Reasons for an EPIK Application Rejection

The internet will tell you that there’s no rhyme or reason to South Korea’s EPIK application rejections. But there’s some main things that are sure to get your application tossed and some others that are ‘red flags’ for them. Here are some reasons for an EPIK application rejection.

Medical Issues

If your medical issue is something you can definitely handle on your own, don’t put it down. If you medical isn’t immediately obvious in a routine, quick physical, don’t put it down. In fact, even if you do have these things I probably would not bother with the expense of putting in an application for EPIK – you’ll most likely be rejected. Their logic is that tons of people will apply and they can have their choice, so why wouldn’t they hire the healthiest teacher?

Mental Health 

Again, don’t put it down. A lot of nay-sayers on the internet will try to tell you that if you have mental health issues you shouldn’t be applying in the first place. I think this is nonsense, as it is completely dependent on the person’s situation. For me, travel went a long way towards helping with my depression. Yes, being an EPIK teacher is a tough job. If you hate children and have depression, well it’s probably not the job for you as the children will likely aggravate it. However, if you like children it can alleviate it. If you’ve been abroad before, the culture shock probably won’t be as strong. It’s why I pretty much recommend ‘trying out’ Korea for a week or two before signing up for EPIK if you possibly can. An EPIK application rejection can definitely be a result of being too honest, with their reasoning stated above.

Vegetarian? Vegan?

This probably won’t be a problem but if you already have red flags elsewhere in your application (haven’t been abroad, no prior work with children or in a teaching scenario) it can be seen that you won’t “fit in.” Of course this is nonsense, many EPIK teachers are vegetarian or vegan and frankly vegetables are incredibly cheap in Korea. However, be aware many things involve fish broth including soups, kimchi, and more so it’s not as ‘vegetarian friendly’ as it might first appear. It is more in the case of hagwans that this can be seen as more of an issue, I’ve heard.

Amount of Alcoholic Beverages

Similar to the case of vegetarians/vegans, this probably won’t be a problem unless it compounds with something else. A good standard number to put down is one or two. You can put down zero, but some places might see this as an unwillingness to conform. One of the best ways to say why, if asked in an interview, is to say you’re religious or on a diet.

Not Having a TEFL/CELTA

I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this but apparently some people didn’t read the EPIK website, or any of the thousands of blog posts/Youtube videos that explain this. It does not matter how much teaching experience you have, even at hagwans, you need a TEFL. If you have a teaching license, that is pretty much the only other option. Even then, TEFL certs are so easy, cheap, and quick to get I’d just get one anyways. Seriously. If you can’t bother to do two minutes of research I’d reject you too.


All of this can basically boil down to – unless they need to know, don’t tell them. I hope this can help you understand why you got an EPIK application rejection – don’t give up. Luckily there are many options for teaching in Korea and other countries in Asia. EPIK itself opens twice a year for applications so you don’t have to wait too long in-between 🙂 Good luck! I’ll have a post about the EPIK interview soon 🙂 If you’d like to check out my post on applying to EPIK, head on over 🙂

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