An end in sight

So the waiting is almost over.

After my mild panic attack back in New Zealand about diplomas, I have made it through most of the gates, and barring any other disaster will be starting Korean language study in the fall, with a Master’s degree to follow in 2015.

The program that was sending me through all of these hoops is the Korean Government Scholarship Program (KGSP) run by the National Institute for International Education (NIIED). It’s the major scholarship for study in Korea in terms of numbers of people and countries, and the amount offered. And consequently, the hoops are major as well.

For more info on the exact details check out NIIED’s website or the Study in Korea Website.

The information is all under GKS (Global Korean Scholarship).

If you are interested in applying LolaLovesKorea has a great series of videos on YouTube explaining about applying and her experiences in Korea. She is doing the language year now (2013-2014) and hopefully will keep updating as she starts her Master’s in the fall (2014).

But, as a fresh applicant going through the process almost as I write, I thought I would give my advice based on my own experience, and the experiences of those around me.

This series will probably extend beyond this post…

First, and foremost, start early. If it continues as it has in past years, NIIED will release the official application information for the graduate programs in the first week of February (at Study in Korea->GKS->Notice), and the info will also be available later via the Korean Embassies and Universities through which you apply.

BUT, you should look at the previous year’s information and start assembling your application package NOW (whenever it is you read this 😉 ), or at least well before that. Recommendations can take longer than you expect them to, and you may find that your diploma is lost in the chaos that is your parents’ home and you need to order a replacement that will take 4-6 weeks till delivery (or maybe that’s just me).

Of course if you are still a student now, you probably want to wait until the last grades before the deadline are in before you ask for a transcript, and there are various other timing issues to consider, but figure those out and give yourself plenty of time.

Second, join the Facebook group. On the one hand it was incredibly nerve-wracking. Every problem someone has makes you worry if it applies to you too, and every day that goes by as you still wait for results while those around you gradually get their results will drive you crazy. On the other hand, you can get your own questions answered, learn about your fellow applicants, and find out that no, SNU really hasn’t released their acceptances yet.

I’d also go look at the archives of past groups, so you can try to avoid many of the mistakes that we made.

In the next post I’ll talk about choosing universities, and how to apply based on my personal observations of these experiences.