For Korean families, sending their children to the right high school is one of the most important decisions they will make. A student’s high school can set them on the path to a top university, and ultimately determine their career prospects.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The top high schools in Korea are Seoul Science High School, Seoul Foreign School, Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies, and more. Korea’s top schools excel in math and science while also offering a well-rounded liberal arts curriculum.

In this comprehensive guide, we will outline the 10 best high schools in Korea based on academic performance, university admissions, international curriculum offerings, extracurricular activities, and more.

We’ll also overview the Korean education system and analyze what makes these schools stand out.

Background on the Korean Education System

The Korean education system is renowned for its emphasis on academic excellence and rigorous standards. Education is highly valued in Korean society, and students face intense competition from an early age.

The system is known for producing high-achieving students who consistently perform well on international assessments.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @yeohae_06

Key Features of Korean High Schools

Korean high schools operate on a three-year cycle, with students typically entering high school at the age of 15. The curriculum is structured and demanding, with a focus on core subjects such as mathematics, science, social studies, and Korean language.

In addition to academic subjects, students also participate in extracurricular activities, including sports, music, and arts.

One unique feature of Korean high schools is the emphasis on discipline and respect for authority. Students are expected to comply with strict rules and regulations, and teachers have significant authority in the classroom.

This hierarchical structure is believed to instill discipline and prepare students for the competitive nature of Korean society.

The College Entrance Exam

The college entrance exam, known as the “Suneung,” is a crucial milestone for Korean high school students. This exam determines which universities students can apply to and has a significant impact on their future career prospects.

The exam covers a wide range of subjects, including Korean language, mathematics, English, and science.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Academia chingu (@academia_chingu)

The pressure to perform well on the college entrance exam is immense, as it is seen as a gateway to success. Students often spend countless hours studying and attending cram schools to prepare for the exam.

The competition is fierce, with limited spots available at prestigious universities, leading to high levels of stress and anxiety among students.

High School Rankings

High school rankings are closely watched in Korea, as they are seen as a measure of a school’s academic performance and reputation. Several organizations and publications publish annual rankings based on factors such as college entrance exam scores, university acceptance rates, and student achievement in various academic competitions.

It is important to note that rankings are not the sole indicator of a school’s quality, and there are many factors to consider when choosing a high school. However, they can provide valuable insights into a school’s academic standing and help parents and students make informed decisions.

One reputable source for high school rankings in Korea is the Korean Educational Development Institute (KEDI), which conducts comprehensive evaluations of schools and publishes rankings based on their findings.

Their rankings take into account various factors, including academic performance, extracurricular activities, and teacher qualifications.

Top 10 High Schools in Korea

1. Seoul Science High School

Seoul Science High School is renowned for its exceptional academic programs and rigorous curriculum. It focuses on nurturing students’ passion for science and technology, producing some of the top scientific minds in the country.

The school provides state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge research opportunities, allowing students to explore their scientific interests to the fullest.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Zachary Tan (@zachietanky)

2. Seoul Foreign School

Seoul Foreign School offers a diverse and inclusive learning environment for both Korean and international students. With a comprehensive curriculum that combines academics, arts, and athletics, the school strives to develop well-rounded individuals.

The dedicated faculty and staff provide personalized attention, ensuring that each student receives the support they need to succeed.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Yvonne (@moline_seoul)

3. Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies

Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies is known for its strong emphasis on language learning and international studies. The school offers a wide range of language programs, including English, Chinese, Japanese, and more.

Students have the opportunity to engage in cultural exchanges and develop a global perspective, preparing them for future success in an increasingly interconnected world.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Johnny W. Kim (@purial)

4. Gyeonggi Suwon International School

Gyeonggi Suwon International School is committed to providing a holistic education that fosters academic excellence, character development, and global citizenship. The school offers a challenging curriculum, including Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and encourages students to actively participate in extracurricular activities.

With a focus on critical thinking and problem-solving skills, Gyeonggi Suwon International School prepares students for the challenges of the 21st century.

5. Korea International School

Korea International School is dedicated to providing a world-class education that promotes academic achievement, personal growth, and social responsibility. The school offers a rigorous curriculum, including International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, and encourages students to pursue their passions and interests.

With a strong emphasis on community service, Korea International School instills in its students a sense of compassion and a commitment to making a positive impact on society.

6. Chadwick International School

Chadwick International School is known for its innovative approach to education and commitment to fostering creativity and critical thinking skills. The school offers a project-based learning environment, where students are encouraged to explore their interests and collaborate with their peers.

With a focus on interdisciplinary studies, Chadwick International School prepares students for the challenges of an ever-changing world.

7. Branksome Hall Asia

Branksome Hall Asia is a prestigious all-girls school that offers a rigorous academic program and a supportive learning environment. The school promotes leadership development, empowering young women to become confident and capable leaders in their chosen fields.

With a focus on global citizenship and community engagement, Branksome Hall Asia prepares students to make a positive impact on the world.

