KGSP Updates – 2017

I’ve been responding to people’s comments, but I haven’t written in a long time. There have been some significant changes, so I do want to update some of the things I’ve said in the past. If you are applying to KGSP yourself, you should make sure you read the instructions for the year in which you are applying carefully and thoroughly yourself before sending in your application.

  1. There is still a regional university option for people in Natural Science and Engineering fields from certain countries. For more on this option see my 2015 post here.
  2. Always double check the available universities. They change slightly each year. (For example, this year Ajou University appears not to be on the list.) The same goes for countries and their quotas.
  3. Good news for people who have studied abroad in Korea! While there used to be a rule that people who studied abroad in Korea were not able to apply for KGSP, that rule no longer applies. If you were an exchange student at a Korean university you will be able to apply to KGSP (page 7 of 2017 guidelines). If you did a full degree in Korea (Bachelor, Master, or PhD) then you are still unable to apply, unless you were a KGSP scholar at that time. For former KGSP scholars, you may apply again for a higher degree program, but only through the Embassy quota.
  4. They seem to have strengthened the language on GPA. Those with GPAs under 80% or the equivalent will be automatically disqualified. They also require an official explanation from your university describing the “university’s evaluation system as well as the applicant’s academic achievement” (page 7) if either A) your transcript doesn’t include GPA info or B) your grades cannot be easily converted to a 4.0, 4.3, 4.5, 5.0 or percentage scale. This would seem to mean that you can’t use third-party conversion services, it must come from your uni.
  5. They specifically disallow use of the TOEFL ITP to show English proficiency. The ITP has always been for internal evaluation purposes and not for outside certification purposes. If you want to submit English test scores you will need to take the IBT (or PBT/CBT if those are what is available) or the TOEIC or IELTS.
  6. Other people who might get preference include the following. Remember, “preference” most likely means a couple points added to your score. (For example, the self-intro and statement of purpose are worth 10 points each. The other parts of the application are likely also worth some undetermined number of points.) So if you are an extremely strong candidate in a field that doesn’t get any preference then you still have a chance over a weaker candidate from a “preferred” field. Don’t give up just because you may have less “preference.”
    1. Applicants in natural science, technology and engineering
    2. Applicants for majors included in the Industrial Professionals Training Project of the Korean Government. This is a slightly more specific version of the STEM fields above and includes various high-tech fields like biotech, semiconductors and LED technology.
    3. Faculty from higher education institutions in countries to which Korea gives ODA.
    4. Descendants of Korean War vets.
  7. Changes to required documents:
    1. They give very specific requirements for the length of the Self-Introduction (or personal statement) and Statement of Purpose (including study plan and future plan). You must use Times New Roman size 10 font. Your self-introduction letter must be one page or less. Your Statement of Purpose should use the same font type and be two pages or less (including both study plan and future plan).
    2. You need TWO recommendation letters. (It used to be just one.) They should be able to comment on your academic abilities.
    3. You need an “original copy” of all diplomas or transcripts. That is kind of an oxymoron – it can’t be both original and a copy, can it? Remember never send your actual diploma, you will not get it back. You should get an official copy from your university (from my experience it should be in the form of a certificate, the closer to your actual diploma the better), or if that is not possible, have a copy of the original notarized or apostilled.
    4. Certificate of Korean Citizenship Renunciation and Adoption documents are “optional” in the sense that not everyone has to submit them, but they are a “must” if they apply to you (i.e. if your parents or yourself ever had Korean citizenship, or if you are a Korean adoptee).
    5. Notarize ALL photocopies. Including passport, etc.
    6. If you are applying through the University track, you only need to submit ONE set of original documents. If you are applying through the Embassy track, you still need one set of originals, and THREE sets of photocopies. You must get four sets of all sealed documents. This means that you should ask your professors or other recommenders to make three copies of their recommendation and seal each one, plus the original in four separate envelopes. Transcripts should also be in sealed envelopes and you should get four copies from your university.
  8. They have gone back to explicitly stating that students who get TOPIK 5 or 6 in the first six months may start their degree program in March. This was always the case, though they stopped talking about it briefly in the 2015 application guidelines.
  9. For the language year, they state that you can live off campus (outside the dormitories) if you have TOPIK level 3 or above.

These are just some of these changes. For other advice and requirements see my other blog entries and the comments. Good luck with your applications or future applications!

67 thoughts on “KGSP Updates – 2017”

  1. on the university information website it say “English exclusive lecture” what it really means??? it confuses me

      1. Ah, that is confusing. I am pretty sure it is just indicating whether a university offers lectures that are in English or not. It does not mean that all lectures are in English, just that there are some lectures that are in English.

