), that you are physically able to complete a degree (which does not discount physical disabilities as long as they don’t severely inhibit your studies), and that you will not bring infectious diseases into Korea (or if you do that they are recorded and controlled). Korea has had travel bans for persons with HIV/AIDS, which apparently have been eased for some, but I am not sure of the current policies regarding students. For your sake (regardless of the scholarship) I hope this is not an issue for you.

And this is the end of the forms (attachments) included in the application packet. As this has gotten quite long, I will continue with the other documents you should gather at a later time.

88 thoughts on “KGSP Application ~ Required Documents”

  1. Hi! I’m Hana from Malaysia. I’m in the middle of completing the form for applying the KGSP 2015. I’m just wondering about the research proposal in attachment 3. May I know how did you complete that part? I mean, didi you approach your sv first and propose your reasearch topic and have an agreement on that before writing the proposal

    Or you just write the research proposal first by yourself?

    Hopefully you will reply very soon. Thank you in advance!

    1. If you are asking this question then you don’t need to fill out the form. The research proposal is only for people applying for the research scholarship, not for people planning to do a regular Master’s or PhD. Please read the guidelines carefully, especially the checklist of required forms on page 10.

  2. Hi. Is there any interview you have gone through after submitting the application? Can you tell a bit about the interview and what question did they asked? Thanks.. ^^

    1. Interviews depend entirely on your embassy and which university(s) you apply to. I personally was never interviewed, but I think even within my own country (USA) there were others who were. In my case it may have had something to do with the fact that I was in Japan at the time. Many embassies do conduct interviews though. From observing others it seems like people who apply directly to the university (instead of the embassy) are more likely to be interviewed by the university because the selection is earlier and there are fewer applicants, whereas the embassy candidates’ applications are considered together with all of the regular applicants and it’s harder to do interviews with all of the overseas applicants. NIIED never does interviews.

      As for the content, often the interviewer will be a professor in your field (for university applicants) and they’ll ask about your interests and background. Often you’ll also be asked about Korea and how you think you’ll adjust to life here. Embassy interviews are probably similar, but the interviewer will have less (no?) knowledge about your field. From what I’ve heard the university interviews tend not to be that long (15 minutes give or take). The embassy interviews will frequently be held at the embassy and may be slightly longer.

      1. Thank you for the information. Your blog has been really helpful in assisting me completing my application form. Currently, I choose SNU, Yonsei U and Hanyang U for my doctorate degree. Will submit the application before 14 Mac 2016. Wish me luck! ^^ Nice to meet you by the way. I am so glad i found your blog.

      2. For a PhD there may be a slightly bigger chance of being interviewed by the three universities. I think there are generally fewer applicants and they obviously expect more. I’d be prepared to answer more specific questions about your research interests and past projects.

  3. Hi. For your study plan, do you include any gantt chart or timeline in your description? To describe your future plan, did you mention any specific organization that you want to work with or you write it in general term?

  4. Hello! I just want to ask if applicants should produce 3 photocopies of these forms, as well? For example, 1 printed letter of self-introduction and then 3 photocopies of it. I’m still a bit confused regarding the submission of requirements. Thank you in advance! This blog is really a big help.

    1. Yep. You should make one set of original documents and make three copies of each document and send the one original set with the three sets of copies. (Except for the letter of recommendation, which should be in a sealed envelope that you don’t open and can’t copy).

  5. Hello! Thank you very much for your post. It’s very informative. I just have a few questions. Hope you can answer them. Thanks in advance for your time:
    1. For submission of awards, if the awards are in the form of trophies and medals, can I submit pictures instead? If yes, do I need to have the said pictures notarized?
    2. Is there a format for submission of published papers? And does this only include research papers? I write some feature articles that were published in a book. Do I include them?
    3. For submission of dissertations with more than 100 pages, do I need to submit the hard copy of the full document (including appendices), or will a DVD with the soft copy of the dissertation suffice?
    Again, thank you very much! Your answers will be a big help to me 🙂

    1. Hello, thank you for reading.

      1. For awards, they are extra so I wouldn’t worry too much about notarization. Photos are probably sufficient.
      2. For papers, I guess I would submit copies including full citations of where they were published. I would only submit things that are relevant to your degree though. (If you want to mention others things that maybe aren’t directly related then do, but only include copies of things related to your field.) And remember most schools aren’t going to read everything you send them, so choose a few representative samples you are most proud of.
      3. Try asking to the university (or universities) you are applying too. Even if you are applying for the scholarship through the embassy, it is the universities that will be most interested in your dissertation. And they are slightly more likely to reply to you. My guess is hard copy… But obviously a soft copy would be easier, so find out from them if you can.

  6. Hello. I’m Mery from Indonesia. I want to ask about the recommendation letter. There’s a table inside recommendation form and the recommender has to give rates for applicant. But I’m still confused how to fill in those table. Can it be filled with a checkmark on each columns or should be filled by other ways?
    Thank you very much.

