Preparing for Higher Education in Japan

Higher education consists of education in universities, technical schools and graduate schools, and each has different application requirements.

Getting into Universities

The Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) is required for those who would like to apply to study in Japanese universities.

This exam is conducted locally and internationally in June and November every year; the application deadline for EJU is 3 to 4 months before the exam date. Admission for the April intake of the following year in some universities (such as Waseda University) will be based on the exam results in June, as such preparations would be required from a fairly early stage. Do take note that more and more institutions are adopting to use the results in June for their application.

It is also important to prepare for the non-Japanese subjects (mathematics, science, general subjects) in EJU. Each subject has a wide range of syllabuses, and is often different from what you learnt at high school in your home country, thus it is recommended that you start preparing early through doing past year questions.

Other preparations required for EJU are English and interview practice.

For English, TOEFL and TOEIC scores are often required. TOEFL is required for most national university exams.

You may fail to meet the deadline for your university application if you do not take note of the examination schedule and the results announcement schedule. Most universities conduct interviews in Japanese as well. In order to not end up giving standard answers like those stated in the manuals, it is a good idea to practice communicating in Japanese through various activities while studying in a Japanese language school. Activities like reading would also help you learn how to express your own thoughts more freely in Japanese.

Getting into Technical Schools

To be eligible for Japanese technical schools, most schools require applicants to have Japanese proficiency of N2 level or higher in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). However, do take note that N1 level would be required for courses like interpretation and translation.

Most technical schools will also have interviews in Japanese as part of the entrance exam. Passing N1 or N2 levels in JLPT alone is not sufficient to get you into a technical school if you could not communicate well in Japanese, especially during the interview. When studying in a Japanese language school, it is important to actively take part in activities where you could mingle with Japanese, as they will help you get better in communicating in Japanese.

Getting into Graduate Schools

When applying for a master’s program in a graduate school, the importance is placed on the applicant’s research proposal. The theme of the research has to be decided in advance, and details on the content and methods must be well prepared prior to submitting the application. As such, reading up a lot of treatises and academic papers in advance would be necessary. The 3 main points of the research proposal that will be looked into are ① whether the theme of research is appropriate, ② whether the research proposal is logically structured, ③ whether the applicant’s Japanese proficiency level is sufficient.

Course Selection

If you wish to apply for a university or graduate school upon completing the course in a Japanese language school, kindly opt for the College Preparatory Course (1 year, 1.5 years or 2 years).
The 1-year and 2-year College Preparatory Courses start in April, while the 1.5-year College Preparatory Course starts in October.
As a general rule, applicants must have Japanese proficiency level of JLPT N2 and above to be eligible for the 1-year College Preparatory Course.
It is also possible to join the 3-month Japanese Course in July using a short-term stay visa, and later switch to a student visa in October to continue on the 1.5-year College Preparatory Course.
If you wish to apply for a technical school instead, kindly opt for the Japanese Course.