  2. thanks again…im studying my bachelor degree on marketing management and after one year i’ll graduate n im hoping that I could study my master in one of Korean universities so im doing my own research before its late n it’s time time to apply
    I read most of your posts and comments n they’re really helping me out.
    i know only 3 are needed but I already make my own top 5 universities to apply, i mean my own not based on their reputation or someother rankings.
    donga,kyungsung,pusan,keimyung and dongguk. 3 of them are located in the beautiful city busan
    so what are your thoughts about that for master’s degree in business administration and marketing major. tnx

    1. It’s good to start early! And you sound like you’re on to a good start. Busan is a great city (I hear… Haven’t actually been😮). For business there are a wide variety of options and quite a few all English programs, if that is something you’d be interested in. But I haven’t looked into business programs, so I don’t really have any opinions. You’ve still got time to consider all your options, so I’m sure you’ll find your ideal schools!

    2. hello, I have question. Please advice me. My selected university was snu and I interest natural science. So snu chosen me and I passed second step. Now I waiting result of niied. I haven’t english and korean language gpa, but I think, my other all documents are good(especially transcripts) . You think, How much chance of being selected for me? 😔😔

  3. Hello, I’m just a little bit confused regarding the Transcipt copies, I’m applying through the embassy track, and my undergrad school doesn’t give transcripts inside sealed envelopes, so I just had them notarized. Is that okay?

    1. If you’ve had them notified it is probably ok. On page 10 it says that recommendations must be in a sealed envelope. Further down says that documents in sealed envelopes such as transcripts and recommendations should stay in those envelopes. Nowhere does it say, however, that transcripts MUST be in envelopes. The notarization is a good back-up plan though…

      1. Thank you for the reply! I really appreciate it. The deadline is near and I’m kind of freaking out, double checking if I have everything and understood everything.

  4. For proof of my parents and my citizenship, can I just use my birth certificate ? It shows I was born in the US and also states my parents place of birth/nationality since they are not from the US but also not Korean.

    1. It is probably safest to include individual documents for your parents (notified copies if it is tough to get officially issued copies), but if there are some extenuating circumstances that make that difficult just I guess you could just include an explanation.

      1. Thank you! I’ll go ahead and get the individual documents for me and each parent. But I am running into another problem. I cannot get official copies so I I want to get notarized copies of my birth certificate. The original birth certificate itself is already notarized so does that mean I can just make my 4 photocopies and send or do the photocopies ALSO need to be notarized?

      2. If you are not sending an original I would notarize one of the copies and then copy that. (I assume the notary will charge by the document and you only need one set of “original” documents, which includes notarized copies in case you can’t send real originals.)

  5. Hello! Thank you for useful information on the whole KGSP issue. I am preparing my documents to apply, but still hesitating if i have any chances, since my major is Cultural Studies. Do you think they will consider this field at all? Or only engineering and technologies are preferrable. Thank you in advance!

    1. Don’t worry! They give some preference to science and technology majors, but universities must fill all of their other departments too! There are tons of KGSP scholars in the arts, humanities and social sciences as well!

      1. Thank you for your encouragement! 🙂 Maybe you can give some hint on what universities are good to look at? And again metropolitan or regional option? I selected a couple, but it is hard to choose, since this is an unknown terrain!

      2. For Cultural Studies, the regional vs. metropolitan distinction is not so important because it would not qualify you for inclusion in the regional quota.

        That said, there are certainly differences between city and regional schools. City schools are in cities (of course) with all the excitement, internship/work opportunities, large and diverse student communities, etc. that cities offer. At a regional university you may find there is not much beyond the campus community, but on the plus side living expenses will be much lower and living within the KGSP stipend is much easier. All of that is really a matter of your personal preferences.

        As for specific universities, it depends a little on which aspects of cultural studies you are interested in, but I would do a document search of the university info that NIIED gives for “cultur” (that will give you both “culture” and “cultural,” and unfortunately a lot of “agriculture” which you can skip past.)

        I also had one friend who did “Culture Contents and Communication” at Konkuk University. They seemed to enjoy the content of the course well enough, but expressed some dissatisfaction with being the only non-Asian foreigner. The course was also mostly in Korean if that is a concern.

        If you are interested in Korean studies and studying in English, you can look at some of the Graduate Schools of International Studies (or GSIS). Many major universities have them, and some include cultural programs focused in other regions such as the U.S., Russia, Japan and China as well. Some offer classes exclusively in English, but some use a mix of English, Korean, and the native language of the region being studied. Again you can search the university info document for “Graduate School of International Studies” or do a Google search to find their websites.

