Spotlight on South Korea: U.S. education recruitment trends

A Korean student on campus

More students around the world are considering the United States as their first choice destination for higher education, including students from South Korea.

Here, we look at recent trends and insights to explore how American universities can deepen their understanding of South Korean student choices, make meaningful connections and broaden access to learning experiences that will match these talented students’ ambitions.

The U.S. has regained appeal for South Korean students

But traditional perceptions are being disrupted

  • South Korea's technological advancements create an inspiring environment for learning and the opportunity for industry connection.
  • The rising prestige of universities in their own and nearby countries, present South Korean students with a growing number of attractive options close to home.
  • While universities in western countries beyond the US do have long long-established reputations of excellence, many modern institutions have emerged in the previous decades.

So how can universities in the U.S. enhance their global reputation and communicate their relevance to South Korean students?

At Study Group we combine a deep understanding of regional educational landscapes with our equally deep understanding of our university partners. Our local-global presence enable us to matchmake international students to the universities, programme and experience that aligns with their educational pursuits and long-term career goals.

Insights from the ground in South Korea

We asked 50 of our top agents in South Korea for their insights on the US as a study destination and what holds most appeal for local students in 2024. Here are five key takeaways from that work:

  1. Recognise Korean academic credentials: consider recognising the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) and other Korean academic qualifications as valid entry requirements.
  2. Balance ranking and affordability: ensuring a balance between academic prestige and affordability is crucial when it comes to welcoming South Korean students, who are mindful of both when considering a university’s accessibility. Scholarships and financial aid are helpful ways to communicate an institution’s commitment to student aspirations.
  3. Expanding Computer Science programme specialities: with a growing interest among South Korean students in specific computer science majors, U.S. universities could explore programme diversification. Data Science, Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence were the three most requested Computer Science majors.
  4. Promoting psychology programmes: 20% of postgraduate program applications from South Korea focus on psychology. Universities may wish to consider enhancing their psychology major content to attract more South Korean students.
  5. The more detail the better: South Korean students typically base their educational decisions on a much higher level of detail compared to those from other countries. They seek explicit information, such as comprehensive semester-by-semester study plans and daily schedules for events like orientation. Universities that can furnish this degree of specificity for each stage of the educational journey are likely to hold and grow a strong reputation with South Koreans.

Key insights for adapting to South Korean student needs

Study Group is committed to providing insights and support to educational institutions aiming to connect with a diverse community of international students.

For further discussion on how a strategic partnership with Study Group can assist you in engaging with prospective students from South Korea and beyond, please contact us.