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 high school or University. This article will focus on the best Korean School Dramas to make you 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. Boys Over Flowers is a 2009 Korean drama about a poor girl named Jan-di who attends an elite high school for rich kids. She gets involved with the F4, a group of four wealthy boys who rule the school. The leader of the F4, Goo Joon-Pyo, is a cocky and arrogant boy who falls in love with Jan-di.
The Korean drama instantly turned Lee Min-ho into a KDrama superstar. The film might not be relatable for those in the west, but it gives you an authentic, in-depth look at how prestigious private schools in Korea function.
No. of Episodes: 25
Released Date: January 2009
It was a close call between Dream High and Boys Over Flowers. If you’re looking for a light-hearted, feel-good Korean drama series, you’ll want to check out Dream High. The show follows a group of students at an elite performing arts high school as they pursue their dreams of becoming K-pop stars. While the plot is admittedly predictable at times, the series is bolstered by solid performances from its young cast and some catchy tunes.
It was one of the first successful dramas showcasing high school students’ lives. It is hilarious and focused on K-pop and the dream of becoming the next Kpop Idol. In addition, it stars a K-pop superstar in Bae Suzy.
Dream High 1 is a drama for those interested in watching characters achieve their dreams. For those that are more into teen romance, Dream High 2 is the way to go. However, we think Dream High, the original, is the best.
No. of Episodes: 16 (+1 special)
Released Date: January 2011
The Heirs is a Korean drama that aired in 2013. It tells the story of a group of wealthy high school students who are preparing to take over their families’ businesses. The main character, Kim Tan, is the heir to a large conglomerate, but he falls in love with a poor girl, Cha Eun Sang. The drama follows their relationship as they struggle to maintain their love amidst the pressures of their families and society. The Heirs was a hit drama that received positive reviews for its storyline, acting, and cinematography.
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 massive success that they made a season 2!
No. of Episodes: 20
Released Date: October 2013
Korean webtoon turned Korean drama Love Alarm follows the story of a high school girl named Kim Jojo who develops a crush on a boy in her class named Sun-oh. But Jojo’s world is turned upside down when she downloads a new app called Love Alarm, which tells users when someone within 10 meters of them likes them. The catch? It only works if both people have the app installed. Suddenly, Jojo starts receiving notifications that Sun-oh likes her… but he insists that he doesn’t even know her!
Love Alarm is a fun, touching show that will leave you smiling (and maybe even tearing up) by the end. Love Alarm also has an official Love Alarm app created just for the drama.
No. of Episodes: 14
Released Date: August 2019
My ID is Gangnam Beauty
My ID is Gangnam Beauty aired in 2018. The story follows Kang Mi Rae, a girl bullied all her life for being ugly. She undergoes plastic surgery to transform herself into a beauty to escape her bullies. However, she soon discovers that plastic surgery doesn’t necessarily mean her life will be perfect. The drama was funny, heartwarming, and had plenty of twists and turns to keep viewers engaged. It was a great exploration of what it means to be beautiful and how outer appearances can influence our lives.
No. of Episodes: 16
Released Date: July 2018
Korean dramas are known for their interesting plotlines and controversial topics. Extraordinary You is no exception. The drama follows the story of a high school girl who discovers she is a comic book character. This revelation leads her to uncover the truth about her life and those around her. Once she realizes she is part of a story, she tries to 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
Cheese in the Trap is a Korean drama from 2016 to 2017. It’s based on a popular webtoon of the same name, and it tells the story of a college student named Hong Seol who gets caught up in the world of her wealthy and successful classmate, Yoo Jung. The drama was a huge hit, and it’s easy to see why.
The characters are compelling, the story is addicting, and the chemistry between the leads is undeniable. Those that want to understand the typical Korean college male student will find this drama fascinating.
No. of Episodes: 16
Released Date: January 2016
At Eighteen is a Korean drama that follows the life of a high school student named Oh Ji Soo as she navigates through the ups and downs of adolescence. This drama is about a lonely 18-year-old student. He is not very good at expressing his emotions but 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, she aims to become independent. After they meet, they both experience slight changes in their lives.
The drama is honest and relatable, covering topics like first love, friendships, and family relationships. Ji Soo is a strong female lead who is intelligent and independent but has her share of insecurities. The supporting cast is also well-developed, making At Eighteen an enjoyable watch from start to finish. If you’re looking for a coming-of-age story that will leave you feeling nostalgic for your teenage years, then At Eighteen is worth checking out.
No. of Episodes: 16
Released Date: July 2019
Cheer Up!, also known as Sassy Go Go, is a 2015 South Korean drama series directed by Lee Eun-beom. The drama follows the lives of high school students as they navigate through the ups and downs of adolescence and learn to deal with competition, friendship, love, and betrayal. The series is notable for its realistic portrayal of teenage life and its focus on teamwork and resilience in facing adversity.
This is one of the only Korean school dramas whose background revolves around cheerleading. The series is about the friendship and love of students in a high school cheerleading club. Many are dealing with the harsh educational system in Korea and focus heavily on competition. The students at the prestigious school must overcome their differences and work together to prove others wrong.
No. of Episodes: 12
Released Date: October 2015
Master of Study
Master of Study is a Korean drama that follows the story of a group of students trying to get into a prestigious university. It is also about a lawyer, 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. He focuses on one student and gradually gains his trust, and soon he becomes the best student in the class.
The drama focuses on the struggles and challenges that the students face as they try to prepare for their exams. It also explores the relationships between the students and their families and the competition between the students. The drama is heartwarming and inspiring, leaving you rooting for the characters as they try to achieve their dreams.
No. of Episodes: 16
Released Date: January 2010