  6. Hi! I am planning to apply via University track but I am quite confused with a lot of things no matter how many times I have read the guidelines. Probably because I am nervous! Haha! I would like to ask you some of my questions, just for clarification and ‘enlightenment’ haha! I am warning you though, some of the questions are a bit dumb. I apologize in advance.

    1. I requested for my transcript and certificate of graduation. My univ already gave it to me. I don’t need to have it notarized anymore, right? Since only the photocopies are the ones to be notarized? Did I understand that correctly? Hihihi.

    2. For the proof of citizenship, I plan on submitting a photocopy of me and my mom’s passport. However, she’s a single mom. How do I tell them that I am unable to send any info about my MIA dad?

    Hope to hear from you soonest! Thank you for helping us! 🙂

    1. Hello!

      1. Documents produced by your university do not need to be notarized… now. (Unless the university you are applying to says differently. I am going off the general NIIED guidelines and my experience with the embassy.) You will probably need to get a notarized and Apostilled copy of your diploma (if your country has signed the Hague Convention) to give to the university if you are accepted, but for now you are fine, and they won’t need that until right before you enter (after language training). CONCLUSION = don’t worry about notarization until later.

      2. That’s a good question. If your birth certificate lists a father then that would at least tell them who your dad is, if you can get it in time. If it doesn’t, that tells even more – that he is irrelevant and out of the picture. Otherwise, I guess I would just write a note explaining the situation. Mostly I believe they are concerned about whether you have or could get Korean citizenship (through a parent), so if it is relatively clear that you aren’t and can’t then it should be okay. The only other thing I can think of would be getting his birth certificate, but I don’t know if there are countries that would let you do that, and it would certainly depend on your situation and whether he is on your birth certificate. CONCLUSION – write a note explaining and send your birth certificate if you can.

      1. Thank you for answering my questions! You are seriously an angel!

        Pray for all of us applicants! Have a nice day! 🙂

  7. I have another question again! Haha

    Does it matter to the people who will evaluate my application if I know how to read and write Hangul already? I can also understand and speak a bit of it. But I don’t have any TOPIK cert or what because I self-studied.

    1. If you haven’t sent your application yet, it certainly doesn’t hurt to put somewhere in your personal statement. If, for example, they give 1 point for TOPIK level 1 and 6 for level 6, then you probably won’t get extra points there, but they may evaluate your introduction letter higher. I don’t think it will be a huge factor in your success, but if it came down to a decision between you, and someone with very similar qualifications who had never learned any Korean, it could theoretically be a deciding factor. It can only help.

  8. Hi!

    So I’m handing in my application tomorrow and I’ve ended up in a situation where I may have THREE letters of recommendation. Is this allowed? Or do I need to pick two? Basically I freaked out because I thought one of my recommendations might not come through, so I asked someone else while I waited, but now the person who’s recommendation I thought wouldn’t make it on time may actually come, so I have three. One of them is a professor and the other is a supervisor at an internship, if that makes any difference.

    1. Hi! I think you have to choose two among them. Or you can take all of them to the embassy and they will tell you choose or not.

    2. I agree with Annie. I would choose two. There is a strong chance they will only consider two, and so you should present them with the two that you think will help your case the most. Obviously, you can’t read them so that might be difficult, but in general I think I’d go with the professor if you had a good relationship.

  9. Hello,
    This blog is really cool and helpful.well i want to apply for the kgsp.

    I have grade percentage of 86/100 and I have an IELTS score 6.5.

    I have one award and one publication and i have a letter of appointment from my university which entails i have chosen to participate in a project because i have been found worthy both in character and learning.

    I want to apply for Hanyang university and the course i have chosen is Entrepreneurship which is under Humanities/Social and management Science.Please what are my chances of being accepted regarding my documents since Hanyang university is one of the most popular university.And can you please give me some advice on which university i should choose if Hanyang is not the best for me because my grade percentage is kind of low.Thank you

    1. Hello,
      First, I should emphasize that I am not officially associated with any university in Korea, except as a student and past KGSP applicant/recipient. I cannot tell you what your chances are to get into Hanyang. As I have mentioned, there are many factors that may affect whether you will be accepted. If you were not applying for KGSP, which says you must have at least 80% GPA to apply, would you think your GPA is high or low? If it is not a low GPA in your country, then perhaps you can apply through the embassy and have three choices of university. If you are passionate about Hanyang, but think you might not be accepted then having two back-up choices is a good idea.

