After the overwhelming response to my previous article comparing the different education systems between the United States and Japan, I received a number of emails about how to apply to a Japanese university. Here is the step-by-step guide for international students applying for a degree program in Japan.
There are hundreds of private, public and national universities in Japan, and Japan has one of the most competitive admissions processes in the world. But how competitive would it be for foreign students? Do they also need to take the same tests Japanese students have to take?
Each university has a specific requirement, so it is best to start by visiting their respective websites, which should spell out exactly what documents you will need to submit and also follow up with the university international student center in Japan.
Most Japanese universities offer a special entrance examination for privately financed foreign students. If you are receiving funding from Japanese government (i.e., monbusho), it is best to go to their website for specific instructions.
General eligibility for an undergraduate degree program for international students:
- Have completed or will have completed 12 years of school education in your home country. You will need to submit a transcript.
- You should not have any immigration issues, which may interfere with your entry into Japan or with your study in Japanese university.
- You will take the examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU), which is administered by Japanese Student Services Organization
As for the application, some universities require a personal statement, the result of your Japanese language proficiency test and the result of your TOEFL score. Letters of recommendations are needed based on the university you will be applying to, so check with the university website.
Once you get accepted into a Japanese university, you will be asked to complete a certificate of eligibility form, a copy of unexpired passport, proof of funds, which demonstrates sufficient funds are available for your studies. Then the international student center at the Japanese university will submit your certificate of eligibility at the immigration authorities in Japan.
After you receive a certificate of eligibility from your Japanese university, you will need to visit the Japanese embassy in your home country and bring the following documents:
- Application materials for your student visa
- Student visa application form
- One photo
- Certificate of Eligibility (must be original)
For more information about the student visa visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan website
The most important thing is to have all the proper immigration documents and get the visa situation straightened. The application process may seem tedious but the better prepared you are the faster it will go.
The next thing is to keep studying Japanese language. You will need at least N2 in order to keep up with lectures that are taught entirely in Japanese. For prestigious universities (waseda, keio, Tokyo university), you may be required to have N1.
Good luck and for any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.