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How to Ace Your University Interview in Japan | Motivist Japan

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So you are about to finish your language school studies and you are now ready to enter higher education in Japan. Before a student can be accepted in Senmon Gakko or University, student must first pass the entrance exam as well as the interview.

In this article, we will discuss how to ace the university interview in Japan and leave a good impression to the school.

BEFORE ARRIVING TO THE INTERVIEW

1. Familiarize the location. – If this is your first time traveling to school's location, it is best to be familiar with the place. Know the nearest station and check the train time table to avoid being late. Don't forget to count the time that you need to walk and change train station plus the walking time from station to the exact location.

2. Be on time. – Japanese are known to be the most punctual person in the world. Even their trains are on time (well, most of the time). Remember first impressions last. If you are late on your interview, this will not sit well with the interviewers. If for some unforeseen scenario you will be late, please make sure to call the school and give them a heads up.

3. Bring the necessary documents. – If the school asks you to bring a copy of your residence card or school ID, make sure to bring them with you. Put all the paper documents in one clear file so you can see it right away. Don't forget to bring a pen and a small note.

WHAT TO WEAR DURING THE INTERVIEW

FOR MEN:

1. Wear a well ironed dark colored suit (navy, black or dark gray) partnered with a white collared long sleeve inside (light blue can also be accepted)

2. Necktie should compliment the suit. Do not wear neckties with loud colors or bold designs.

3. If you are wear an earring or nose ring, please remove them during the interview. Remember that you are going for an interview and not a party.

4. If you have blonde or colored hair, it is best to color them back to your natural color. If you are hesitant to do it, use a dark colored hair spray. This is washable so you just need to wash it after the interview.

5. Shave your beard or make it well trimmed at least.

6. Wear a dark formal shoes.

man in suit near a wall smiling for the camera | University Interview in Japan

FOR WOMEN:

1. Wear a suit either a knee length skirt or pants. Make sure it is well ironed. Don't forget your skin colored or black stockings if you are going to wear a skirt. 

2. If you have long hair, please tie your hair and keep any hair away from your face. Having a low bun is recommended. If you have colored hair, please color them back to your natural hair color or use a dark colored spray to color them temporarily.

3. Keep your nails clean but not flashy. Avoid unnecessary designs on your nails. No bright colors that may distract your interviewer.

4. Keep your jewelries simple. A simple earring and watch will do. 

5. Wear closed black shoes. Heel height should be not more than 5cm.

6. Keep your make up at minimal and perfume not too overpowering.

7. Have a simple black tote or shoulder bag to carry your things. Black is the recommended color. 

 

DURING THE INTERVIEW

Photo from JCOM (our partner school in Osaka)
http://jcom-ies.co.jp/e/news/the-mock-interview-dec-4-2018/

Even before the scheduled interview, language school will conduct “mock” interviews inside the school to prepare the student with their respective school interviews. 

1. Knock 3 times before entering the room.

2. Upon opening the door, say “shitsureishimasu” and then bow and then close the door behind you. Make sure that when you're closing the door, your back is not facing the interviewer. 

3. Walk beside the chair provided for the interviewees and before sitting, wait for interviewer's go signal to sit (usually they will say “okake kudasai” – formal version of suwatte kudasai)

4. Before sitting say “arigatou gozaimasu“, take a bow then seat. 

5. For the hand placement while sitting, the ladies usually put their hands on the middle of their lap while the guys put their hands on their knees. 

6. The interview will normally start with 自己紹介 “jikoshoukai” or self introduction. When introducing yourself, state your name and the school you are from. 

7. After the interview is done, stand up move to the side of the chair then say thank you once again then bow before going to the door. 

8. Before opening the door, say shitshureishimasu once again then bow, open the door and quietly close it. 

You have now successfully completed your interview in Japan. The result of your interview will be relayed to your language school. It may take a week before you will know the result. 

TIPS TO REMEMBER

Photo from JCOM

Some school conduct their interviews as a group. It can be 2 person at a time or more. When you answer the questions, answer clearly and your voice should be loud enough for interviewers to hear. Utilize the mock interviews provided by language schools and write your answers in a paper so you can remember them. If you have friends from the school that you are planning to study to, contact them and ask for advice. 

Questions normally asked are the following:

1. Why did you come to Japan? / どうして日本に来ましたか?

2. How is Japan life? / 日本の生活はどうですか?

3. What is your hobby? / 興味がなんですか?

4. Who will shoulder your expenses/tuition fee? 学費は誰が払いますか?

5. Why did you choose _________ school? / なぜこの学校を選んだんですか?

6. What is your strength and weakness? あなたの一番の長所はは何ですか? 短所はなんですか?

These are only some of the most asked questions. If you apply in multiple schools, the interview process is almost the same. Be calm and always be confident when you're answering questions. Interview will only last 15 minutes so enjoy and learn from your first interview.