      There are only a few universities that offer a specific course in “Entrepreneurship,” so I would start by looking at them. Hanyang is a top 10 (ish) school. The others are:
      Chung-Ang, Konkuk (Top 20)
      Soong-sil (Top 30)
      Gachon (Top 50)
      Yeungnam (Top 60)

      They are all good choices, and you can expand your choices by looking at other related business majors. If you are not confident to compete with your country(wo)men at the embassy level, then Hanyang might not be the safest choice.

  10. Hello. I’m sorry for my random question. I’m on my last minute freak outs. (Internally screams)
    I have a paper printed in a conference proceeding but is not published as a scientific journal. Can I still add this as published paper?

    1. Read the guidelines and the FAQ carefully. If there are specifics about where a paper should be published then follow them. If not, obviously a conference presentation is not as significant as a peer reviewed journal, but still it’s something. If you had many papers I’d say skip the less significant ones, but if not then include it.

  11. Hello! How must I put the labels on the requirements?

    It says:

    The application documents must be submitted in the order of the checklist on the first page of the application
    form. Each required document must be numbered and labeled on the top right corner as the following.
    – Example: 9. Bachelor’s Diploma

    How do I freakin’ label the docs? Can I use post-it pads? Please advise. Thanks!

    1. If they don’t specify, and as far as I can tell they don’t, then you can label them in any way you want to (in the top right corner). My sense is that they are expecting you to just write directly on the papers. If you prefer labels or post-its then make sure they won’t fall off easily or cover vital information without being removable. Don’t over think these minor details, if you’ve labeled the documents somehow then it’ll be fine.

  12. Hello! Your post is very helpful!

    I would just like to ask, it says on the top note of the recommendation letters to request your recommender in an official envelope? What do you mean by that? Or just the standard white envelope for letters is fine?

    1. I don’t have the guidelines in front of me, so I don’t know if I said that or they did or both, but…

      By official I would mean the university or company letterhead – the envelopes that have the university/company name, address, and often seal or symbol printed on them. It just makes everything look more official. But obviously if your university doesn’t have such envelopes then a plain white envelope would have to be used.

  13. hello, I have question. Please advice me. My selected university was snu and I interest natural science. So snu chosen me and I passed second step. Now I waiting result of niied. I haven’t english and korean language gpa, but I think, my other all documents are good(especially transcripts) . You think, How much chance of being selected for me? 😔😔

  14. Hello,
    How are you doing?
    I was just wondering if I got accepted in the second round.Well is a bit silly . I have a pet, is a small.Can i come with it.i don’t want to leave it here in my country.Any suggestions will be appreciated.

    1. There are certain processes you need to go through to bring animals to Korea, but there might also be certain restrictions based on the kind of animal. You will have to look that up.

      Beyond that though, in relation to KGSP, if you do language training or plan to live in a dormitory during your Masters/PhD, you will not be allowed pets.

  15. Hi guys
    is already 2nd may Tuesday and Niied are posting the second round selection,so nervous can’t even eat.anyone who is expecting the post please :}

  16. Hello,
    I’ve finally seen the results.And i made it,am really excited.oh God am crying because am happy 🙂 :).I just want to Say A Big THANK YOU for creating this wonderful blog and for answering my questions,even the silly questions 😉
    Whoever you are am grateful,this blog really helped me

    Thanks again

  17. Hey ! I was the only person from my country who got so far for the second round 🙂 I would like to ask you what are the odds to be rejected at this stage? If you are the only person who represents the country, they cannot reject or…? I took only the best universities just to give it a try but never thought I would selected. And now I am dying of waiting 😄

    1. Congrats on making it! I just wanted to say I’m in the same boat, as my country’s only rep. And with the approval of the embassy and the university, you just want to assume you made it, right? I’m so impatient for and terrified of the final results.

  18. Hi! I am from Colombia. I am going to finish my studies this year and I will submit my papers to NIIED. But, in the form 1, the GPA section, they ask for five years grades, and it tooked me five and a half to finish. What should I do? Do I include my first five years or my last five years?
    I have read all the comments. Your are a lovely person.
    Muchas gracias! Thank you so much!

    1. I would put all of your grades. I wouldn’t make major changes to the application form, but I certainly added lines for extra work experience or whatever. It’s a Word file, so just insert an extra semester (or two), or if not attach a separate paper with all of the terms. It’s best to be complete and upfront about everything.

      1. Also I would explain the extra time. Your KGSP scholarship period is fixed. Of course you can stay longer if you pay for the extra time yourself, but they are more likely to select someone they think can complete within the given time. If you extended due to unavoidable circumstances then tell them that, and if there was some fault of your own tell them why that won’t be an issue now. Good luck!!

