When people think of Korean dramas, many think of melodramas, historical dramas, or romantic comedies. However, some of the best Korean dramas are based on teenagers, first loves, friendships, and overall school life whether it be high school or University. This article will focus on the 10 all-time best Korean School Dramas that will make your recall your teenage/young adult years. While Korean school life is much different than western school life, school life drama is still pretty much the same. Hopefully, these dramas will bring back fun memories from your high school/university experiences. The dramas were ranked by the SEOULSPACE staff so if you feel we got it wrong, please give your reasons below.
Boys Over Flowers
The best Korean School Dramas of all time can’t begin unless we start with Boys Over Flowers. It is the Korean drama that instantly turned Lee Min-ho into a KDrama superstar. The film might not be too relatable for those in the west but it gives you a real in-depth look at how prestigious private schools in Korea function. The series is about a girl from a poor family and a boy who is a part of a very rich/popular group in school called F4. The reason he is in F4 is that he is from one of the biggest conglomerate families in Korea. The girl from the poor family ends up winning the heart of the boy while at the same time showcasing one of the most memorable female characters in Korean drama history.
No. of Episodes: 25
Released Date: January 2009
It was a close call between Dream High and Boys Over Flowers. Dream High tells the story and dreams of young people who dream to become stars by attending an Art High School. It was one of the first successful dramas that showcased the lives of high school students. It is very funny and focused a lot on Kpop and the dream of becoming the next Kpop Idol. In addition, it stars a Kpop superstar in Suzy.
For those interested more in watching characters achieve their dreams, Dream High 1 is the drama for you. For those that are more into teen romance, Dream High 2 is the way to go. However, in our opinion, Dream High the original is the best of the two.
No. of Episodes: 16 (+1 special)
Released Date: January 2011
The series follows a group of rich privileged high school students as they are about to take over their family’s business empires. Lee Min-ho also is in this drama and plays a wealthy heir to a large Korean company. He will soon have to choose between the woman he loves or pursuing the family business. The drama was such a huge success that they made a season 2!
No. of Episodes: 20
Released Date: October 2013
Korean webtoon turned Korean drama Love Alarm is about a high school student that is both pretty and smart. She is not from a wealthy family as her parents have passed away and now she is living with her aunt. There is a popular student at her school who is the son of a wealthy family. However, he does not get love from his family. His best friend ends up falling for the girl and he soon realizes he also has feelings for her as well. Love Alarm also has an official Love Alarm app that was created just for the drama.
No. of Episodes: 14
Released Date: August 2019
My ID is Gangnam Beauty
This is a story about a woman living a new life through plastic surgery. She got plastic surgery after getting bullied because of her looks. She attends her university after her new look as a beautiful girl. Soon her pretty looks start to go to her head and soon other students tease her based on the fact that she got plastic surgery. Thankfully she meets a former schoolmate in middle school that helps her recover her self-esteem and understand what true beauty really is.
No. of Episodes: 16
Released Date: July 2018
Extraordinary You is about a high school girl who realizes that she is a supporting character inside a romance mango called Secret. Once she realizes she is a part of a story, she does her best to try and change the fixed story of her love and life. The series does a great job of blending school life with fantasy. In addition, it has one of the cutest high school love stories around. Extraordinary You is based on the Daum Webtoon called July Found by Chance.
No. of Episodes: 32
Released Date: October 2019
Cheese in the Trap
Another Korean webtoon turned Korean Drama tells the story of a female college student who is the only one who saw the real true self of her sunbae. This seemingly perfect guy hides a dangerous nature which he is able to hide behind his sweet smile. Those that want to understand the typical Korean college male student will find this drama fascinating.
No. of Episodes: 16
Released Date: January 2016
This drama is about a lonely 18-year-old student. He is not very good at expressing his emotions, but he has a cute and fun side. He ends up transferring to a new school where he meets a girl who is the top student in her class. However, her life is controlled by her mother. Therefore, her aim is to become independent. After they meet they both experience small changes in their lives.
No. of Episodes: 16
Released Date: July 2019
This is one of the only Korean school dramas where the background revolves around cheerleading. The series is about the friendship and loves of students in a high school cheerleading club. Many are dealing with the harsh educational system in Korea and focus heavily on competitions. The students at the prestigious school must overcome their differences and work together in order to prove others wrong.
No. of Episodes: 12
Released Date: October 2015
Master of Study
The story is about a lawyer who was once a former bike gang member who takes a position as a high school teacher. He ends up teaching a group of third-rate students who he has to get into prestigious Korean universities. However, he doesn’t just focus on their bad grades but also on improving their outlook in life. He focuses on one student and gradually gains his trust and soon he ends up being the best student in the class.
No. of Episodes: 16
Released Date: January 2010