  7. Hi, I’m Shana from Malaysia. I’d like to ask about filling in the name section. Since we Malays don’t have surname, how do we fill the name section that has been separated with surname, middle name and given name?

    1. As a general rule I would write it as written in your passport. I’m not sure whether you should put it all in the surname or just given name section. The best thing to do would probably be to call the embassy because they have a lot of experience with this.

  8. Hi,
    I’m a sophomore in the Asian Studies interdisciplinary program at Georgia State. I want to go to Sungkyunkwan after graduating for an Interdisciplinary Master’s degree in Comparative Culture. I wanted to know if I study abroad at Yonsei University’s International Summer School this summer can I still apply for the KGSP? Also, do you know anything about employment visas after graduating from a Korean university? Thank you so much! You’re blogs have been so hopeful!

    1. The study abroad issue probably depends on what kind of visa you come with and its relation to your home study. First, for a summer program, you may be able to come with just the visa waiver program that allows you to stay for 90 days. If you don’t need a student visa then you will be able to apply for KGSP (I think. Please double check everything as things with the program change constantly.) Yonsei will know if you need a student visa (and regardless of the duration, you may need a student visa for a credit granting program.)

      Also, if it’s an official exchange through your school you may be able to get an exception to the no previous study in Korea rule. If your home school will say it was part of the program or required for graduation.

      Family is calling so I’ll talk about visas later. 😉

    2. Sorry for the late reply. I was traveling home for the holidays.

      About employment visas, in general if you have a job you can get an employment visa. Speaking Korean, which KGSP and a Korean university will help with, will help you get a job, but to be perfectly honest studying Comparative Culture may not open many doors in Korea. Have a good idea of what you’d like to do and look around for what might be available now before committing to a degree program. If you’d just like stay in Korea to work for a couple years then English teaching is a popular option and something you’d probably be able to find fairly easily.

    1. Read the application information carefully. If it says that the application should be typed then you should type it. If it says something about “blue or black ink” that would imply you can hand write it. BUT, it is always safest to type. Remember it will be mostly non-native speakers of English who are reading your application and handwriting can be difficult to read even for native speakers. If you do need to hand write it make sure to print neatly.

  9. please kindly brief me on how to submit the application forms. I am using the university track. Do I submit via email or post them

    1. You need to send everything by post. They won’t be accepted by email. This means you should make sure to leave enough time for your application to arrive before the deadline. It is also a good idea to pay extra to track your package, so that you can know it arrived safely. Also, remember that you need to send an original application and three copies (of all documents).

  10. Hello!
    I’m very nervous because of this program so could you please answer some of my questions?
    I have a degree in English Linguistics. I am applying for the Master’s and I want to choose Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Kukmin University and Ewha Woman’s University. Major- Teaching Korean as Foreign Language. I am really worried about my choice of universities and major. I looked up the information about these universities and I seem to meet all their requirements, but I heard that it is a popular major and it is very competitive, so it may be though to make it (( So could you please tell me your opinion and suggestions on this? (I have a GPA of about 3.7/4.0, TOPIK 4th level, TOEFL ibt 89)

    1. A fellow linguistics major! Welcome.

      There’s really not much you can do about your major if that is what you want to study, so you have to hope for the best. From my calculations there were about 35 people on KGSP majoring in Korean Language Education in 2015-16. This is only people who specifically listed this as their major, so it doesn’t include people in Korean Language and Literature who may be doing coursework in teaching as well.

      They were at:
      Busan U. (2), SNU (15), HUFS (4), Kangwon National U., Kyunghee U., Paichai U., Cheonnam National U., Korea U., Ewha Women’s U (4), Kongju U., Keimyung U. (3), and Yonsei U.

      The fact that you have already studied some Korean will work in your favor, but that is also probably going to be the case for your competition as well. You also have a background in Linguistics, which will help. The schools you have chosen are quite good, but you probably have a good spread (not all very top tier). The fact that Kookmin does not have anyone from KGSP studying there now, is not necessarily a bad thing, but you might also want to take a look at schools that other people have been accepted to. (Just a note, all three people at Keimyung are from Tajikistan, so there may be some personal relationship between professors.)

      1. Thanks a lot for your reply! It really encoureged me and I guess I need to reconsider my choice of universities. Luckily I’m Armenian and even though there can be jut 2 grantees from here, there are not more than 4-5 applicants in total so I’m more worried about those applying from the other countries haha)) I studied Korean as my 2nd foreign language but not sure if that will help 😀 2 years ago my friend passed and now she’s in the HUFS with the major of Korean Linguistics. She only had Topik 2nd level and a GPA of about 3.8 I think? So she says the most important thing is a good self introduction, study plan and recommendation letter that’s why I’m so worried T-T
        Can I ask you one more thing please? It will really help!!
        This year they request 2 letters of recommendation and my first question is can one of them be written by my English lecturer and the second one by the dean? And what worries me the most is the form of the letter ((
        Should they just fill the form shortly answering the questions that are mentioned in the form or should they write a longer letter just based on the questions in it?

