Tips for Applying for the Global Korea Scholarship

From a Professor, GKS Alumna and Researcher

Global Korea Scholarship
study in Korea

Kadir Jun Ayhan


Monday, May 20, 2024

Today, I reviewed Global Korea Scholarship (GKS) applicants’ admission documents for the last time. (after 7 years!)

As a former GKS awardee, and someone who published extensively about it, GKS holds a special place in my heart.

I have a few personal suggestions for those applying for the GKS (especially graduate schools in social sciences).

• Show your hunger and proactiveness for learning, desire to make an impact, and your potential to develop.
• If you have social or professional experiences, talk about them in the context of the major you are applying for and your long-term goals.
• Have a clear long-term goal and design your personal statement around it. You are determined to achieve this goal. Yes, you are young, and your goals can change in the future, which is totally fine. But in the personal statement, decide what you want to do, stick to it, and make it the focus.
• Don’t be vague in your long-term goal (e.g., I want to help my home country’s development. But how, doing what?). Is the career path you suggest realistic, or does it even exist?
• Don’t make Korea the focus of your personal statement. You can include why you want to study in Korea, but it shouldn’t be the main focus. A couple of sentences or a paragraph towards the end should suffice.
• No need to mention how you have been into K-Pop since middle school. If you really want to mention it, keep it to a sentence explaining how it triggered your interest in education in Korea.
• Keep your personal life story (traumas, family, etc.) to a minimum. For example, don’t throw your sister under the bus by explaining how she couldn’t manage her life following a family trauma but you could.
• Frame your need for the scholarship in the context of empowerment rather than a dramatic life story.
• No need to show off your ability to write Hangul in an English personal statement.
• Write your sentences positively. For example, if you are applying to an international relations major, instead of saying, “I don’t have any background knowledge or experience in international relations, but I believe that my background in social psychology would be helpful,” say, “I believe that my background in social psychology would be quite helpful in studying international relations from an interdisciplinary approach, particularly in understanding foreign policy elites’ decision-making processes.”
• If you can say something in one sentence, resist the urge to make it a paragraph.
• This goes without saying, but make sure to spell everything correctly, especially the university you are applying for!
• Make sure not to miss any required documents!
• Be confident!
• Reach out to GKS alumni or professors in Korea to ask for guidance. Not all will reply, but those who do may be quite helpful. Some of my current students reached out to me before applying for admission/scholarship even though we had never met!

These are my initial thoughts. Feel free to write your questions as comments.