Since speaking from experience is most accurate, most of this post would be based on my application to Yonsei University Underwood International College.
Based on experience (of my own), the application deadline for Fall Semester is late March to mid April. Except the Yonsei University Wonju campus that had a 8th March deadline. For us Singaporeans it means that we have about 1 month in general to apply for the university after the release of A Level results (usually on the first Friday of March).
Common documents required:
1. Application form with passport size photo attached
This is where you fill in your name, age, etc.
2. Results Slip
It can be your GCE A Level, IB, SAT I, SAT II, etc results, an exam that you have taken as a major exam at the end of 12 years of schooling. Some may require your GCE O Level/IP results as well.
3. High School (Junior College equivalent) and/or Middle School (Secondary School equivalent) transcript
In the Singaporean context, JC transcript would be your Prelim transcript. Secondary School transcript would be the O Level cert or IP Results Slip (remember to also submit the explanatory letter about IP issued by MOE as well!) Some may require you to submit your testimonial too!
4. Teacher’s Recommendation (1 or 2 depending on the school’s requirements)
Most universities would have a form for you to get your teacher to fill in. The teacher is expected to seal up the letter in an envelope and it is best if he/she signs on the flap to ensure that it has not been opened. If the confidentiality of the letter is compromised, the letter may be considered invalid. So even if you’re dying of curiosity to know what your teacher think of you, please refrain from opening the envelope and reading it! Universities would encourage the teachers to send out the letter once they’re done with it but as a student, you should either provide your teacher with the stamp or mail it out yourself. You owe your teachers a lot for their guidance, and now they’re helping you write recommendations, so it’s only right that you mail it out for them. Some schools may have their own set of protocols, so please also check with your school if you’re unsure. Also remember that your teachers are also busy with their own stuff and teaching your juniors, so please don’t expect them to be able to complete in a day! Give them about 2 weeks to complete it, if your teacher completes it beforehand I’m sure he/she will not hesitate to pass it to you or whatever your school protocol is ^^
For Yonsei University Underwood International College (UIC), I had to write two essays, one 400-500 words and one less than 250 words, in English naturally. I’m not too sure about the other universities.
6. Certificates of Achievements
For Singaporean students, this is where all your certs come in! Your CCA cert, CIP cert, Math Olympiad, Piano, Violin, Ballet, etc can all be submitted! But please note the requirement of your school, as some only ask for academic achievements so your piano, violins, etc cannot be used in this case ):
Of course, this is just a general list; if you are really applying, please read the requirements carefully as the universities may not entertain missing documents.
Another important thing: you obviously cannot submit the original copy of these precious documents right? So what do you do?
For Singaporean students, please photocopy your results slip, transcript, testimonials, certs and go down to your school and ask the general office to certify your copies as true copies (just tell them that you want to “certify true copy” :D) Do remember to bring your originals as well! (I remember cabbing all the way home from Bukit Timah to Yishun and back again cos I forgot to bring my originals T______T) Basically the person will check that your copy is correct and unchanged from your original, then stamp something like “Certified True Copy” on the copy ^^
Some schools would require a Consular Confirmation. This means that you have to go down to the Consular Section of the Korean Embassy to get the Consular Confirmation that the copies are correct and true. But before that, you will have to go down to a legal office to get a “Notary Public” stamp on your copies. (Yeah I didn’t know that so I made many trips T________T)
So what is this Notary Public thing? It’s just that you have to travel down to a legal office (I was recommended this one by the lady at the Korean Embassy) that is recognised and authorised by the Korean Embassy to get this “Notary Public”. It’s another form of certifying that your copy is true. I went to Balkenende Chew & Chia (Tel. no: 67342662) to get it, as the lady Margaret Chew, Advocate & Solicitor, Commissioner for Oath Notary Public, is authorized and recognised by the Korean Embassy in Singapore. Each stamp+her signature (ie each piece of paper you need her to give the notary public) costs $5.
After you get your notary public, you travel down to the Korean Embassy. The Korean Embassy in Singapore is at Newton. What you do is to get off at Newton MRT station, turn left upon exiting and head up to Scotts Road. Take the escalator up, turn right and walk straight down, towards the Prudential building. Goldbell Towers is the next building, and you’ll see the South Korean flag, indicating that you’re at the right building. You will have to exchange for a pass at the security post. The consular section is on the 5th floor, and it’s open from 9am to 4.30pm, with a lunch break from 12nn-1pm. Just tell them that you intend to study in a Korean university and for application purposes you need a Consular Confirmation. It’s better to go in the morning because I went in the morning (around 11am) and they told me that I could only collect it after 4pm on the same day. There is a charge of $10 if I remember correctly. You can refer the their website for more information: http://sgp.mofat.go.kr/eng/as/sgp/embassy/greetings/index.jsp
There is this thing about Apostille for countries that are in the agreement (sadly Singapore is not included that’s why we need to go through all the trouble of Consular Confirmation T_______T). Countries that are in the Apostille Agreement will have a designated institute in the country issuing the Apostille (ie ensuring that the copy is a true copy). For example, the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is in charge of issuing the Apostille. If you are a citizen of a country in the agreement, please check the issuing institute and get an Apostille. Of course you are also allowed to get the Consular Confirmation from the Korean Embassy in your country. Citizens of countries not in the Apostille can only get the Consular Confirmation. This link gives a list of countries in the Apostille agreement: http://www.apostilleinfo.com/
Most would require application by post, so please make sure that your envelope is postmarked on the date of the deadline if you’re a last minute person (like me xD) If you register your mail, the post office will postmark your envelope immediately but if you don’t register it, they may postmark it only the next day. It is advisable to register your mail because one of my teacher’s recommendation letter was lost in transit T____T Luckily the school said that at least one is enough ^^ The package will take about 6-8 days to reach Korea (usually 6 based on experience).
There is an application fee, for Yonsei it’s KRW150,000. UIC requires telegraphic transfer to their Woori Bank account, which gave me a huge headache. What happens is that you go to POSB (or any other banks that you have an account in) and ask for a telegraphic transfer form, and fill in the form. The school had only provided the SWIFT code for me, and the POSB lady had insisted that I get the address as well since it was the first time I was wiring money over. But the website didn’t provide me with the address of their Woori Bank account, so I was at a loss of what to do. Moreover, the school requires a bank statement or receipt to prove your transfer, which will take a week to send. So it was troubling for someone as last minute as me (deadline was 1st Apr and I was trying to transfer on 30th Mar D:) In the end I just mailed the carbon copy of the telegraphic transfer form I filled in. There are also bank charges, POSB charged me SGD$30 and Woori Bank charged SGD$23 for this telegraphic transfer. Can’t really remember the rates of other banks, but I remember that they were all about the same or even more expensive which was why I chose POSB. Also in recent years we can now do overseas funds transfer via i-banking, I haven’t really explored that yet but I think the charges are lesser than if you go do it at the bank.
With that, you are done with applications! The feeling is really, relief washing over you ^^ I remember walking out of the post office feeling as if I could float, because for the week leading up to the deadline I was rushing around after work to settle the application stuff. Lesson learnt: Start early not just on the essays and teacher’s recommendations, but the administrative stuff of application as well eg application fee!
If you intend to pursue a degree using Korean as the language medium, the university would expect a Level 4 at least on the TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean), and your certificate as proof. For more information on the test you can refer to their website here: http://www.topik.go.kr/jsp/hp/sub/subLocation.do?MENU_SEQ=201010401&UP_MENU_SEQ=2010104