KGSP Application: Additional Information & Diplomas

In earlier posts I explained in great detail how I applied for the scholarship and how I filled out the application and submitted my documents. But as that was a while ago I will link to those posts here:

Application Tips #1

Application Tips #2

Someone asked on my other post about original copies of language test score reports. As a native speaker of English, I do not have direct experience with English language proficiency tests (IELTS or TOEFL). From what I have seen, it looks like they send additional score reports directly to the institution (not to you). You can request these score reports from them and they will send them to the Embassy or University directly.


For IELTS you should make the request from the test center that administered your test. For TOEFL, please check with the organization in your country to find out where to make requests. Also, as your embassy probably does not have a TOEFL reporting code, just make sure you fill in the complete address and name of the embassy (full instructions are on page 2 of the TOEFL link above).

If your application hasn’t been sent yet when you request the score report, I would send an email to the Embassy or University so that they can expect to receive the score report and your application later. (Might not be necessary, but it doesn’t hurt.)

For TOPIK, you can go to the website of the TOPIK organization in your country (where you took the test). In the case of test takers in Korea, you just log into your account and make the request there. Then you’ll be able to download a PDF file and print it out yourself. In the upper corner it includes a verification number that the people reading your application can use to check that it is indeed an official score report. The process may be the same in other countries, or you may have to request that they send you a physical piece of paper. (This is what I did in Japan, but that was also before they made the new test and new system, so it may have changed after that.) With TOPIK they were able to send it to me, so I just included the original score report with my application.

Also, an additional word about diplomas because NIIED doesn’t do much to warn people of this ahead of time (requesting diploma copies in Korea must be a lot easier than it is in other countries). First of all, if you have already graduated from university when you apply, make sure you include the most official looking proof of graduation you can get. I have talked about this in length before, but my Embassy was not satisfied with the letter from my university and requested that I send a “certificate form” of proof.

Ultimately, my university agreed to make a certificate for free, which they sent directly to the Embassy for me. I also requested an exact replica of my official diploma (which cost about $40 US) and had that notarized and Apostilled in the US (where I’m from). I still have that just in case.

BUT, what I really wanted to say is that the KGSP application is not the last time you will be asked for this document. When you officially enter your degree program, the university will request an original copy of your diploma (NIIED keeps the original copy of your application, and sends one of the copied versions to the universities. If you apply by a designated university, then they may not ask for your diploma again because they did have it in their possession when you applied. Check with them to make sure.) You may be able to ask NIIED to send their copy to the University, but if everyone tries to do this then they may stop doing it for anyone. If your university easily provides official copies, then it is best to get one or two extras.

Which brings me to the other reason you might need extra copies. Your visa. If you are starting your degree right away, without language study, then you will start with a D2 visa. You may need to submit a copy of your diploma when you apply in your home country, but you won’t need one again in Korea. If, however, you do the Korean language course then you will apply for a D4 visa in your home country, and you will need to change to a D2 visa when you start your degree program. And… well, you need to submit another proof of graduation at this time. Fun, right?

So, the moral of this story is while you are requesting diplomas or Apostilling diploma copies for your application, request a couple more for later.

If you have any other questions read the two posts above first, and if you still have questions, leave them in the comments. I’m happy to answer what I can. But do remember the process will be slightly different depending on where you are and how you apply.

2015 KGSP Graduate Scholarship

So the new guidelines for 2015’s graduate scholarship have been released. You can find the info here:

2015 KGSP Graduate Scholarship Info

The first thing you need to check is what kinds of quota’s your country has this year, and decide which one to use for your application, either University or Embassy.

Next, please go to that University or Embassy’s website and check for their information about the scholarship. They will be the ones to tell you about the deadline for sending your application. It WILL be different depending on the country or the university, so if you can’t find it for any reason, contact them to ask. Don’t just assume it will be the same as someplace else. Most of the deadlines will be in early to mid-March, so you actually don’t have much time to get everything together, especially if you need to send documents to Korea.

You’ll find the quotas and the application forms all in the first document entitled “01. GKS Graduate Program Guidelines(English-Korean).doc

I, personally, copied the application forms into a separate Word document and worked with that.

There appear to be a couple of differences between the 2014 and 2015 programs.