      2. When choosing recommenders the most important thing is that they know you well and will say good things about you. Unless they specify that letters should be written by certain people then who you choose is up to you, so there should be no problem with those choices.

        Some things to think about though… Does the dean know you well? There can be a tendency to want to choose highly ranked people in the university, but if they don’t know you personally and would only be looking at your academic record (“She had a GPA of x. She was in a, b, and c clubs. She got y award.”) then the recommendation really doesn’t add any new information to your application. On the other hand, if the dean can tell more personal stories about you (about your personality, your work habits, specific examples of things you’ve done that demonstrate this) then that’s an excellent choice.

        I’m assuming the English lecturer is someone in your major? By “lecturer” do you mean they are not a full professor? You want to choose at least one full professor (maybe the dean if you go that route.) Professors from your department are best because they know you best (presumably) and it would be weird if you didn’t ask someone from the department where you’ve spent the most time. If you have an academic advisor they would be an obvious choice, but any prof you’ve had for one or more classes is good.

        But, because you are applying for Korean Language Ed. and you have studied Korean, I might consider asking one of your Korean teachers. They can speak to your passion and your ability to learn Korean. If you have studied Korean through your uni then a Korean prof would be a good choice.

        So to sum up…
        • You want the highest ranked person who still knows you well.
        • You want at least one person from your current major.
        • If possible you want someone who can speak about your ability to complete your intended major in Korea.

        And just to make it more confusing… If you are a student now, it is natural to only choose people from your uni. But, I had been out for several years, so I chose one professor and my boss at work. If you have work experience, especially if it’s related to teaching, then that is another option.

        As for form, filling out the form provided should be fine, but if professors have already written recommendations for you in letter form, or they would prefer to write a letter that is also ok (as long as it doesn’t say not to). They should be sure to include the form and fill out necessary info there (like “evaluate work habits on a scale from 1 to 5”) even if they also include a letter, and also to answer all questions included on the form.

  11. Thank you sooooooo much!!
    Yeah I tried asking our Korean professor but he said he couldn’t write it so I better ask another professor (don’t really understand why ), but in any case the dean has known me for years and she’s also my academic advisor now so guess it will be fine ^^ now choosing the last university is left haha
    Thanks for your time really you are just amazing!

  12. Hi! I heard that the degree that you will choose does not have to be the same as your undergraduate major. How true is that? I understand that getting a masters degree means desiring to get a deeper understanding of a field you are already familiar with. My major is BA Linguistics. However, I really want to take up International Studies.

    1. It depends on what you are studying and where. It is not NIIED, but the universities and specific departments, who makes that decision. In many many cases you do need to have studied the same thing or something very similar in your undergraduate.

      But most of the Graduate Schools of International Studies (GSIS) do not require a related undergraduate major. I majored in linguistics as well, and I’m about to graduate from Yonsei GSIS with a Master of Global Affairs and Policy.

      Just tell them why you are switching. Good luck!

  13. Hi, I have a few questions. Thanks so much for your time.

    1. Do you know any gyopos in the program?
    2. If there is not enough space on some of the forms (e.g. on the recommendation forms or the study plan form, or on the “Professional and Research Experience” section of Form 1), are we allowed to add more space, even if it goes over onto another page?
    3. Do letters of recommendation have to be in official envelopes from the university? Also, does it matter that one of my recommenders is from a different university than I graduated from?
    4. If my GPA is out of 4.33, is that close enough to 4.3 or do I have to get it converted? Also, are you aware of any good official conversion services, because my school was weird so I’m thinking about getting it converted to 4.0 anyway.
    5. So for awards, we don’t need notarization? Also, I don’t have any physical certificate or trophy for some awards; can I still mention them? And can the notarization for documents be done by any notary public in any country?

    Thanks again.

    1. Also, how detailed does the study plan have to be? Can it just be a vague outline? And should it be two entire pages, or would one be sufficient? Should the personal statement be one whole page?

      1. It depends on what you are applying for. If you have a Masters and are applying for a PhD then there may be an expectation that you have a very detailed plan for your potential research project. If you are applying for a Masters then it probably doesn’t need to be as long, though of course if you do have a detailed plan then you can write longer. You do want to be a little careful though. If you are very detailed, but your interests don’t align with those of the professors at the university you choose then it potentially hurts your chances. If you’ve chosen your universities wisely then this shouldn’t be a problem.

        In my case, I applied for a program that was course based instead of research based and that didn’t require previous study in the field. My study plan was only about half a page long and that was fine, but the more background you have in the field the longer you’ll want to make your study plan.

