Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to the most common questions relating to admissions eligibility, document requirements, tuition and fees, and student life.

Eligibility and Documentation
Who can attend an international school in Korea?

Korean citizens who have lived abroad for a minimum of 1,095 days (3 years) and foreign nationals are eligible to apply to international schools. However, please note that less than 10% of Korean citizen applicants are accepted to YISS.

What eligibility documentation is required for a non-Korean citizen to apply to an international school in Korea?

Category 1: Non-Korean - applies if both parents hold non-Korean passports and are not ethnically Korean

  • No additional documentation is required for the application process.
    • If accepted, a digital copy of both parents' Alien Registration Cards, Diplomatic IDs or SOFA stamps will be required during the registration process.
What eligibility documentation is required for a non-Korean citizen, who is ethnically Korean, to apply to an international school in Korea?

Category 2: Korean Ethnicity - applies if one or both parents hold non-Korean passports AND one or both parents are ethnically Korean

  • Korean Family Registry - Digital copy of the original Korean Family Registry or Deleted Korean Family Census Register (does not need to be translated).
    • If accepted, an original copy of the Korean Family Registry or Deleted Korean Family Census Register will be required at the applicant's orientation appointment. View a Sample Family Registry.
What eligibility documentation is required for a Korean citizen to apply to an international school in Korea?

Category 3: Korean Citizens - applies if both parents are Korean citizens or dual citizens (one being Korean)

  • Korean Family Registry - Digital copy of the original Korean Family Registry
    • If accepted, an original copy of the Korean Family Registry will be required at the applicant's orientation appointment. View a Sample Family Registry.
  • Certificate of Entry and Exit for the Applicant - Digital copy of the Certificate of Entry and Exit for the applicant. The certificate should be issued from applicant's birth date to current date. If the applicant holds dual citizenship, a certificate is required for each passport. This document is issued by the Seoul Immigration Office.
What eligibility documentation is required for a Korean citizen, who is grandfathered in under past eligibility requirements, to apply to an international school in Korea?

Category 4: Transfer from international school within Korea

  • Official Letter from Current School and any Previous International Schools - letter must state that the applicant was enrolled and attending prior to March 1, 2010 and what eligibility was met upon enrollment
  • Prior Eligibility Documents - provide a digital copy of all documents that were used to meet former admissions requirements
Where can I collect required Korean documentation?

To collect Korean documentation, you may visit any district (gu) office in Seoul.

What is prioritized in the admissions process?

Yongsan International School of Seoul is open to students of all nationalities. However, because the school cannot admit all applicants, priority for admissions is applied as follows: (1) applicants of families who are foreign residents in Korea; (2) all other applicants based on qualitative criteria to help determine the match between the students' abilities and needs and the school’s resources and capabilities.

Other criteria considered within these categories include:

  • English language proficiency
  • Student records from previous schools
  • Parent's employment by a company with direct investment in Korea
  • Teacher's recommendation
  • Number of years in an English-speaking school environment
  • Family language background
  • Extracurricular excellence
  • Any additional factors deemed relevant by YISS

YISS does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, or national origin but does strictly adhere to the laws and regulations governing the operation of international schools in the Republic of Korea and reserves the right to administer selective enrollment when deemed necessary, proper, and in the best interest of the school.

How old does my child have to be to enter YISS kindergarten?

Applicants for kindergarten must be age five (60 months) by September 30 of the academic year of entrance.

Which grade should my child apply to if currently attending a school not using the U.S. system?
Age before October 1 U.S. System British System Key Stage Australian Indian
5 Kindergarten Year 1 Key Stage 1 Kindergarten Kinder 2
6 Grade 1 Year 2 Year 1 Standard 1
7 Grade 2 Year 3 Key Stage 2 Year 2 Standard 2
8 Grade 3 Year 4 Year 3 Standard 3
9 Grade 4 Year 5 Year 4 Standard 4
10 Grade 5 Year 6 Year 5 Standard 5
11 Grade 6 Year 7 (Form 1) Key Stage 3 Year 6 Standard 6
12 Grade 7 Year 8 (Form 2) Year 7 Standard 7
13 Grade 8 Year 9 (Form 3) Year 8 Standard 8
14 Grade 9 Year 10 (Form 4) Key Stage 4 Year 9 Standard 9
15 Grade 10 Year 11 (Form 5) Year 10 Standard 10
16 Grade 11 Year 12 (Lower 6th) Key Stage 5 Year 11 Standard 11
17 Grade 12 Year 13 Year 12 Standard 12

In most cases, students coming from schools with a different calendar (e.g., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, India) will continue in the same grade level when they enter YISS and will not be allowed to skip ahead.

