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10 College K-Dramas We Love

10 College K-Dramas We Love

I had to follow up our 10 High School K-Dramas We Love listicle with a college one! That’s because college/university can be a completely different experience! You go from living with your parents, and having to ask permission for most things to learning how to live on your own and being the master of your own schedule. It’s an exciting time, but it can also be scary and filled with uncertainty, because you’re trying to figure out who you are and what you want to do with the rest of your life.

Below are 10 K-Dramas that examine this experience, and show how it can vary.

#1. Age of Youth (Alternate title: Hello, My Twenties!)

10 College K-Dramas We Love

Starring: Han Ye-ri, Park Hye-su, Han Seung-yeon, Ryu Hwa-young, and Park Eun-bin

Plot: Yoo Eun-jae (Park Hye-soo) moves from the countryside to the city for her freshman year of college. She boards a house called the Belle Epoque with four other girls, and together they go through the ups and downs of college life.

Thoughts: The first season of this drama gutted me. It captured the homesickness, sleepless nights, and stress of college perfectly, and I felt for each girl. Especially Jin-myung. She made me cry. It was also heart-warming to see the girls’ friendship develop into something strong. I recommend Age of Youth to everyone, but it’ll definitely hit different if you’re in college.

Where to watch: Netflix

#2. Law School

10 College K-Dramas We Love

Starring: Kim Myung-min, Kim Bum, and Ryu Hye-young

Plot: Yang Jong-hoon (Kim Myung-min) is a criminal law professor and former top-tier prosecutor. Most students steer clear of him, because he’s harsh, but the determined and the brave are drawn to him. Kim Bum plays a first year law student by the name of Han Joon-hwi who gets wrapped up in a complicated murder case with the rest of the other students.

Thoughts: I reviewed Law School, and loved it! It blended drama, suspense, and college life well. I learned a bit about Korea’s legal system too.

Where to watch: Netflix

#3. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo

10 College K-Dramas We Love

Starring: Lee Sung-kyung & Nam Joo-hyuk

Plot: Loosely based on the life of Olympic gold medalist Jang Mi-ran, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo is about a young athlete whose dream is to win gold at the Olympics. During Bok-joo’s downtime, she’s a normal college girl with a big appetite and a crush. When she meets swimmer Jung Joon-hyung (Nam Joo-hyuk), she has to figure out if she can have both love and her dreams.

Thoughts: This drama was so wholesome! I was glued to my screen from beginning to end, and I was rooting so hard for Bok-joo. Even in romance dramas, it’s always nice when the female lead has a goal outside of love, so to see Bok-joo working so hard to get to the olympics was inspiring. And weightlifting isn’t something you see often in shows, so it was interesting to learn more about it. Especially from a female athlete’s perspective.

Where to watch: Viki

#4. My ID is Gangnam Beauty

10 College K-Dramas We Love

Starring: Im Soo-hyang & Cha Eun-woo

Plot: Kang Mi-rae (Im Soo-hyang) has always been bullied for her looks, so she decides to get plastic surgery so she can have a fresh start in college. She ends up meeting Do Kyung-suk (Cha Eun-woo), an old classmate that prioritizes what’s on the inside instead of what’s on the outside.

Thoughts: This was a cute little drama with a great message about inner beauty. It’s also got an awesome soundtrack!

Where to watch: Viki

#5. Reply 1994

10 College K-Dramas We Love

Starring: Go Ah-ra, Jung Woo, and Yoo Yeon-seok

Plot: Sun Na-jung (Go Ah-ra) is a university student whose parents run a boarding house for other students. Among them are Sseureki (Jung Woo), a medical student, and Chilbong (Yoo Yeon-seok) star pitcher of Yonsei University’s baseball team, and neighborhood heartthrob.

As is customary with the Reply Series, the drama jumps between 1994 and 2013 to see who Na-jung eventually marries.

Thoughts: It’s a cultural gem loved by both domestic and international drama fans, because it’s so good. I’m not gonna lie, it took me a few tries to get into this installment, but once I did I loved all the characters and couldn’t wait to see who Na-jung would end up with.

Where to watch: Netflix and Viki

#6. Go Back Couple

10 College K-Dramas We Love

Starring: Jang Na-ra & Son Ho-jun

Plot: Ma Jin-joo (Jang Na-ra) and Choi Ban-do (Son Ho-jun) are on the verge of a divorce. After fourteen years of marriage, they despise each other and regret getting married young. One morning they wake up and realize that they’re twenty-years-old again. They decide to take advantage of this second chance, and make different choices. But will that truly make them happy? Or will they find their way back to each other?

