SKY (universities)

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SKY is an acronym used to refer to the three most prestigious universities in South Korea: Seoul National University, Korea University, and Yonsei University.[1] The term is widely used in South Korea, both in media broadcast and by the universities themselves.[2][3]

In South Korea, admission to one of the SKY universities is widely considered as determining one's career and social status.[4][5] Many of South Korea's most influential politicians, lawyers, physicians, engineers, journalists, professors, and policy makers(bureaucrats) have graduated from one of the SKY universities.


Institution Type Location Established Nickname Undergraduate enrollment Postgraduate enrollment Motto
Seoul National University National Daehak-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 1946 Gwanak Cranes 16,325 (2010)[6] 10,616 (2010)[6] Veritas lux mea
The truth is my light
진리는 나의 빛
Korea University Private Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 1905 Anam Tigers 27,272 (2013)[7] 10,345 (2013)[7] Libertas, Justitia, Veritas
Freedom, Justice, Truth
자유, 정의, 진리
Yonsei University Private Sinchon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 1885 Sinchon Eagles 18,588 (2009)[8] 10,498 (2009)[8] The truth will make you free.
(John 8:32, NRSV)
진리가 너희를 자유케 하리라
(요한복음 8:32)


National recognition[edit]

In 2010, it was reported that 46.3% of high government officials and 50% of CEOs of major financial industries were graduates of SKY universities.[9] Also, over 60% of the students who passed the 2010 Korean Bar examination were graduates of SKY universities.[10] Being admitted in one of these universities typically requires students to be within 1% of the Korean College Scholastic Ability Test (the Korean equivalent to the SAT's) which means that these universities have acceptance rates as low as 2%.


There have been a number of SKY university students who have dropped out of school to protest against South Korea's overheated academic elitism.[11]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]