Academics and Programs
Is YISS an accredited educational institution?

Yes. YISS is fully accredited by both the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and is recognized by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education (SMOE). Students who attend YISS are easily able to transfer to schools and universities in other countries.

What type of curriculum program does YISS offer?

YISS offers an academic course of study based on the U.S. educational model. At the high school level, YISS has an enriched college preparatory curriculum offering a range of Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

How do you hire teachers and what are their backgrounds?

YISS faculty are hired after completing a rigorous interview and evaluation process. Each applicant is interviewed by the principal to whom the teacher is responsible and the headmaster. Eighty-six percent of YISS faculty are from North America. All teachers possess the minimum of a bachelor’s degree, over 50% hold master’s degrees, and they average 10 years of teaching experience. Teachers at YISS are certified in their content area and receive two weeks of special training to help prepare them for teaching in an international context.

Is YISS a Christian school?

Yes. YISS a part of the Network of International Christian Schools. While YISS recruits Christian educators, our student body is comprised of students from many varying faith backgrounds and more than 50 countries.

Are all students required to take Bible class and attend chapel?

No. YISS offers two programs for students. Students in the NICS program attend Bible class and weekly chapel, while students in the Oasis program attend character education and/or philosophy class and weekly assembly. Our Oasis program is reserved for students who are actively practicing a faith other than Christianity. Within the application you will have the opportunity to select which program you prefer for your child.

What are your average class sizes?

Elementary School: Kindergarten classes have 14-15 students and 1st-5th grade classes have 20-22 students.
Middle School: The average class size is 20 students.
High School: The average class size is 14 students.

What foreign languages do you offer?

Elementary School: Korean or Mandarin
Middle School: Korean, Mandarin, or Spanish
High School: French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, or Spanish

What standardized tests do you administer?

YISS administers the following standardized tests:

  • NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Test: 2nd-8th Grades
  • ERB Writing Assessment Program (WrAP) Test: 6th-12th Grades
  • AP Tests: 10th-12th Grades
  • PSAT: 10th-11th Grades
  • SAT I & II: 11th-12th Grades
Where do graduates attend university?

YISS graduates gain admission to many of the world’s most prestigious universities including Columbia, MIT, Princeton, Seoul National University, and Stanford. Review our complete list of colleges & universities.

Are there any services available for English language learners (ELLs)?

English language learners (ELLs) can participate in an instructional program for non-native speakers of English. The program helps students attain a certain level of English proficiency in the areas of speaking, listening, reading, and writing, bringing them to the appropriate academic level. YISS offers the program to a limited number of students each year. Students' English language abilities will be assessed during the admissions process.

Are there any services available for special needs students?

Learning support services are offered to meet the diverse learning needs of our student population, specifically those students who require additional services in order to be successful in the mainstream classroom. This includes specialized class instruction from our learning support teachers in the areas of mathematics and reading. YISS is also one of the few authorized schools in Asia, and the only school in Korea, to provide the Arrowsmith Program for students with learning difficulties and other cognitive impairments.

Admissions Testing
Do students in kindergarten through 4th grade have to provide test scores?

Grade K-4 applicants should provide standardized test scores, if available, at the time of application. Otherwise, the applicant may need to complete onsite testing at YISS. If testing results are not provided, but are required, YISS Admissions will contact you after your application has been completed.

What standardized test scores do you accept for 5th-12th graders?

Grade 5-12 applicants are required to provide a copy of recent standardized test results to complete an admissions application. The following are test results currently accepted: Stanford (SAT), MAP, TerraNova, ERB, ISEE, OLSAT, SSAT, PSAT, SAT, ITBS, STAR, US State Standardized Tests.

Where can the applicant take a standardized test for 5th-12th grades?

If a student in grades 5th-12th does not have a recent test result, we recommend the the ERB ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam).

ERB-ISSE

Open Test Sites are offered at many locations throughout the year in the US. You may also register online to take the test at a domestic or international Prometric Testing office. Fees range from $105 - $185, depending on the type of testing center.

YISS ISEE School Code: 682450

Teacher Recommendations
Do I need to ask my child’s current school for a paper recommendation?

No. When completing the online application, you will provide the email addresses for the applicant's current teacher(s), and YISS will send an electronic recommendation form directly to the teacher(s).

