For new K-Drama fans, it is often hard to make a great watchlist from scratch. You most probably ask your friend’s opinions or read online reviews to make your selection, but that is probably not enough to decide your next drama.
K-Dramas have plenty of genres. This time, we listed romance dramas set in school and university. We made a selection of the best teen romance and campus romance. If you are a K-Drama beginner, you might want to look out for the dramas that suit your taste the most among our selection. For K-Drama addicts, you probably have watched all the dramas listed below, if not it is time to add them to your watchlist.
If you are looking for more romance recommendations, you check our previous recommendations: best romantic comedy, best romance historical, best action-thriller romance, and best fantasy romance.
Note: This is not a ranking. The article was first published in June 2019 and updated twice (in October 2020 and August 2021).
1. “My ID Is Gangnam Beauty”
Cast: ASTRO‘s Cha EunWoo, Im SooHyang, Kwak DongYeon, Jo WooRi
Summary: The story of a woman living a new life through plastic surgery. She meets Do KyungSuk at the college, while everyone thinks that appearance is important, he thinks differently. She will learn what real “beauty” is.
For: Viewers looking for a campus romance questioning what is “beauty” with a swoon-worthy main couple.
Why watch?: This campus romance has an interesting theme on “what is real beauty”. The plot mainly focuses on romance and other issues of university students, making the whole story very interesting. The main couple’s chemistry is one of the best. It is a must-watch!
2. “Weightlifting Fairy Kim BokJoo”
Cast: Nam JooHyuk, Lee SungKyung
Summary: It tells the dreams and love story of students in the college of Sports.
For: Viewers looking for the sweetest and the most hilarious campus romance.
Why watch?: This drama is just too good to miss! The female lead is a bubbly weightlifting athlete and the male lead is a soft swimmer. This true OTP created this perfect romantic comedy with their perfect chemistry! This drama gave birth to one of the legendary K-Drama lines, “Do you like Messi?”.
3. “Who Are You: School 2015”
Cast: Kim SoHyun, BTOB‘s Yook SungJae, Nam JooHyuk
Summary: A youth drama that tells the story of an 18 years old high school girl who’s life completely changed suddenly as well as the students surrounding her.
For: Viewers looking for a mysterious and exciting teen story.
Why watch?: This drama is a must for young viewers. Kim SoHyun’s acting is perfect in this teen drama. The plot and the love triangle also made it worth watching. There is no wonder why this 2015 drama of the “School” series was popular.
4. “Dream High”
Cast: Suzy, Kim SooHyun, 2PM’s Ok TaecYeon, Ham EunJung, Jang WooYoung, IU
Summary: It tells the love story and dreams of young people who desire to become stars by attending an Art High School.
For: Viewers looking for a heart-fluttering high-school romance with a music theme.
Why watch?: It might be an old drama, but the story is easy to watch and completely addictive. If you like K-Pop and dramas about singers, this drama might be for you. Suzy and Kim SooHyun couple’s chemistry is unforgettable.
5. “Boys Over Flowers”
Cast: Ku HyeSun, Lee MinHo, Kim HyunJoong, Kim Bum, Kim Joon
Summary: The love story of a girl from a poor family and a boy from one of the largest conglomerates family who attends the same private high school.
For: Viewers looking for a hit high school love story.
Why watch?: There are many reasons why this drama is worldwide popular (and not only the Korean version). Even after all these years, “Boys Over Flowers”‘s plot and cast are still worth watching. The handsome F4 and the fierce female character created this memorable drama with famous scenes.
6. “The Heirs”
Cast: Lee MinHo, Park ShinHye, Kim WooBin
Summary: It tells the love and friendship stories of wealthy high school students.
For: Viewers looking for an addictive cliché teen K-Drama.
Why watch?: There are two types of “The Heirs” viewers: those who loved it and those who hated it. “The Heirs” is entertaining and filled with K-Dramas clichés but that is for the best. If you are looking for an emotional rollercoaster and cheesy drama, don’t miss this one.
7. “A-Teen 2“
Cast: APRIL‘s Lee NaEun, Kim DongHee, Golden Child‘s BoMin, Kim SooHyun, Ryu EuiHyun, Kang MinAh, Shin YeEun, Shin SeungHo
Summary: The web drama is about the worries and love stories of teens. The changes that the main characters are going through by changing from 18 to 19 years old. They are going through a lot with the preparation of the CSAT (college entrance exam) and this comes with a lot of choices to be made.
For: Viewers looking for a cute teen love story reflecting Korean students’ worries.
Why watch?: It is a web drama of excellent quality. The story is engaging and has a slow pace. The love story and school worries of the characters are interesting (feat. handsome actors). All in all, the drama is definitely worth watching.