Thoughts: I didn’t think much of this drama when I first started it, but it ended up being really meaningful. If you’re looking for something that’ll make you think about life, and make you feel grateful, this is it.

Where to watch: Viki

#7. Cheese in the Trap

10 College K-Dramas We Love

Starring: Kim Go-eun, Park Hae-jin, Seo Kang-joon, Lee Sung-kyung, and Nam Joo-hyuk

Plot: Hong Seol (Kim Go-eun) is a hard-working college student from a poor family. Her life takes a turn for the worse when she figures out Yoo Jung (Park Hae-jin) a kind, good-looking upperclassman is actually a master manipulator. The fallout causes her so much stress, she takes a year off school, but when she returns, Yoo Jung is surprisingly nice to her. He even goes as far as asking her on a date! Is his kindness real this time or will Hong Seol get hurt again?

Thoughts: There are a lot of dramas with cold or mean male leads, but this is the first one I saw that acknowledged that the male lead might actually have a mood or personality disorder. It felt different, and it was interesting to watch Seol and Yoo Jung’s relationship develop. Especially since I couldn’t predict what would happen. Unfortunately, the ending was kind of a disaster that outraged everyone, but I enjoyed the first 80% of the show so much, I just had to include it.

Where to watch: Netflix and Viki

#8. Sungkyunkwan Scandal

10 College K-Dramas We Love

Starring: Park Yoo-chun, Park Min-young, Song Joong-ki, and Yoo Ah-in

Plot: Kim Yun-hee (Park Min-young) has worked herself to the bone to support her family ever since her dad died. Now her brother is sick, and her family’s on the verge of getting evicted. To keep a roof over her family’s head, Yun-hee takes the entrance exam to the prestigious Sungkyunkwan University in her brother’s place. At this point in time, it’s a men’s only university, so she dresses like one and hopes for the best.

Thoughts: A lot of people forget about this drama, but it’s technically a college themed drama— just in a different time period. The characters are lovable, and Park Min-young has chemistry with just about every guy on the cast. It’s a cute, light watch with a mystery subplot running through the drama.

Where to watch: Viki

#9. Heartstrings

10 College K-Dramas We Love

Starring: Park Shin-hye & Jung Yong-hwa

Plot: Lee Kyu-won (Park Shin-hye) is a student at a music university majoring in traditional Korean music. Her grandfather is one of the top musicians in the country, so she studies hard to live up to his expectations. One day her friends drag her along to see a band called “The Stupid”, and she becomes captivated by the lead singer Lee Shin (Jung Yong-hwa). He’s also a university student, but is stoic and doesn’t care about anything but music.

Thoughts: Heartstrings was many people’s introduction to Korean dramas. It wasn’t mine, but I still have a soft spot for it, because of the Shin-hye/Yong-hwa coupling.

Where to watch: Viki and Kocowa

#10. Nevertheless

10 College K-Dramas We Love

Starring: Han So-hee & Song Kang

Plot: After a horrible relationship and break up, Yoo Na-bi (Han So-hee) no longer trusts love or believes in fate. But when she meets Park Jae-eon (Song Kang), she finds herself drawn to him even though he likes to flirt, but isn’t looking for a relationship.

Thoughts: So…at the time of writing this listicle, there are still two episodes of this drama left, but right now it’s one of my favorite college-themed K-dramas. This might be a controversial take, because honestly, it’s such a frustrating drama, but that’s why I like it. Real life is frustrating, people are frustrating, and relationships are frustrating. It’s a realistic drama that touches on things like miscommunication, gaslighting, and making decisions you know aren’t good for you. It’s also shot beautifully and has a great OST.

There’s a chance Nevertheless may be kicked off my faves list though, and that’s if it doesn’t end the way the webtoon ends.

Where to watch: Netflix

There you have it! Drama Milk’s favorite college-themed dramas. Did you see any you liked or any that mirrored your college experience?

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  1. October 31, 2021 / 11:56 pm

    Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo Is an Absolute Must Watch..

  2. Steph
    December 5, 2021 / 2:39 am

    My ID Is Gangnam Beauty is one of my absolute favorites! I’m still so touched by it every time I re-watch it! Recommend it to anyone who’s dealt with insecurities about their looks!

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