The first thing I noticed is that they have taken out the part about starting your degree program in March if you achieve TOPIK 5 or 6 in September-January. There is still the possibility of starting your degree program right away if you have TOPIK 5 or 6 when you apply (and if you submit your score then it is mandatory, not optional to start your Master’s or PhD in September 2015). I’m not sure what the deadline is to submit a score. I have several classmates who got TOPIK 5 in the April 2014 test (results announced in early June?), who were not allowed to start early. I don’t know if this was because of some problem with how they reported it, or if it was just too late. If this is something that concerns you, you can check directly with NIIED about this issue. (EDIT: There is a check box in the application for starting in September, which means you should already have TOPIK 5 or 6 when you apply. So in other words it is already too late if you don’t have it yet. But again if this is something that is important to you, you might want to check with NIIED anyway. If you do come back and comment here, to let me know how it went.)

I’m not 100% sure if it will be impossible to start in March if you fulfill the requirements, or just a different process from this year. Again if this was something you were hoping to do, and affects whether you apply/accept the scholarship, then please ask for yourself.

The second change is a new university quota for “Designated Regional Universities” for people applying in Natural Science and Engineering Fields. You can read more about this in the information, but basically they are trying to attract Natural Science and Engineering students to the regional universities (in other words outside of Seoul). The quota per university has been increased, so that they can accept more NS&E students for the scholarship, which can increase your chances of getting in. There is also a special quota within the university quota for some countries just for NS&E students applying to these regional universities, so it means at the second round (NIIED selection) you are competing against fewer students from your country. If you are a Natural Science or Engineering major (and your country has this option) then this may be a good way to apply.

Some things about this new category:

  • You can apply for a Natural Science or Engineering major at any of the 66 available universities, but only the 35 Designated Regional Universities (as listed in the info) will be available for this special quota.
  • Some countries with a university quota only have a “General” quota, and not a “Regional” quota. This doesn’t mean that you cannot apply to one of the regional universities under the university quota, it just means that your application will be considered with other “general” applicants to the university instead of under this quota, and at NIIED your application will be considered with all scholars from your country regardless of major. (Of course you can apply to these universities under the Embassy quota as well).
  • You do not have to apply to these 35 Designated Regional Universities with a Natural Science or Engineering major. You can choose from any of the majors listed in the University information. But again, if you choose another major you will be compared with a different group of students.

**In the application forms there are two versions of “Attachment #1: Personal Data.” One is for Embassy and one is for University. Obviously, you should choose the correct one. In the University version, under “Type of Recommendation” (which on my computer is labeled 1, but should be 2) there is only a check box for “General.” If you are applying for this Designated Regional University quota, then I would probably add a check box for that, so there is no confusion over which quota you are applying with.**

The third change, is a special category for Research Programs. These appear to vary in length from one month to a year, and do not include Korean Language Study. If this is something that applies to you, then you know who you are and what to do, if you’re not sure where to start, then it probably doesn’t apply to you.

Those are the major changes that I noticed. As usual there are probably some changes to the countries and what kind of quotas they have, and also to the list of universities. If you were making plans using last year’s information make sure you double check that your country and universities are still there.

Also, make sure you check the University Information. If you have been looking directly at university websites, then it is possible you found departments and majors that aren’t available to KGSP students. The University Information lists only those majors that are theoretically available to KGSP applicants. By “theoretically” I mean that not all departments will consider foreign applicants who don’t have sufficient Korean skills when they apply, even if those departments are listed in the University Information. If you are concerned, contact the department to ask.

On the personal front, this is my last week of Korean class and next month I will be moving on to my graduate program. Personally, I am ready to leave. The language study has been fun, and I’ve learned so much, but if I had to stay for another 6 months, I think I’d go crazy. That’s just me though. If you start at the beginning or intermediate level, then you’ll constantly be challenged (though you’ll still probably experience some lows, culture shock is par for the course). If you’re at a high-intermediate/advanced level now, and they really won’t let you go in March, then I’d consider all options before applying. Frankly, my language university hadn’t (in recent memory) had a level 6 class, let alone programs for people after that, so it remains to be seen what people in my class who don’t get level 5 or 6 will do for the next 6 months. Being in Korea is great, learning Korean is great, but being tied to a program that really doesn’t know what to do with you can be difficult. If it is true that anyone who doesn’t have TOPIK 5 or 6 right now will need to study in a language program for a year, then for some people it might be better to stay home and get money and/or work experience and apply in 2016 with TOPIK 5/6 already under your belt (that is if you feel confident about getting it in the next year). Either way you’d be starting the graduate program in Sept 2016, and there might be a more productive way of spending the next year. If you’re planning on doing a graduate program in Korean (like the lectures are in Korean, not that you are studying Korean Language/Literature) though, then that year of preparation might not be a bad idea, even if they don’t know what to do with you in your language program for 3, 6, or 9 months. (My degree program is in English, so while Korean is useful, it’s not totally necessary.)