EPIK: Recruiter vs. Applying Directly

For anyone who is considering, or will soon be beginning, the process of applying to EPIK (English Program in Korea) I hope that this can be useful in some way.

For everyone else, I’m sorry this is pretty much completely irrelevant. More interesting content to follow as I move out of the country in less than a month. 19 days actually. Holy cow. Yea, let’s just move on shall we?



You’ve decide to move to South Korea to teach! Congrats! I have absolutely no advice for you as to whether that was a wise life decision or not, seeing as I haven’t actually gotten there yet. But what I do have is a wealth of information about how to apply to EPIK. Because I have done it, not once (even though once would be enough to make you pull you hair out) but twice. 

And while there are many many things I could discuss about the EPIK Application process, (which I might at a later date) the thing I want to go over today are the differences between applying to EPIK using a recruiter vs. applying directly. Let’s begin, shall we?


Recruiter vs. Direct


The jury is still out as to whose fault it was that I didn’t make it into the Fall 2016 intake, but I maintain that it was not my fault. Actually I don’t really think it was anyone’s fault, but waking up to an email out of the blue from my recruiter telling me “thanks for all your hard work collecting documents and wading through bureaucracy, but you’re too late. They’re not giving placements any more.” (Okay, no he didn’t really say it exactly those words.)

But I digress. I applied to the Fall 2016 intake for EPIK through a recruiting company called Reach to Teach and up until that rather unpleasant email, I had a perfectly enjoyable experience with them. My recruiter was very helpful and personable. Even now I don’t entirely blame them for what happened. It was because I declared two minors at the end of my junior year of college and needed an extra summer semester to finish the classes before I graduated. So I graduated in June, and therefore got my diploma in July and by that time it was pushing it. Again, not my fault exactly, and not theirs either.

However. Having done the entire process once more, this time by applying directly to EPIK, I would highly recommend that.

I think the appeal of using a recruiter comes from a fear of EPIK, which I understand. The application comes off as incredibly detailed and their requirements incredibly strict. I thought that by using a recruiter it was like having an extra set of eyes to double-check that I had done everything right. And while that’s true, it’s not exactly necessary. If you need to change something on your application EPIK will tell you. They even give you a specific email address to use if you have any questions.

Then if you make it to the interview, the person who interview’s you becomes your EPIK coordinator. And if you pass the interview they are the person who you will continue to be in contact with for the rest of the process.

My EPIK coordinator has been far more helpful, timely, and honest with me than my recruiter ever was.

And of course, arguably, the biggest reason to apply directly is that you will find out your placement way before the people who use recruiters. I had all my documents prepared super early and ended up getting my placement on the very first day that they started telling people. (For us that was December 14th.) But here we are 28 days away from the first day of orientation and there are still people who haven’t been told where they are going to live!

So it isn’t that there aren’t benefits to applying with a recruiter, it’s that there are NO drawback to applying directly! All the support you want from a recruiter is available from EPIK directly and you get the advantage of finding your placement out way sooner.



I hope this was helpful to someone! If anyone is starting to think about applying to the next EPIK intake let me know! I’d be happy to help in any way that I can!

Thanks, have a lovely day!! ^^

10 thoughts on “EPIK: Recruiter vs. Applying Directly

  1. Hi Devon! ‘m currently filling out an application for EPIK, and am working with Korvia Consulting. If I were to apply with EPIK directly, even this late from the March 1 opening date, would I still be able to find my placement sooner? Thanks for your input!


    1. Hey Lindsey! As far as I understand it, you will always find out sooner from EPIK than from a recruiter. The timing of when you find out your placement also has to do with when you submit your visa documents, not when you submit your application. We had a group chat for all the american applicants during my intake and I remember when we all started getting out placements the people who went through recruiter didn’t star hearing until about two weeks or so after everyone else. That was just my experience though! If you get all your stuff in early though it shouldn’t matter too much! Good luck with everything!!


  2. Hi! I’m gearing up to apply to EPIK directly on August 1st and I’m already into piles of lists of things to do and documents to acquire. But for the first step—applying to EPIK, we just need the actual app forms, scanned letters of recommendation and a professional looking picture (which doesn’t technically need to be a passport/visa app photo) right? The sealed transcripts, apostilled diploma, etc. all come after passing interviews? Also, I’m working on my 140hr TEFL right now, but do you know if I need to get anything from the course provider to fill in the initial EPIK app? Thanks so much for your insight!!


    1. Hey! As far as the TEFL no you know need anything specifically form them to fill out the app! I hadn’t technically finished mine until much after I applied so it’s all good. Yes those are the only things you need! And you’re correct the picture doesn’t have to be a passport one. Mine was a picture my mom took of me against a white wall when we were on vacation lol. Just make sure you look professional!
      Let me know if you have other questions! I don’t know everything for sure but I did the whole process twice so I do know a bit lol. Do you know what province you’re going to apply for?


      1. Thanks! I’m hoping to get into Daejeon like yourself! It would definitely be my ideal location, so I’m going to get that application in as soon as EPIK starts accepting them!


      2. It’s really the perfect location! And at least during my take hardly anyone put it as their preference so if you do, there’s a really high chance you’ll get it. Good luck with everything!


  3. Hi!
    I notice you said that you got your placement before even heading off to orientation. I was wondering if they recently started doing that this year? I’ve always been under the impression that you find out on the very last day of orientation since that’s what everyone has been talking about online, so I was just curious! Glad to hear that you’re having a great time 🙂


    1. Hi! Yes, sorry if that was unclear!! So you receive your “placement” as in the city that you will be living in before you get to Korea. That’s the only information you get before coming.
      But you’re right it isn’t until the last day of orientation that you get all of the details, like your school, neighborhood, and main co-teacher. Many people’s co-teachers reach out to them on facebook or email before orientation is over so sometimes you can know earlier. But often times you do have to wait until the last day. Hope that helps!

      Liked by 2 people

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