      2. Thanks for the reply, it was quite helpful :).
        Do you have any thoughts on the questions in my first post?

    2. Hmm, I distinctly remember typing a response to this question, but it seems to have been lost in the interwebs…

      1. There are a variety of Koreans in the program. I know people who are adoptees, people who are half, and at least one gyopo (I think). As long as you fit the requirements of citizenship it shouldn’t work against you. Do make sure to read those rules carefully and send sufficient documents to prove that you fit the requirements.
      2. In general, I would stick to the space given. For the personal statement and study plan they have given very explicit instructions, so you should definitely follow those. In the professional/research experience section, you could probably add a couple more lines if it is really necessary, but keep it relatively recent and related. You don’t really need to include every summer job you’ve had since you were 16. If there really are too many things to fit in easily you can also get creative and mention them in other places like the personal statement.
      3. If your university has them then it is safer to use them. If it is absolutely impossible then obviously you should use what you have, but all recommendations should be submitted in sealed envelopes with a signature or official school stamp across the seal. And, no, it doesn’t matter where your recommenders are from. As long as the person knows you well and can describe how they know you it should be okay. In my case, I included one recommendation from my university adviser and one recommendation from my employer (because I had been out of university for a considerable time when I applied).
      4. You should be able to use the 4.3 scale. Mine was out of 4.00 (also rounded to two decimals) and it wasn’t a problem. Most Korean universities (that I know of) use a 4.3 scale, so it shouldn’t be necessary to convert to 4.0. And as I didn’t convert I don’t know much about services that do it.
      5. Rule of thumb, notarization is always better than no notarization. Some things, like diplomas, will require notarization or an apostille if your country does that. If you want to be 110% sure that they will consider your awards then notarization is best. But, because awards are not a required part of the application (no one gets automatically disqualified for not providing them) I did not bother with notifying them. Also, like you, most of my awards did not come with official certificates (or at least not ones I still had after 10 years and moving half way across the world). I did have programs from the awards ceremonies which I copied and sent. Obviously, you can mention anything you like, but the admissions committees will also be free to ignore anything you don’t back up with documentation. (But like a court case where lawyers make statements and objections just to get it into the mind of the jury, it is likely they won’t ignore them completely.)
      The notarization can be from any country that will do the notarization. In many cases, reputable notaries will not notarize certain documents that were not produced in that country. Apostilles, I believe, must be done in the country that produced the document. In a place like the U.S. it must be done in the specific state where the university or whatever is. But, if you can get the notarization it shouldn’t matter in Korea where it was from.

      1. Thanks so much for the detailed response. Just to clarify a few things:

        2. The Statement of Purpose form (Form 3) is a single page, but the instructions say that it should be no longer than two pages, so I assumed that this meant that they were expecting some applicants to add more space so that the Statement of Purpose could be up to two pages. Is this correct? Also, for the letters of recommendation, if the recommenders need more space, would they not be allowed to add in a few more lines of space?
        3. When they say that the official envelopes need to have be signed across the back flap, do they mean that the professor should sign across the back flap, or some school official?
        5. So for notarization, as long as I can get a notary to notarize them, it’s fine? It does not need to be notarized by someone from the institution that gave me award? (Also, for the four copies, can we just have a single copy notarized and copy that one three more times, or do we need all four copies notarized?)

        Finally, when you say your study plan was half a page long, are you referring to just your study plan, or the Statement of Purpose (Study plan + future plan)? How long was the Statement of Purpose for others you know? I just feel like it will be very difficult for me to fill out two pages, which is the maximum limit they give (even though they only provide one page as I mentioned above). Also, the maximum limit for the Personal Statement is 1 page, but would you mind disclosing how long your’s, or those of other’s you know, was?

        Sorry for asking so many questions and being so pedantic. I’m just worried that my application will get rejected for some silly bureaucratic reason.

      2. 2. Yes, sorry, as I said I wrote the answer once before so I missed some pieces I had included the first time.. Obviously you should follow the written guidelines and add more space up to the limits described in words, not necessarily the boxes given. As far as recommendations go, it can be hard to rein in professors and I’m sure many go over or just dispense with the form altogether and write a letter of their own. Unless it says in the instructions specifically not to add pages, I wouldn’t worry too much about what your professors do.
        3. It should be fine for the professors to sign.
        5. As long as it is notarized the people in Korea won’t care, and probably won’t have any way of evaluating where it was notarized. But again, there will be rules within your country about who can notarize what. In my case my university had to notarize the copy of my diploma (which was official) and then I had to apostille it in the same state. Some private notaries may be able to look at your original diploma (passport, birth certificate, etc) and a photo copy and notarize the fact that it is a true copy. Talk to your university or a notary to find out what they can and cannot do.

        And for study plans and personal statements…

        My study plan and future plan were each less than half a page and fit nicely into the boxes as is. I would just say to write as much as you need to (without going over). If it is a major for which you are required to have previous knowledge, then you want to show you are knowledgeable in the field and then show where your specific interests lie. If you do not need or have extensive knowledge in the field, tell why you became interested in it and what particular things interest you. The more in depth your study and the higher the level, the more detailed your plan should be.
        My personal statement filled up the entire one page (and may have been in a smaller font than they now require because they didn’t specify font size at that time). I would say that most of the people who ask about limits on the personal statement do it because theirs is too long, rather than too short. But again, just write as much as you need to to say what you want. The ability to be concise is a valuable one, so short is not necessarily a problem, but it is a place to appeal to the readers about your abilities, your experience, explain any blemishes and highlight all of your accomplishments, so don’t waste the chance to sell yourself.

      3. Thanks again. I’m actually currently in Korea so I asked about notarization because I was planning to get some of my awards (from other countries) photocopies notarized by a notary in Korea. I wasn’t sure if that would be acceptable.

        One last question, or set of questions (this really is the last one): The application form asks for both cumulative and semester GPAs. My transcript does not have semester GPAs on it, just my grades and my cumulative GPA. Should I calculate the semester GPAs myself? Will this be a problem if I fill them in but they’re not on my transcript? Or should I leave those spaces blank? And if I do a conversion, I should fill in that section with the converted GPAs, not the original ones, right?

        Thanks so much for your time.

      4. My transcript didn’t include semester GPA either, so yes, I did just calculate those myself. Follow the system of your school, and it should be fine. Also be consistent, if you are going to convert your cumulative then convert the semester ones as well. You will need to turn in your original transcript with an official conversion. (Honestly, if your grading system is on any of the systems accepted like 4.0 or 4.3(3), then I wouldn’t bother converting. It can be troublesome, expensive and not really worth the effort.)

        As for the notarization, there may be limits to what a Korean notary can do. It is worth going ASAP to ask what they will be able to do. They may not be authorized to notarize documents from another country.

      5. The thing about GPA is, my school had a weird system where A+ is 4.33, A is 4.00 etc., so technically my GPA is out of 4.33, but many (in fact, I think most) classes didn’t offer the A+ grade, only the A grade, so for those classes 4.00 would be the highest possible grade. So even if I did everything completely perfectly in college, it would have been mathematically impossible to get anywhere near 4.33. So my GPA of 3.91/4.33 (which places me in the 92nd percentile and is equivalent to about 3.65/4.00 according to the conversion table) seems very unfair to me, as compared to the 3.84/4.00 (97th percentile) that I would receive if I converted my grades to a 4.00 system where I say that A+s are worth 4.00 and everything else stays the same (which is how most schools in the US seem to do it). This paragraph wasn’t really a question; I just needed to vent my frustration about this.

        As for notarization, doesn’t notarization just involve the notary photocopying a document that I bring them (or inspecting both an original and photocopy that I bring), and stamping and signing the photocopy, saying that it is a true copy of the original? As in, I could bring a drawing that my 8 year old nephew drew while on vacation in the Bahamas and have the notary photocopy it and swear that the photocopy is a true copy of the original? Since the NIIED accepts originals without any authentication, I assumed that the point of notarizing the photocopies is to prove that they are the same as the original documents. In any case, thank you so much for your advice; I’ll make sure to check whether notaries in Korea can do this service for me.

        Thank you again.

      6. I agree, totally unfair, but remember that you can’t just convert things yourself. If you are going to write anything that isn’t in your transcript, you will need to justify it somehow with something official from the school or with a conversion service. It is probably easier to have your recommending professors explain this (or to put it in your personal statement) and to emphasize other measures like class ranking and awards. That’s just what I would do.

        As for the notarizations, I believe in many cases that would be the case. BUT again it depends on the what you are copying and the rules of the notary. For example, you could bring in a copy of a picture your nephew drew (or a very nice fake from China) and claim it was your diploma and try to have the notary say it was a true copy, but that wouldn’t make the original any more real. With some things like a passport it might be possible, but with other things like a diploma, they might have rules that don’t allow them to do it. I’m not saying whether they will or won’t do it, but leave yourself enough time for a backup plan if they won’t.

      7. Since they accept original documents without any notarization, I could send in this “original” fake from China and say it’s my diploma, so even sending in an “original” document does not it any more true that it’s my diploma so I assumed that since they don’t require any authentication on the original, the only purpose of the notarization is to say that this is a copy of the original… I’m not sure if you get what I’m trying to say; I don’t think I’m explaining my thought process very well haha.

        Anyway, thanks for your time! It was really helpful!

  14. I’m planning to apply for KGSP this year. I have one question. Are winter and summer vacations covered by the scholarship? Do they pay monthly stipend during whole year like 12 months?

    1. It is covered for the whole year, but there are some exceptions. During the language year they don’t pay for time you spend outside Korea (during vacations). During your graduate studies, you will usually have about two months break between semesters (though in some universities and majors you may have to do work during those times). If you leave Korea for 30 days or less during one vacation, you will get your full living stipend. If you leave for more than 30 days then they will take away money for each day over 30 (30,000 won per day). So if you’re gone for 40 days then you will get 900,000 for the first month. And 900,000-(10×30,000)=600,000 for the next month.

