The school year is pretty much officially over, and given the circumstances, it’s been hectic, emotional, and confusing for a lot of students. For those of you who are looking for some normalcy and escaping from the world – with a little added romance and drama, here are some fun college-based K-dramas to check out. Bring on the summer vacation!
Kang Mi Rae (Im Soo Hyang) has always been self-conscious about her physical appearance. It affects her so much that she decides that getting plastic surgery is the only way that she can live her life. On the first day of University, Mi Rae becomes excited to start her new life, but she runs into Do Kyung Suk (Cha Eun Woo), a very handsome and popular boy that she used to go to elementary school with. Kyung Suk recognizes Mi Rae pretty quickly and he starts to realize that his feelings for her are more than just that of surface level.
This drama has all the first day jitters of college along with an adorable romance with the very handsome Cha Eun Woo. It’s a light-hearted series that has sismance, a love triangle, and family love vibes. You’ve definitely got nothing to lose by watching this one! And again, with Cha Eun Woo as the main lead, you can’t go wrong.
You can start watching “My ID Is Gangnam Beauty”:
2. “Cheese in the Trap”
“Cheese in the Trap” is based on the successful webtoon written by Soonkki. The story involves college students who get entangled in a love triangle. Kim Go Eun plays Hong Seol, Park Hae Jin plays Yoo Jung, and Seo Kang Joon plays Baek In Ho.
Yoo Jung is the first to confess his feelings to Hong Seol, and without putting much thought into it, she accepts his confession and they start to date. Meanwhile, Seol has gotten very close to In Ho, who is Jung’s sworn enemy. Seol is constantly caught in the middle and this acts as a huge stress factor for her.
Hong Seol is a character that many college students could probably relate to. She tries her hardest in everything she does, never asks for anything from her family, and works hard to make them happy. She studies incredibly hard to get good grades in school so that she can become successful. And while doing this, she tries to maintain a somewhat good relationship with her boyfriend. It’s such a realistic drama that you’ll find yourself totally sympathizing with her!
Watch “Cheese In The Trap”:
3. “Age of Youth”
Yoon Jin Myung (Han Ye Ri), Jung Ye Eun (Han Seung Yeon), Song Ji Won (Park Eun Bin), Yoo Eun Jae (Park Hye Soo), and Kang Yi Na (Ryu Hwayoung) are five roommates who are all very different but all have dreams that they want to achieve. Each girl deals with her own issues, and somehow, the five of them find a way to help each other when one of them is struggling. They develop a strong and beautiful bond even though they have no common ground.
“Age of Youth” is one of those K-dramas that is often overlooked, but it really shouldn’t be. It’s got so many aspects to it that makes it such a great college series. First off, each of the female leads are all so unique and bring such different personalities to the table. You oddly find yourself being drawn to all of them and have this sense of just wanting them to all figure things out. It makes you have hope for the future and also gives you the confidence that even though things might not be going as planned, everything will eventually turn out ok.
Kim Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung) is not your conventional K-drama character. She’s in college with dreams of becoming a weightlifter. She is raised by a single father who owns a fried chicken restaurant. On a random day, she happens to bump into Jung Joon Hyung (Nam Joo Hyuk), who goes to the same college as her. He is training to become a swimmer but has some things he wants to figure out. The two of them become really good friends and eventually have feelings for each other.
One of the best parts of this particular drama is that it deals with an unconventional K-drama female protagonist who aspires to be a weightlifter. She’s also dealing with the pangs of heartbreak for the first time and struggles with depression as a result of it. With all the obstacles Kim Bok Joo goes through, you really want her to make it out okay. She’s a heroine that is impossible not to love and not to root for!
Catch the first episode of “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo”:
5. “Reply 1994”
Sung Na Jung (Go Ara) has been in love with her childhood friend, Sseureki (Jung Woo), for as long as she can remember. Her parents use their home as a hostel-like place for University students, so when she meets several other students, it pushes her to confess her feelings to Sseureki. Things get complicated when one of the students she meets is an aspiring baseball player by the name of Chilbong (Yoo Yeon Seok). A very intense and passionate love triangle then ensues between the three.
Na Jung is a regular college girl who is just trying to get by doing the best she can, and in the process, she values her friendships and family. The series really deals with every aspect of a student’s life when they are in college, which makes it a well-rounded story that tugs at every heartstring. You’ll seriously be laughing one minute and bawling the next. You’ll also appreciate all the various characters and their unique personalities!
