Japanse college admission system


Hello everyone! I recently gave a presentation about japanese college admission system at my toastmaster course. Some of you were very supportive..and thank you so much for all your kind words and support. I hate talking in front of people or even just to again attention jut to let you know. Anyways it was about time to I prepared for the speech and just got it done with on Monday. Phew…

American College Admission System

Education is important in America and in Japan as well. I am often surprised by helicopters parents who literally go everywhere for their kids to find the right collect for them..this is a story in America. I work in student affairs so I just happen to know these things. Back to the topic, Education is important in both countries but I notice the significant between American college admission system and Japanese college admission system. In America, Overall GPA, STD scores, letters of recommendation, volunteer experiences are all important factors as part of the student’s application package. But for Japanese university, they are almost always reply on entrance examination scores to select who would be admitted to their university. There are two types of four year college in America. The first one is Private college. It is a privately funded university and the second one is National University. National University is basically the same thing as a public university. The difference is that each state (each prefecture in Japan) has only one 4-year national college and these universities are considered more prestigious than private university except for top private schools such as Waseda and Keiou University in Tokyo. So A lot of high school students apply for Kokkouritsu (国公立)university (national university) and they are prepared to take nationally administered center test and also the second test is administered by the University and its department, division or program but the most crucial fact here is that students have to meet the cut-off line which is set by the universityof their choice.

-What are the consequences?

You can imagine Japanese high school students being subjected to enormous pressure to do well because the entrance examination dates are set and students don’t have any control over it. Usually students work tirelessly for three years (high school is 3 years in Japan) and they have one shot to prove themselves that they are qualified to get into the university of their choice. It’s a lot of pressure because in America, for example, universities do look at your overall GPA and there is not centralized university entrance exam..it is rather SAT so system is a little different.

Then another concern is..what if they get sick? Well, supposedly there are makeup exam and stuff like that but Makeup exam which is supposed to cater people who didn’t do well the first time or disabled, or sick but this exam is far more challenging than the original one usually and if you screw it up on makeup exam, universities will choose the makeup test over the original test regardless of the scores.  So it kinds of defeats the  purposes.

So what’s the point of all of these?

Japanese people are extremely concerned about the name of the university you, your family, son, daughter are graduating from? Yes so it is definitely a prestige that is driving Japanese people to study hard to get into a top ranking university.

Another big key is that Japanese society has practiced life time employment traditionally and it is changing because companies cannot afford to hire and provide extensive training for a new graduates without any work experience

But traditionally large companies such as Sony, Honda, Tokyo, Panasonic, Microsoft Japan, Soft Bank, major investment firms…all these companies to massive recruitment events which target new graduates of students who are about to graduate from tokyo University, Kyoto University, Osaka Uiversity, Waseda University….all the famous universities so the list will go on 🙂

So once again, your value is determined by the name of the university you are graduating from and if you didn’t go to one of elite schools, there is almost no chance for you to be hired by these mega companies. But this is a traditional aspect and i might be wrong.

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