      1. Thanks for very detailed information and quick reply. I didn’t find this information from anywhere. I really appreciate. 🙂

  15. Hi~ it’s me again haha
    There’s something that bothers me to be honest🤔
    Ahm…when they look through my grades do they look at the final result for all the years (like if it’s 3,69/4.0 that is equal to 93/100 ) or do they have a look at each subject separately? Cause our third year was really hard for our whole group and most of us got C for 3 or 4 subjects (and it was because those professors were reluctant to put a higher mark no matter what we did an who much we complained). Can having this many C grades become a problem even if my final GPA score is not so low?
    There’s also a girl applying form my group, so is it more likely that instead of me they will accept someone who has a GPA of 3.76 (95) (a bit higher than mine but also with the same C grade problem as me) but who doesn’t have a TOPIK or TOEFL score?
    (Sorry for stupid questions I’m just so worried that even 2 points seem terrifying 😂)

    1. You have to write an average for each term in the application, so they will naturally be able to compare across years. That’s good and bad. It makes that one bad year or bad semester stand out, but it also shows that there was one particular time that was difficult, but the rest of the time you did quite well. If there are things like this that you think will look bad then use your personal statement to explain them. (I don’t recommend mentioning the complaining, but talk about what you learned from the experience and how you worked to overcome it.) Also, if you have a sympathetic professor to write a recommendation for you that includes some explanation of this period that could help to. 2 points difference can be overcome if you present yourself better.

  16. Hi thanks for writing such a detailed and helpful blog!

    I intend to apply for an MBA which is course based instead of research based. Writing about the goal of study is manageable but a detailed study plan is a little difficult without the research element. Do you have any advice for the study plan for course based fields?

    Thank you for your time!

    1. It’s a little more difficult to write a detailed study plan for a course based program, particularly if you are applying for more than one school with the same application (as with the embassy track). If you are applying through the embassy, you want to be vague enough that everything applies to all three schools. If you are applying through a university you can be more specific (about particular courses or professors you are interested in and why). But even through the embassy, talk about which aspects of the MBA interest you the most. Are you interested in finance? Or management? Or accounting? (Sorry, I don’t actually know anything about MBAs…) Why? Do you have some experience in that field? How does it tie to your future? Look carefully at each MBA program you are applying to. See which courses are required and where you have some room to choose your own courses. What kinds of courses do you want to take the most? Also, what kinds of activities might you do outside of school to supplement your education? Try pulling a little from your personal statement (particularly if it is too long) and give some background about why you are interested in particular things. And go a little into your future plan by saying why you think something will be important for your future (but leave specifics for the actual future plan.)

      And don’t worry too much about length. If you can fill half a page, that’s probably okay. And if you can fill more that’s great. But you probably won’t need anywhere near a full page.

  17. Hi, you had said in the article that “If your university will do the conversion, that is easiest and best. If not, you will probably need to submit your transcript to a grade conversion service.” Kindly advice if there is any online conversion service i might use as my university won’t even try to help. My cumulative GPA is 3.8/5 which is 85 percent using the conversion table given. How ever like you say if i do simple math, i just get stuck at 71%. Thanks for the article by the way, it is very helpful

    1. If your GPA is on a scale convertible using the scales given by NIIED then you don’t need a professional conversion. As for the math… Honestly I don’t know how it works… Simple division doesn’t work for any of the scales. And it usually works in your favor with a higher percentage, so I don’t complain. Good luck with your application!

      (Unfortunately, I don’t have any firsthand experience with conversion services, if you do still want to use one.)

      1. Thanks, One last question hope its not too much, I am writing the TOEFL test on the 4th of March, which means that my results wont come out in time for the deadline which is on the 10th. Do you think its safe to mention this and let the committee know that i can avail them if needed or should I just omit the information. Personally i am conflicted whether this would be seen positively as effort made or an underhanded tactic to gain an unfair advantage?

      2. You can mention it, but I doubt it will make much of a difference. If the universities you are applying to (assuming you are applying through an embassy first) require English proficiency (all classes are in English or it is listed among their requirements) then mentioning it might be a good idea because they will expect you to have it. But if the universities don’t mention anything about it then most schools (and embassies and NIIED) will evaluate only what you’ve sent them.

      3. Thank you so much for your kind assistance, helped a lot. Just submitted last Friday

  18. Hi. I’m about to submit my forms to the university email but I’m confused about the recommendation letters and transcript.

    It was clearly stated that the recommendation letters must not be opened. How then do I send them to the email since it’s among the required forms

    Also my school usually seals transcripts. How do I also send my transcript. Do I have to open it and scan then send?

    I humbly await your urgent response

    1. Are you able to send your application by email? We had to send ours by regular post, so I don’t have an answer for that. Don’t open the recommendation unless you are absolutely sure you are allowed to send the application by email. If you should send it by email and post as well then you could get an extra copy of your transcript and recommendations and open one and send the other.

  19. Hi! i’m applying for a PHD and i’m interested in a topic , can i propose it on the research proposal even if i’m not applying for a research program? do that might increase the chance to be admitted ?

    1. That is what the study plan is for. Obviously, there is not enough room for a whole research proposal, but you can show your research interests. It’s better to show you can follow directions than to send extra things you think might give you an advantage. A) They probably won’t consider them and B) there is a chance not following directions can work against you.

    1. I used an employer for my second recommendation, but 3 years ago NIIED only required one rec and the uni required one extra.