  19. Hey, thanks for posting this.
    I want to know that do I have a chance to get accepted by either KAIST or SNU in the THIRD ROUND of KGSP without proficiency test scores?

    1. It depends on the university and department. You can get accepted to many places, particularly big ones like those two, without Korean proficiency scores because that is what the language training part of KGSP is for. For the most part they won’t expect you to speak Korean yet. English scores are another issue. KAIST claims to be all English based, and SNU also likes people who speak English. Some departments will require an English proficiency test for admission. Check the regular admission requirements for the departments you want to apply for. If they list English proficiency scores as a requirement then it is better to send them, and you may be rejected without them. Of course if you are a native speaker of English you will not need them. Also if you have studied for a certain amount of time in an English speaking you may be exempt. The specific length of time will usually be in the admission requirements.

      1. Thanks for response
        I am going to take TOPIK exam on 22nd October and will get my result in November, however KGSP-U announces in September. What should I do?

      2. Like I said Korean proficiency is not necessary (though obviously it could help you compete against other candidates). But if you won’t have your score until after the application is due, you can’t really use it. For undergraduates, English proficiency may or may not be necessary. You should check KAIST really carefully because, again, a lot of their courses are in English.

  20. Hey, it’s me again 🙂 Do you mind if I ask few more questions?
    1) Do I need to write my rank in school? (asking it because my school doesn’t have such thing) I read that candidates have to write either gpa or rank. Is it fine to miss the rank?(my gpa is 3.6/4)
    2) Does transcript of school have to be sealed?
    3) Is there any phone or skype interview for embassy track? (cuz i’m outside my home country)

    1. 1) Read where? I write about the graduate application, so I am unsure about the undergraduate requirements. Rank is not required for the graduate application, so if you read it on my blog then I only meant class rank can be helpful by putting your grades in context. (There are thousands of high schools in the world, and all countries have different systems, but being in the top 5 or 10% is impressive wherever you are). If you read it in the actual application from a previous year, but it said rank OR gpa, then you are probably okay not writing it. If it said gpa AND rank then it is probably best to write something (even if your school won’t tell you you are 4 out of 100 students, maybe they can tell you top 20% or something like that).
      2) It is safest to submit your transcript sealed, but follow the specific instructions in the application.
      3) Again, I did not apply undergraduate, so I can’t say for sure. But, many graduate applicants did get interviewed, and the undergrad scholarship is much smaller scale, so I would imagine that many if the embassies do conduct interviews.

  21. Hi! First, thank you for your informative blog! I’ve been reading this blog for quite a while now and they are really helpful as I plan to apply for scholarship this 2018. But I’ve been contemplating on one thing: my GPA. I’m pretty sure my GPA is above 80, my semestral average was always just a bit short to be part of the Dean;s List( these are the ones who become cum laude in our univ) however I had a bad semester where I failed one of my subjects, but I retook it next semester and passed it already with a fair score. I also graduated in the expected number of years I have to graduate. Will that disqualify me? or will it be fine as long as my overall GPA is above 80?

      1. Hi, Thanks for your info! I will keep your advice in mind 🙂
        I have an additional question. So on the guideline says this:
        the GPA must be higher tor equal to these.
        – 2.64 on a 4.0 scale
        – 2.80 on a 4.3
        – 2.91 on a 4.5 scale
        – 3.23 on a 5.0 scale
        – Score percentile: 80%

        On the application form where I should put my grades, should I put it as how our school interpret it? or as how they expect to read it?
        In our school ,the grading system is a 5.0, but the farther you are from 5.0, means a higher grade. Thus 80% on our grading system will be like 2.5 or 2.75?
        I am afraid they will read this as something lower than 80% since they expect 80 on a 5.0 scale to be 3.23?

        Thanks again!

  22. Don’t give up just because you may have less “preference.”
    Well I haven’t finished your post yet this part made me happy…I was kinda upset because my field of study isn’t included in “preference” thing..while I have a good resume TOEFL and TOPIK so I feel relieved:”) thank you and I’m going to read the rest of this post..

  23. Don’t give up just because you may have less “preference.”
    Well I haven’t finished your post yet this part made me happy…I was kinda upset because my field of study isn’t included in “preference” thing..while I have a good resume TOEFL and TOPIK so I feel relieved:”) thank you and I’m going to read the rest of this post..

  24. Do you have any idea which universities are offering a Ph.D. in social science? The research topic is about a state from my African country.

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