8. “To the Beautiful You”
Cast: Sulli, SHINee‘s MinHo, Lee HyunWoo
Summary: It tells the story of a girl pretending to be a guy who entered an all-boys physical education high school.
For: Viewers looking for a funny and easy-to-watch teen story.
Why watch?: The drama is a bit old. However, the whole drama’s light-hearted atmosphere and laughable circumstances make it likable. You will find yourself falling for the characters and laughing out loud. SM Entertainment stan might want to look at this drama as various idols appear.
9. “Orange Marmalade”
Cast: Yeo JinGoo, AOA‘s SeolHyun
Summary: An emotional fantasy romance drama taking place in a world where vampires and humans co-exist.
For: Viewers looking for a high school story with vampires.
Why watch?: If you like dramas with vampires and cute school love stories, “Orange Marmalade” might be for you. There are few K-Dramas about vampires, and this one stands out. Even if the script was a bit unorganized, the interesting overall plot took over.
10. “Cheese in the Trap”
Cast: Park HaeJin, Kim GoEun, Seo KangJoon, Lee SungKyung
Summary: A romance thriller that tells the story of a female college student who is the only one who saw the real true self of her sunbae. This perfect guy is hiding his dangerous nature behind a sweet smile.
For: Viewers looking for an unusual campus story.
Why watch?: Many have divided opinions about this drama. The two main male characters are quite unusual because of the way they think. They are different from other dramas’ characters and make viewers try hard to understand them. That is the charm of this drama making you curious until the end.
11. “Extraordinary You“
Cast: Kim HyeYoon, SF9‘s RoWoon, Lee JaeWook, APRIL‘s Lee NaEun, Kim YoungDae, Jung GunJoo, Lee TaeRi
Summary: It tells the story of a girl who realizes that she is a supporting character inside a romance manga named “Secret”. She tries to change the fixed story for her love and life.
For: Viewers looking for a swoon-worthy couple with fantasy and mysterious elements.
Why watch?: If you are looking for one of the best romance dramas with a high school background, this is for you! The drama has eye-candy leads and a fun lead female character in a story full of fantasy and mysteries. You will get quickly addicted and captivated. If you like cute and innocent love stories, this is even more recommended for you.
12. “Love Revolution”
Cast: Park JiHoon, Lee RuBy, THE BOYZ‘s YoungHoon, Jung DaEun, WJSN‘s DaYoung, Ko ChanBin, Ahn DoGyu
Summary: “Love Revolution” tells the love story of the couple Gong JuYoung and Wang JaRim while depicting the teen’s lives realistically with their love, friendship, study, and dream.
For: Viewers looking for a hilarious plot and an innocent love story of high school students.
Why watch?: The main reason to watch this Kakao TV web drama is the lead character Gong JuYoung, the cutest and cheesiest boy in the world. He is crazy in love with Wang JaRim, a cold high school girl, and will do everything to win her heart. As you can expect from such a storyline, their love story will be full of unexpected and funny events. Moreover, all their friends have an essential part in the fun of the drama. It is light and hilarious.
13. “True Beauty”
Cast: Moon GaYoung, ASTRO’s Cha EunWoo, Hwang InYoup
Summary: It tells the romantic comedy story of JuGyeong who has a complex about her appearance and turns into a goddess thanks to makeup and SuHo who keeps hidden scars. The two met and by sharing their secrets, they grow and restore their self-esteem.
For: Viewers looking for a heart-fluttering high school romance and a focus on self-esteem.
Why watch?: It is a must-watch! This school story is relatively light with an addictive love story (feat. tons of heart-fluttering scenes) and numerous entertaining scenes. However, it also has its darkness. The female lead is harshly bullied for her looks, and she lost her self-esteem (to mention just a few of the issues in this drama).
14. “At A Distance, Spring is Green”
Cast: Park JiHoon, Kang MinAh, Bae InHyuk, CLC’s Kwon EunBin, Woo DaBi, Choi JungWoo
Summary: It tells the real struggles of people in their 20s and the issues of university students. At a distance, their youth seems beautiful, but if you look at it closely it is harsh.
For: Viewers looking for friendship and romance stories with characters with painful and sad stories.
Why watch?: This drama perfectly mixes two opposite feelings in its plot. It is sad because the drama highlights the painful wounds of each of its characters and the real hardship of university students (it is realistic). Despite having an overload of darkness, the drama isn’t all gloomy and dark. At the same time, it is bright with an adorable romance, cute friendships, and likable characters who grow together.
You can also recommend to readers through the poll and the comments. (Note that “Love Revolution”, “True Beauty” and “At A Distance, Spring is Green” were added around 11 months later than the other dramas in the poll)