      The way NIIED words it now they want people who can comment on your academic abilities. If you are a student now, or not long out of university, then it might be safest to ask two professors. If you have been employed for a long period then an employer might be an ideal recommender, but make sure they are comfortable writing about your academic abilities and that they understand NIIED’s expectations. In the FAQ they do say it is “highly advised that applicants ask their professors and academic advisors for the letters,” so unless it has been several years since you attended university I would follow their advice.

  20. Hello!! Thank you very much for this helpful article!
    So I have a problem with the recommendation letters! My professors did not provide me with 3 other copies of the letters, and I am not sure what to do! I am planning to send the application via the embassy, and I read in your article that I can write a note or something asking the embassy to make copies of the letters. Is that possible? The professors also handed me the recommendation letters in sealed envelopes but those envelopes are not official; however, they are stamped and signed. The transcripts also are not sealed. The university provided us with stamped, signed transcripts and certificates without sealed envelopes. So I made notarized copies of the transcripts since we are not allowed to have other copies from the university. I am not sure if this is going to work!!

    1. So, my original article was written off of the requirements as they were in 2014. At that time the guidelines specifically stated that the Embassy (or University) would make copies of sealed documents. As of the 2017 guidelines they do specifically state that you must provide four copies of sealed documents in four separate envelopes. If you have time, I would bring your letters to the professors, ask them to open them, make three copies and reseal in new envelopes. Official envelopes are always best, but if they don’t exist, they don’t exist, so stamped and signed should work.

      For the transcript, it never says that transcripts must be in sealed in envelopes, only that if they are in sealed envelopes not to open them, which is a little confusing. If you have had your copies notarized hopefully that should be enough proof as to their authenticity. But again, if you can bring your copies to a university office and get envelopes it certainly wouldn’t hurt. If your uni won’t do that, then there is not much to be done. I would imagine that most universities in your country have similar policies? If that is the case, then the embassy should be aware of it.

      1. Thank you very much for your response! I went back to the university, asked the professors to make copies, and they accepted..thank GOD!! Yes the universities in my country do not provide transcripts sealed in envelopes! The funny part is that I managed to prepare everything while stressing out and rushing before the deadline, so I went to the embassy (I don’t live in the capital so I had to travel all the way to the embassy), and when I wanted to submit my application, they told me that the first step is to scan all the papers and then email them to the embassy xD. This wasn’t mentioned in the guidline or in anywhere else but in the embassy’s website (which I didn’t check before bcs I couldn’t find the announcement)…Long story short, I travelled back home asap, scanned, and emailed everything! I guess every country has its own procedures or am I wrong?

  21. Hello, Thank you for your article.
    I would like to ask you some questions.
    in aplication form, there is a coloumn that we have to fill it by GPA per year. in those coloumn, each coloumn must be filled by after and before slash (…./…..) what we have to fill those ?
    and what kinds of official envelop that we can use ?
    then, because we must make 4 copies, must we separete every copy to send them or only gather them in one envelop?
    Thank you so much.

    1. Hello!

      Before the slash you should put your GPA, and after the slash you should put the total possible GPA. For example, if the highest possible grade is equal to 4.0 and you received an average grade of 3.7 then you should write 3.7/4.0.

      If your school uses a scale other than 4.0, 4.3, 4.5 or 5.0 (as listed in the NIIED guidelines) you should have your grades converted to one of those scales.

      The envelop you send your application in doesn’t matter. It can be anything, but it should be big enough to hold your documents without folding them. Your recommendations should be in official university envelopes, if available. If for any reason your university does not provide them, then regular envelopes are fine, and recommendation forms can be folded to fit the envelope.

      Each copy of your application should be separated so that you have 4 complete sets. Ideally you should attach all documents in each set with clips or in folders to make it easier for the embassy to handle them, but you can put all of that into one big envelope and send them together in the mail.

      Good luck!

  22. Helloooo
    I have question. Are the professors who give us the recommendation letters will be called by NIIED or the Uni that we applied to?
    Because my closest professor is already resigned and I asked two professors who not really close with me. So I’m a bit worried if they being called later.
    I really hope you will reply.

    1. I can’t say for sure that they won’t, but I doubt it. I haven’t heard anyone mention that their professors were contacted. If the professor’s recommendation didn’t match the rest of your application somehow, or there was some suspicion that you had lied somewhere then I imagine it is possible that they might, but for the most part they probably will not contact your professor.

      1. Thankyou for your answerrr
        And also, in the recommendee’s profile there’s a column for address and tel/fax. Is that mean the address/tel/fax for the institution or the professor’s?
        Thank you so much once again.
        Bless youuu

      2. They don’t have to write their home address or phone number just the university’s is fine, but they should write whatever they would normally write to get mail or phone calls at the university (so their personal phone extension or mail box number if they have one).

  23. Hello.

    I am a student from Russian and am planning to apply for Master’s program this year.
    I wonder, if you possibly could enlighten me on this question: I don’t have any Korean or English test results, but am proficient (or close to it) in both, and I am writing my Study plan and Self-introduction in Korean and English respectively. Do u think it would still be meaningless to apply for the program without TOPIC or TOEFL results?