Does it matter which teachers’ information we provide?

Yes. For students applying to Grades K-6, please provide the email address of his or her homeroom teacher. For students applying to Grades 7-12, please provide an email address for the applicant’s current Math and English teachers.

Wait Pool
Why was my application placed in the wait pool?

Qualified applicants who are not accepted due to space availability are placed in our wait pool and will be considered if spaces become available. YISS strives to maintain a balance in gender and diversity and to ensure academic success and availability of needed programs or classes.

Does space become available during the school year?

Students may withdraw at various times during the school year. If and when a space becomes available, the admissions office considers all students in the wait pool and selects an applicant that best complements the class.

Is the wait pool chronological? Does it matter when I apply for my child?

No, the wait pool does not have a chronological or predetermined order based on order of receipt of application. Consequently, the admissions office cannot provide numbers for students in the wait pool or predict availability as our numbers can change daily. However, we will try to be realistic with families about their chances of being admitted in a certain grade at a particular time.

How often do I need to update the applicant’s school records while in the wait pool?

If you continue to have a strong interest in your child’s acceptance during the school year, it is important to keep the application current by sending recent school records as they become available. In the event of a mid-year vacancy, immediate decisions can be made only on complete and current files.

Is the wait pool maintained from year-to-year?

No. The wait pool is maintained for the applying year only. All applicants who are interested in any subsequent year must reapply.

Tuition and Fees
Is there an application fee?

Currently there is no set fee charged at the time of application. There is an Application Processing Fee charged upon acceptance. Applicants required to sit for an admissions interview or test will be charged the Application Processing Fee, whether or not the applicant is accepted.

What are the tuition and fees?

A comprehensive list of tuition, fees and financial information is available for 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.

When is payment due upon acceptance?

Once an applicant is accepted, all tuition and fees are due by the designated due date on the acceptance letter to secure a space.

Why are there separate tuition charges in USD and KRW?

While the Korean Won (KRW) is the primary currency of operations for YISS, substantive expenses related to curriculum, educational supplies, technology, insurance, and other items are paid for in US Dollars (USD). The USD portion of the tuition allows YISS to properly plan for such expenditures.

What is the capital development fee?

YISS takes great pride and care of the facilities in which we operate. The capital development fee allows YISS to offer and maintain the highest quality educational and activity spaces for our students.

What does the technology fee include?

Technology fees supplement the costs of classroom or student-assigned devices, technology labs, software applications, internet and network infrastructure, along with continuous technical service and support.

How does our tuition compare to international schools in the area?

Each year, as part of our annual budgeting process, YISS compares our tuition against that of comparable international schools in Seoul. We continue to be pleased that, depending upon the grade level, YISS’ tuition and fees are consistently substantially lower than other schools.

Student Life
What are your school start and end dates?

The academic calendar consists of 180 instructional days, made up of two 18-week semesters, each divided into nine-week marking periods. YISS traditionally begins the school year in mid-August and concludes in early-June. Our school observes nearly all official Korean holidays and American Thanksgiving. Most years, there is a Fall Break near Chuseok, a three-week vacation at Christmas, and a week-long Spring Break. For more information, view the Event Calendar.

What are your school hours?

Kindergarten to 5th Grade: 8:00 a.m.. – 3:00 p.m.
6th Grade to 12th Grade: 7:50 a.m. – 3:10 p.m.

Who makes up the student body?

YISS has an enrollment of 1,000 students representing over 50 different countries. The largest population of the school holds citizenship in the United States (53%) while Korean citizenship belongs to the second largest group of students (17%). About 60% of our students are of Korean heritage with the remaining 40% of non-Korean origin. Parents of YISS students include employees of international and local corporations, foreign embassies, and Korean universities.

What type of bus transportation services are offered to students?

YISS provides over 20 morning and afternoon routes throughout Seoul for a set annual fee. Learn more at Bus Transportation.

What school lunch options are available for students?

YISS offers two hot-lunch menu options: 1) Korean menu and 2) International menu. The meals and menus are carefully planned and prepared by trained and experienced staff and provide a nutritious and healthy option for our students. YISS also offers a variety of a-la-carte items for purchase by middle and high school students. Learn more at Cafeteria & Food.

Are school supply kits or lists published for students?

Student supply kits are available for purchase at the beginning of each year in the YISS Guardian Store. Additional supplies, school uniform polo shirts, and school spirit items are also on sale during the year.