Start watching the first episode of “Reply 1994”:
6. “Queen of the Ring”
Ahn Hyo Seop stars as Se Gun, a handsome college student who happens to fall in love with Nan Hee (Kim Seul Gi), another student whom he thinks is his ideal girl. What he doesn’t know is that she isn’t who she seems, as she holds some magical ring that hides her true identity.
Nan Hee is a girl who happens to fall for a really good-looking guy, but she’s too self-conscious to approach him. Her character is one that can be found a lot in the college world – a girl who thinks she’s not good enough for the popular boy. But the lesson of this drama is a good one at that: never judge a book by its cover. Se Gun gets to know Nan Hee under her disguise and finds that he really connects with her. And when the magic wears off and he sees her true face, he still finds her attractive. It’s like a fairy-tale dream come true!
7. “Bring It On, Ghost”
Based on the webtoon, “Bring It On, Ghost” is about Park Bong Pal, (Taecyeon) who has the ability to see ghosts. He takes on random jobs to steer ghosts on in order to save enough money to get an operation that will take this unique ability away. He runs into Kim Hyun Ji (Kim So Hyun) who is a ghost and she hangs onto Bong Pal because she believes he can help her figure out why she’s still a ghost.
This drama is an adorable romance that brings two polar opposites together. One being a human and one being a ghost, the two find a way to be with each other even though it seems like an impossible situation. The struggles that Bong Pal goes through may not seem relatable, but internally, he deals with the issues of loneliness, abandonment, and not wanting to be a burden. This all changes when he meets Kim Hyun Ji and finds purpose with her.
Start watching “Bring It On, Ghost”:
“Heartstrings” stars Jung Yong Hwa and Park Shin Hye in a college romance. Lee Shin (Jung Yong Hwa) is the lead singer and guitar player of a band while Lee Kyu Won (Park Shin Hye) majors in traditional Korean music. Kyu Won ends up falling in love with the band leader but he doesn’t seem to be interested. When Shin eventually does notice Kyu Won and falls in love, Kyu Won is faced with the decision of choosing between her dreams and love.
“Heartstrings” is a bit different from the other college K-dramas on this list as it takes place in an arts school. There really isn’t a character, story, or scene in this drama that is boring. And if you’re into hearing some K-pop idols bust out a tune, you’ll be thoroughly entertained with this drama. You also get to see these two real-life good friends have some serious chemistry!
Catch the first episode of “Heartstrings”:
9. “Go Back Couple”
“Go Back Couple” is about a married couple named Ma Jin Joo (Jang Na Ra) and Choi Ban Do (Son Ho Jun) who have outgrown their love for each other. They are parents but are often found fighting about everything and resenting each other. At the moment when they are both feeling heartbroken and hopeless, the two wake up and find that they have traveled back in time to when they were college students. They discover that they are able to re-do their pasts and vow to avoid each other at all costs this time around. But somehow fate brings them together.
The drama doesn’t start off in college, but with the time-travelling aspects, Ma Jin Joo and Choi Ban Do are able to travel way back in time to when they were in college. The drama is pretty hysterical as their college years are set back in the ’90s, so it’s got a very retro-y vibe. The haircuts, fashion, sayings, and lack of technology is pretty funny to watch! And aside from the funny moments, the drama also touches on the value of family and marriage.
Start watching “Go Back Couple”:
10. “When My Love Blooms”
It’s love at first sight when Yoon Ji Soo (Lee Bo Young) first meets Han Jae Hyun (Yoo Ji Tae). He rescues her when she gets caught in the middle of an intense protest. From this point on, Ji Soo makes it a point to try and win Jae Hyun’s heart. She’s persistent in her love for him, and he eventually starts to have feelings for her too. After an unfortunate situation, Ji Soo is forced to break up with Jae Hyun, but the two reunite many years later. As adults, they realize that their feelings for each other never really disappeared.
“When My Love Blooms” is a beautiful romantic tale and you’ll love the flashback aspect of the drama as it’s got a nostalgic and sweet vibe to it. The cast is also all very good-looking, which makes for quite the easy watch. You also have veteran actors playing the main leads, Yoo Ji Tae and Lee Bo Young, so you really can’t go wrong!
Start watching the first episode:
Hey Soompiers, which of these is your favorite college K-drama? Let me know in the comments below!
binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG. She is also the author of “K-POP A To Z: The Definitive K-Pop Encyclopedia.” Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!
Currently watching: “My Unfamiliar Family,” “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” and “Heart Signal 3”
All-time favorite dramas: “Secret Garden,” “Goblin,” “Because This Is My First Life,” “Star In My Heart”
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen