Alleviating your concerns about studying and living in Japan.
Useful information for living in Japan.


Roads to Study in Japan

Roads to Study in Japan
There are many ways to making your way into an educational institution in Japan. This article outlines several possibilities.

Which Path to Take?

The pursuit of higher education is a noble one and there are several ways to do it in Japan. However, before attending a college, university, or even a technical school, one must consider not only their eligibility but also the means by which they can gain admission.
Here we will discuss different roads to admission into a Japanese institute of higher education, some of the processes that may be involved, and the advantages and disadvantages to each route:

You can choose one of the following places to start the journey:

  1. Japanese Language Schools
  2. Domestic Admission
  3. Pre-Arrival Admission
  4. University Study Abroad Programs


Japanese Language School

Language schools are exactly what the name implies, institutions at which to study a language. Whether you’re a complete beginner or have several years of studying under your belt, studying at a language school might be a good place to start if you’re thinking about studying at a college or vocational school in Japan.

Language schools can be found all over Japan. Admission requirements and applications processes differ from school to school. If you plan to enroll in a preparatory Japanese language course, you will need to have completed at least 12 years of schooling in your home country. If you meet this requirement, you may contact your school of interest, request application materials and go from there. After you complete your studies, you can apply to a Japanese school and take any necessary entrance examinations.

Advantages to this road:

  • No prior knowledge of Japanese is necessary to enroll.
  • Programs can range from 6 months to 1 or 2 years giving you time to strengthen your Japanese.
  • Your time at the language school will also serve to acclimate you to living in Japan.
  • Being in Japan makes it easier to gather information about schools.
  • Some language schools are partnered with trade schools and universities making it easier to advance into a degree or certificate program.

Disadvantages to this road:

  • It can be expensive. Not only will you be paying for your time at the language school, but you will also be responsible for the cost of your continued education after program completion.
  • If you are not admitted into a school after graduation, you may have to return to your home country.


Domestic Admission

Whether you live in Japan or abroad, you can always request application materials and tickets to sit for entrance examinations. If you do not live in Japan, you will need to travel to Japan during examination periods after submitting your application. You will return to your country after the test and fly back to Japan to start your studies if you are granted admission. If you are applying to an undergraduate program or vocational school, you will need to have completed 12 years of education in your home country (16 years for graduate programs).

Advantages to this road:

  • Assuming your Japanese level meets your program requirements, preparatory Japanese language study may not be necessary saving time and money.
  • You have an opportunity to see the school before arriving.
  • If planned well enough and you hold an appropriate visa type, you may be able to change your visa status to that of a student after passing the entrance exam and completing enrollment procedures.
  • If you do not pass the exam, you can wait for the following exam period in your home country.

Disadvantages to this road:

  • Prior knowledge of Japanese required.
  • It might be difficult to apply from abroad. You may need to ask an acquaintance or relative living in Japan to assist with your application.
  • If you are applying to multiple schools, you may have to take multiple examinations. This might require multiple trips to Japan, costing time and money.


Pre-Arrival Admission

Many colleges and universities accept the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) in place of their own entrance examinations. This test can be taken abroad (except for China) which makes it easier to complete school application processes from your own country. If the institution you are applying to accepts the EJU, take the test before applying to the school and proceed with the process as instructed.

Advantages to this road:

  • No need to travel to Japan until the test and application process are finished.
  • In most cases, there is no need to take an additional entrance exam.
  • If accepted to a school, you can start your studies immediately after arriving in Japan saving time and money.

Disadvantages to this road:

  • Some schools do not accept the EJU.
  • Prior knowledge of Japanese required.
  • No opportunity to see the school before arriving.


University Study Abroad Program

If you are already enrolled in a degree program in your home country, you may be able to participate in a study abroad program through your school. Consult your institution’s study abroad office for more information.

Advantages to this road:

  • Prior Knowledge of Japanese may not be required.
  • An entrance examination may not be required.
  • You can have the experience of living and studying in Japan while working towards a degree in your home country.
  • Some schools offer dual-degree programs allowing you to earn a Japanese degree in addition to a degree in your home country.
  • You may be able to use financial aid and scholarships from your home institution towards your time in Japan.

Disadvantages to this road:

  • Most programs allow for only one year in Japan.
  • You may have a limited selection of classes.
  • When you may start may not align with term start dates at your home institution which may result in late graduation.


The Choice is Yours

Whatever road you choose to take to study in Japan, application, test, and visa requirements differ. Be sure to consult the institution that you are interested in for more details. Though the road may seem long and difficult, it is not impossible. With the right amount of research and preparation, you can be on your way to starting your education in Japan very soon!


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