The 10 best college K-dramas to watch right now
Everyone loves a really good high school K-drama now and then, but sometimes you want something that's still fresh and fun with a little more substance, and that's where college K-dramas come in. Here are 10 of the best K-dramas with characters dealing with the struggles and triumphs of college life!
Hong Seol (Kim Go Eun) isn't the smartest or most privileged university student, but she is without a doubt hardworking and earnest. In contrast, Hong Seol's senior, Yoo Jeong (Park Hae Jin), is a high achiever with the good looks, athleticism and grades to prove it — but he harbors a dark side. Even stranger, an unlikely alliance is forged between these two classmates from opposite sides of the track.
Sungkyunkwan Scandal is set in the famous Sungkyunkwan university, a 500-year-old establishment that exists to this day. Kim Yoon Hee is a brilliant young woman at a time that women are not allowed to attend the university. Supporting her family by doing odd jobs at a bookstore, she grows increasingly desperate at the hands of her family's debt. When her younger brother falls ill, she winds up entering Sungkyunkwan University disguised as a boy. Even though she'll certainly be beheaded if her true identity is discovered, Yoon Hee will do anything to help her brother. In school, she falls in love with Lee Sun Joon, the brilliant son of the Prime Minister. She is also befriended by Goo Yong Ha, a wealthy playboy, and street ruffian Moon Jae Shin. With all-male roommates, Yoon Hee will have to keep her wits about her so she is not found out in this fascinating look into Korea's most prestigious university. Micky Yoo Chun of top K-pop group TVXQ takes the lead in this drama based on a series of novels, while Park Min Young, Song Joong Ki, and Yoo Ah In round out the cast.
Musical prodigy Cha Yoo Jin (Joo Won) dreams of conducting orchestras, but despite his ambitions and international upbringing, he's begrudgingly stuck in South Korea because of a traumatic childhood accident. Cue Seol Nae Il (Shim Eun Kyung), a nutty classmate who eschews the rules and plays everything by ear, from music to life. Though initially repelled by her unrefined ways, Yoo Jin slowly discovers Nae Il is the unique melody to his harmony: combined, the two create a song that makes their hearts soar.
4. What's Up
Equal parts dark and uplifting, this compelling drama follows the lives of six freshmen as they cross paths and come together during the most important time of their lives. Jang Jae Hun is a high school dropout who roams the streets at night with his dubious best friends. He accidentally causes an accident that leads to the death of a stranger, who turns out to be singer Park Tae Hee's father. Park Tae Hee lives in the countryside with her grandfather, where she hones her talents as a musician. Meanwhile, Ha Do Sung composes songs in anonymity as rock star HADES. Having been abandoned at a young age by his ambitious mother, he tries to live quietly without drawing attention to himself. Kim Byeong Gun is the odd one out in his family of businessmen, wishing to pursue a career in music despite his debilitating fear of performing in front of others. Eun Chae Young is an experienced actress with a desire to prove herself on the musical stage, rather than as a movie actress with a pretty face. What she doesn't expect is to be challenged by Oh Doo Ri, an equally talented actress who would rather spend her time playing first-person shooter computer games than rehearse. These young adults end up together in the musical department of Haneul Arts University, and find themselves under the guidance of unconventional professor Sun Woo Young. With each passing day, they learn what it is to be a real star, and to prove to the people around them that they can succeed in their chosen paths.
Real-life rocker Jung Yong Hwa from Korean rock band CNBLUE plays Lee Shin, a college student majoring in modern music. A talented singer and guitarist, he is known for his good looks and passion for music. With a cold personality, he only cares about his music, uninterested in a traditional career or future. Shin is infatuated with a dance professor at his university, but this all changes when he meets Lee Kyu Won, a bright, outgoing student born into a prestigious family and majoring in traditional Korean instruments. Kyu Won's grandfather is one of the top traditional musicians of his age whose only wish is that his granddaughter will become a traditional music prodigy. Trying to live up to her grandfather's expectations, Kyu Won immerses herself in training and knows nothing besides traditional music. One day, Kyu Won's friends drag her to a concert to watch Lee Shin’s band, and she is instantly captivated by the man she sees on stage...
6. Twenty Again
Due to an unplanned pregnancy, Ha No Ra (Choi Ji Woo) married young and dropped out of school. But after two decades as a housewife, she finally gets the chance to experience college, alongside her 20-year-old son Kim Min Soo (Kim Min Jae) and his girlfriend Oh Hye Mi (Son Na Eun). Further complicating things, No Ra already has a strained student-teacher relationship, as her husband Kim Woo Chul (Choi Won Young) and her first love Cha Hyun Suk (Lee Sang Yoon) wind up being her professors.
Generation Y, meet Generation X: on the heels of the success of Answer Me 1997, ‘90s nostalgia continues with a prequel set in 1994. Journey with a group of college students as they discover the now legendary—then new—K-pop group Seo Taiji and the Boys, as well as the Korean Basketball League, "new" technology, and grungy fashion trends. Sometimes you’ve just got to look to your past in order to appreciate the present. Every generation is sure to find something to love in this field trip back into time!
8. Love Rain
From the famed director of the seasonal dramas Autumn in my Heart , Winter Sonata , Spring Waltz , and Summer Scent comes a new melodrama about young love in the 1970s, and in the present day. Jang Geun Suk ( You're Beautiful) and SNSD's Yoona ( 9 End 2 Outs ) star as the ill-fated lovers over two generations. Suh In Ha is a sensitive artist who falls in love at first sight with fellow college student Kim Yoon Hee. The two of them develop feelings for each other, but before they can do anything, In Ha's best friend Lee Dong Wook professes his love for Yoon Hee. Not wanting to ruin his friendship, In Ha takes a backseat and watches as the girl he loves gets farther away from him. Fast-forward to the present day Seoul, where In Ha's son Suh Joon meets and falls in love with Ha Na, Kim Yoon Hee's daughter. The children are completely different from their parents in personality, but fate pulls them together. Will they be able to stay together, and undo their parents' mistakes?
Im Seung Hee (Lee Young Ah) scribbles her days away in hopes of becoming a drama writer, but there are a few things holding her back from her big break: specifically, she’s broke and lives off of unemployment benefits. Things get tricky when Seung Hee’s first love, Kim Jong Dae (Nam Goong Min), ends up working at the benefit office, but this embarrassing encounter just may turn out to be the story of a lifetime. While it may seem that the trouble with being a writer is being a paid one, Seung Hee needs to learn a thing or two about the biggest hurdle of all: living a love story worth telling.
10. My Princess
A bubbly, enchanting romantic comedy featuring superstars Song Seung Hoon and Kim Tae Hee, My Princess is a real life Cinderella story. Sunny, stubborn college student Lee Seol has a fairly ordinary life. She squabbles with her adoptive family, has a crush on her good-looking professor, and works a part-time job as a decorative Korean "princess" at tourist events. Her life is turned upside down when she discovers that she is in fact a real princess, a blood descendant of the last emperor of Korea. With a large faction of the government pushing to turn Korea into a constitutional monarchy, she's quickly instated into the palace. Park Hae Young, a spoiled rich boy whose fortune will be lost if Korea's monarchy is restored, ends up assigned to tutor the Princess in etiquette and the two immediately clash. Hae Young devises a plot to save his fortune and make sure Lee Seol doesn't come to power, but soon he finds himself falling for her and his life becomes infinitely more complicated.
How many of these college K-dramas have you seen? Are you watching Cheese in the Trap? Do you love it like I do? Comment below!