Tokyo to Bellingham: Education
In Japan, the school year generally starts in spring, technically in early April, for the whole curriculum from the elementary to the academic level.
Even though it is optional for children, the age of 15, to get the high school or higher level of education, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan shows the result of survey indicating 97 percent of them go up to a high school at least.
I’m originally from Japan and also graduated from one of high schools in Japan.
In order to get admitted by a university in Japan, all the students are required to take an entrance exam, named the national center test for university admissions, except some private ones which impose their own exams. Depending on which university a student apply for, the required score might differ.
What I think the most surprising fact for people in the U.S. is to transfer from a college to a university is not as common as it is in the U.S.
I had honestly never thought it would be possible to do that until I got interested in studying abroad in the U.S.
If you decide to enroll in a Japanese university, you will have to think deliberately what kind of study field you may jump in.
In the system of a Japanese university, students take classes for their own major and general classes, which is kind of like a GUR, at the same time from freshman to junior year.
Which means, you need to choose your major, or at least major department, before entering into a university, and this class system definitely prevent students form changing their study fields or even transfer to another university.
According to the research conducted by National Students Clearinghouse Research Center in 2015, “46 percent of students who completed a degree at a four-year institution were enrolled at a two-year institution at some point in the previous 10 years.”
By contrast, in Japan, there were only 5450 students in total who transferred from a two-year college to a four-year university in 2014.
In fact, it’s quite difficult for the industry of Japanese universities to do in the same way as that of the U.S. do, since they might need to change the whole system of university.
However, in the point of providing more opportunities for university students in Japan toward their future career, I think that adjusting the environment of the transfer system is absolutely important.