8. North London Collegiate School Jeju

North London Collegiate School Jeju is a highly respected international school that combines British education with global perspectives. The school offers a challenging curriculum, including the prestigious International Baccalaureate (IB) program, and provides a nurturing and inclusive learning environment.

With a focus on academic excellence and personal growth, North London Collegiate School Jeju prepares students for success in a rapidly changing world.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by NLCS Jeju (@nlcs_jeju)

9. Dulwich College Seoul

Dulwich College Seoul is committed to providing a well-rounded education that emphasizes academic excellence, character development, and personal growth. The school offers a rigorous curriculum, including the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, and encourages students to actively participate in sports, arts, and community service.

With a strong sense of community and a commitment to holistic education, Dulwich College Seoul prepares students for a successful future.

10. Dwight School Seoul

Dwight School Seoul is known for its unique educational approach that combines the best of Eastern and Western pedagogies. The school offers a comprehensive curriculum, including the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, and provides a supportive and inclusive learning environment.

With a focus on personalized learning and a commitment to developing global leaders, Dwight School Seoul prepares students for success in an increasingly interconnected world.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Dwight School Seoul (@dwight_seoul)

How Korean High Schools Achieve Excellence

Korean high schools are renowned for their commitment to academic excellence and their ability to produce top-performing students. Let’s explore some of the key factors that contribute to their success.

Rigorous Academics

Korean high schools are known for their rigorous academic programs that prioritize a strong foundation in core subjects such as math, science, language arts, and social studies. Students are pushed to excel in their studies, and the curriculum is designed to challenge them and foster critical thinking skills.

This emphasis on academic rigor helps prepare students for the competitive college entrance exams.

After-School Studying

In addition to the regular school day, many Korean high school students participate in after-school study sessions known as “hagwons.” These private tutoring academies provide extra support and focused instruction in specific subjects.

Students often spend long hours at hagwons, reinforcing their learning and seeking additional help from experienced teachers. This dedication to after-school studying helps students deepen their understanding of the material and improve their academic performance.

Focus on Math, Science, and Technology

One of the reasons Korean high schools achieve excellence is their strong emphasis on math, science, and technology education. These subjects are considered crucial for future success and career prospects, leading to a greater investment of time and resources in these areas.

Korean high schools often have well-equipped science and computer labs, and students are encouraged to participate in science fairs and competitions. This focus on STEM education helps students develop strong problem-solving skills and prepares them for the demands of the modern workforce.

College Preparatory Focus

Korean high schools have a strong college preparatory focus, with the goal of helping students gain admission to prestigious universities. The curriculum is designed to align with the requirements of college entrance exams, and students receive guidance and support in their college application process.

Teachers and counselors work closely with students to help them identify their strengths and interests and choose the right path for their future. This college-focused approach motivates students to strive for academic excellence and prepares them for the competitive college admissions process.

Choosing the Right Korean High School

Choosing the right high school is a crucial decision for students and parents alike. In Korea, where education is highly valued, selecting a high school that meets your academic and personal needs is of utmost importance. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a Korean high school:

Consider Academics and Curriculum

Academics should be a top priority when selecting a high school. Look for schools that offer a rigorous curriculum and have a track record of academic excellence. Consider the range of subjects offered, the quality of teachers, and the availability of advanced placement or international programs.

Korea Educational Development Institute (KEDI) is a highly regarded institution that provides valuable insights into the academic performance of Korean high schools. Their website,, offers data and rankings that can help you make an informed decision.

Research University Admissions

If you have aspirations of attending a prestigious university, it’s important to choose a high school that has a strong track record of sending students to top universities. Look for schools that have a high college acceptance rate, especially at universities known for their academic rigor.

QS World University Rankings is a reputable source that provides rankings and information on universities worldwide. Their website,, can help you identify the universities where graduates from specific Korean high schools have been accepted.

Evaluate Extracurriculars

Extracurricular activities play a significant role in a student’s overall development. Consider the variety and quality of extracurricular programs offered by potential high schools. Look for opportunities in sports, arts, community service, and clubs that align with your interests and passions.

Check if the school has a strong track record of success in extracurricular activities and if they provide support and resources for students to excel in their chosen pursuits.

Factor in Location and Boarding

The location of the high school is another important aspect to consider. Determine whether you prefer a school in a bustling city or a serene countryside. Consider if you will be commuting or if boarding facilities are available.

Boarding can provide a unique experience for students, fostering independence and offering a more immersive educational environment. Look for schools that offer safe and comfortable boarding facilities, if that is a priority for you.

Remember, choosing the right high school is a personal decision that should align with your academic goals, interests, and aspirations. Take the time to research and visit prospective schools, talk to current students and parents, and consider all the factors that are important to you.

By making an informed decision, you can set yourself up for success and a fulfilling high school experience.


While intensely competitive, Korea’s education system produces some of the highest performing high school students in the world. For those looking to challenge themselves academically and gain admission to top local and international universities, Korea’s best high schools offer an unparalleled springboard.

By understanding the Korean system and identifying schools with standout academics, university placement, and programming, you can make an informed choice to find the right fit.

Similar Posts