    Also, do you know any Russians from this program? 🙂

    Thank you!

    1. If your other application pieces are strong then English and Korean test scores might not be necessary. Hopefully you’ve checked to see if the universities you chose require English test scores because it will matter to some universities or departments whether you have test scores, but not all. If you don’t have a TOPIK score, you will be required to take the Korean language training for at least 6 months, no matter how proficient you are now. Otherwise, I would casually explain how you know English and Korean in your introduction essay. They’ll know at least that you were educated in English or studied it for x number of years, and the same for Korean. If your recommenders can comment on your language proficiency that could also help in the absence of official scores. Your plan to write part in English and part in Korean also might help. Good luck with everything!

      And, yes, I do know a couple of Russians on KGSP.😄

  24. hello

    i’m applying for phd program and i’m intrested in logistics.but I have an ambiguity, at the level of application form, in some universities logistics is classified in social science but in other engineering, so have i the right to check the 2 cases In field of study: ☐ Liberal Arts and Social Science 인문사회계열
    ☐ Science, Technology and Engineering 자연공학계열
    Another question please: in some universities there is only the department in the guide and no major like chonnam university, should i leave the box of the major empty in application form or I put in its place the department

    thanks for your help


    1. Hi,
      First, I’m sure you are much more of an expert in logistics than I am, so please correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn’t a logistics course in a liberal arts/social sciences department be significantly different than a logistics course in an engineering department? Of course your Master’s degree may overlap with both the engineering option and the social sciences option, I don’t know, but first I would be very sure that all of the schools you have chosen suit your needs, and that your study plan will be applicable to all of them. Especially for a PhD, it is very important that your research interests generally match with those of the professors, or at least one professor.

      Now, assuming that they do all match your research interests, but there is still a difference in division, I would still only choose one field of study. You can decide that based on a couple of factors, like the department of your Master’s, your specific research interests, or the majority (if two universities put it in the social sciences then maybe you want to choose social science). These may point in different directions, but in the end it is your call, just make sure to justify your choice by emphasizing certain aspects in your introduction and personal statements.

      As for cases like Chonnam, you can probably do it either way. I would probably just write the department name twice, but if you can check their website to make sure that there are no additional subdivisions within the department that would be a good idea. (BUT, I actually did that and on their website they only list a Master’s option for logisitics, no PhD. It is possible that their website is outdated, or I am looking at the wrong major, but if you haven’t confirmed it yourself then I would.)

      Good luck with everything!

      1. Thank you very much for your help and your valuable time, I just have another question, about employment or professional research experience in the application form , can I list my internships or it should be a work experience.

      2. If you can fill the space given with relevant, paid, full time jobs then I wouldn’t necessarily put internships. But if you are choosing between an internship in your field and a job serving coffee, I’d put the internship. An internship is work experience, so of course you can write it. If you are a recent (or soon to be) graduate with limited work experience you can write everything, but if you’ve had quite a few jobs then I would select the most recent and the most relevant.

  25. Hello! your blog is really helpful to know about all the process.Could you tell me,is it possible to expand candidate.If a country has total 5 seats.Is it possible to increase that number??also my another question is there are 5 seats where 2 regional and 3 general.What will happen if there are 5 regional candidates and among them 2 candidates are strong and other 3 regional candidates are slightly weak than general candidates who can fill general spot.My question is niied will select whom regional candidates who are slightly weak than general candidates or, they select general candidates.However,Seats are only three.

    1. Even if a country has 5 seats it is theoretically possible to increase the number. NIIED does not go over its total quota for all students (700 or whatever it is this year), but in the past there have always been countries that can’t fill their own quota, so countries where the scholarship is more popular are often given those spots. But every country will not necessarily get more.

      As for regional and general candidates, I talk about this in another blog post, but it is my understanding that NIIED will first select the 2 strongest regional candidates for the regional seats, and the remaining candidates will go into one pool together with the general candidates. If there are three general candidates that are stronger than any of the regional candidates then the general seats will be filled by general candidates. But if any regional candidates are stronger then they can get even the “general” seats.

  26. Oh!One more question is there any restrictions for universities to chose number of candidates.In my opinion,each student from non-regional universities are quite strong than regional candidates.It seems to be non-regional universities can get more students than regional universities.There are regional quota but is there any upper or lower limit to select number of candidates.Thanks!

    1. If you are talking about the university selection quota then yes, there is a limit. Regular universities (in the past) could choose up to 20. Regional universities can choose an additional 5 people (so 25 total) from natural science and technology fields.

      When universities are sent the applications from the embassy selection this month, then they can choose as many people as they want to admit.

  27. HELLO I HAVE A QUESTION, my GPA 2.84 out of 4 and in the guideline there a FAQ table 1 where this GPA i mean 2.84 is equal of 82 out of 100 so its mean this is in % ? so its mean i have 82 % of GPA ?

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