- There are various types of Japanese language institutions, differing in their form/organization, size, etc. The first step toward successfully studying in Japan is deciding on a high-quality Japanese language institution suitable for the student. Key points in selecting an appropriate Japanese language institution are as follows:
(1) Which country's students the school accepts most
Each Japanese language school has a tendency to accept students from particular countries or regions. For example, there may be schools accepting students primarily from
Korea, from China or from countries where Kanji characters are not used.
(2) A past record of students who went on to higher-level schools
If a student desires to go on to a university, etc., after learning at a Japanese language institution, he or she should preferably select a school whose graduates have entered the specific university, etc., that the student hopes to attend. The handbook includes what students from each Japanese-language institution did after graduation, to which prospective students can refer. As the handbook also carries the records of how past students did in Japanese Language Proficiency Tests and the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU), it is also helpful for gauging the educational quality of each school.
(3) Rate of filled vacancies
Be cautious about schools where the number of students attending is consistently less than the school's capacity. Students at such schools were likely subject to strict inspections of their eligibility for a status of residence, etc., by the Immigration Bureau, most probably because many students overstayed their visas in the past, indicating that the school may have a problem in managing its registered students. Capacity and number of registered students are listed in the handbook. Although not included in the handbook, schools from which many students remain in Japan illegally after their visas expired are regarded by the Immigration Bureau as "schools to be watched" and are the objects of careful inspections.
(4) School location (whether to choose major cities near Tokyo or Osaka, or local cities)
While high living costs in major cities can be a disadvantage, there are advantages. For example, it can be easier for students to find part-time work in major cities. In local cities, on the other hand, there are more schools offering accommodations, including dormitories, and living costs are lower than in major cities. Students are advised to consider which is more suitable for them.
(5) Content of the course
Consider whether the course meets your objective. For example, is it a general language course or a course designed for those wishing to go on to a university? Does the enrollment schedule and study period meet your needs?
(6) Class grouping
Consider whether the classes are grouped according to the level of Japanese proficiency so that you can take classes that suit your level of Japanese. Also, do they conduct placement tests for this purpose?
(7) Basic subjects: Does the Japanese language institution offer classes in the basic subjects needed for university enrollment?
If you wish to attend classes in basic subjects (English, mathematics, physics, chemistry, world history, etc.) needed to enroll in a university, in addition to the Japanese language, please be sure to confirm whether the school offers those classes.
Please be sure to confirm whether the Japanese language institution has its own dormitory? If not, you should ask if the school will help you find accommodations, such as an apartment, the expenses for such accommodations, etc.
(9) Guidance on further education
Does the school provide guidance on further education? Does it have a program to provide you with the necessary information?
(10) The number of years you have undergone primary and secondary education in your own country
If you are from countries such as Malaysia or the Philippines and have received only 10 or 11 years of primary and secondary education, please choose a school that offers the college preparatory course designated by the Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.