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Japanese Education System - Help!

IkuNisan

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For my personal interest in the Japanese education system I’ve been trying to find out as much as possible but it’s been so hard to find these details on the internet, so I really appreciate your help!
My questions will be concerning high school graduation and university life. This is what I’ve found out so far – correct me if I misunderstood: If you want to continue studying after high school Japanese students take the National Center Test that takes place on a weekend in January. For some universities students need to take a second entrance exam to get in.
Now here are my questions:
1. After the Center Test in January, do students still continue to go to high school until their graduation ceremony in March?
2. If they do for how long? Only until the end of January? Do they still go to their clubs?
3. If you don’t pass the Center Test and decide to study for a year at a cram school (ronin-student), is this cram school like a normal school? Do these students wear a school uniform? Do classes at cram schools also take place in the morning or only in the afternoon/evening?
4. Is it possible to take more than one entrance exam at a university or do they all take place on one day so students will have to decide?
5. I’m assuming that the entrance exam for the university takes place at the specific university, but where does the National Center Test take place at?
6. University: How does your average day at university look like? How many classes do you usually take? Can you choose which classes to take? How many classes a day do you have/When do you usually get home from university? Are there lunch breaks?
Thank you so much! I really appreciate your help! :)
 

johnnyG

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1. Yes.
2. Till graduation. Club activities generally end by summer of the senior year, sometimes at the end of the year before.
3. They are "cram schools" if you want to call them that--"prep schools" would be okay, too. No uniforms (to my knowledge). Classes are during the day, tho you can stay and study late.
4. One national university--the center test is on one weekend, but in the same cycle students often have a 'backup' plan--a private uni--and tests for those are staggered, so that a student can take the center test(s), and also one (or more!) private school exams.
The first center test is given all over the country, so you don't have to go to the specific uni you are trying for. The second exam (late Feb.) is given at the specific uni you are trying for (so you have to go there).
Private uni, even tho they admit based on a single test, can also have more than one test date, so in some cases, a student can try again.
5. see #4.
6. Yes, there is a lunch hour... :rolleyes: Breakfast is also common (and cheap!! ¥100 at my school). The average weekly schedule for 1st/2nd year students is pretty full, 3rd/4th taper off a lot. Students can be home at dinner time, they may stay at school for clubs/sports, or they may be leaving for part time work.
 

IkuNisan

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Wow! Thank you for the quick reply! That was really helpful :)
 

IkuNisan

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Now I have another question concerning Universities in Japan. What does the first day look like? Is there an entrance ceremony at Universities/Colleges? And is it for all new students or is it divided in the different majors? (Like every new major economic student is in one room, every major education student in another)
What do students usually wear if there is an entrance ceremony?
Do Universities have obligatory school uniforms?
Once again: Thank you so much for your help :)
 

johnnyG

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Now I have another question concerning Universities in Japan. What does the first day look like? Is there an entrance ceremony at Universities/Colleges? And is it for all new students or is it divided in the different majors? (Like every new major economic student is in one room, every major education student in another)
What do students usually wear if there is an entrance ceremony?
Do Universities have obligatory school uniforms?
Once again: Thank you so much for your help :)
Have you tried googling any of that?

First, try that, and present the results of your searches here.
 

IkuNisan

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Have you tried googling any of that?

First, try that, and present the results of your searches here.
Gee, thanks for telling me, I didn't think of that... :rolleyes: Of course I googled before I asked these questions... And yes, I found out that there are entrance ceremonies but I couldn't find out about the rest. (How the exact day looks like - yes, I know how the average ceremony looks like, but what do students do afterwards, do they have classes right away, are they divided in different majors/differnet departments during the entrance ceremony, etc.) You have to understand that where I come from everyhing works extremely differently and it's not so easy to get all these information, that's why I'm asking here in this forum...

Why are you replying to my post if you're not gonna help anyway?
 

Glenski

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1. After the Center Test in January, do students still continue to go to high school until their graduation ceremony in March?
yes
2. If they do for how long? Only until the end of January? Do they still go to their clubs?
Until the end of the semester. Different areas of the country finish at slightly different times. Yes, clubs proceed as usual.
3. If you don’t pass the Center Test and decide to study for a year at a cram school (ronin-student), is this cram school like a normal school? Do these students wear a school uniform? Do classes at cram schools also take place in the morning or only in the afternoon/evening?
You can't fail the Center Test. It is a measure of ability, like the SAT or GRE.
You become a ronin if a school doesn't accept you. Not everyone takes the Center Test, too. Some private unis don't ask for it. (My wife is an example.)
Cram schools (juku) are businesses. They offer a variety of courses at different times of day, usually at night in my son's experience (4:20-6:30pm, or 6:40-9:40pm). Wear what you want.
4. Is it possible to take more than one entrance exam at a university or do they all take place on one day so students will have to decide?
More is possible. If a student is in a private HS, there might be a sister university, which doesn't require those students to take the entrance exam as long as their grades are good enough. That's the "escalator" system. Other students who want to enter that uni will have to take the test if there is one.
Many students take more than one test as a backup.
5. I’m assuming that the entrance exam for the university takes place at the specific university, but where does the National Center Test take place at?
Center Test is held at one location in a certain region. My uni hosts it, for example. Students who take it may eventually study anywhere in the country, but having the test in one's hometown region is just for convenience.
6. University: How does your average day at university look like? How many classes do you usually take? Can you choose which classes to take? How many classes a day do you have/When do you usually get home from university? Are there lunch breaks?
MY typical day (as a teacher)? I presume you mean a student's typical day.
Students take 12-15 courses or more per week, and their daily schedule can be very full with 3-5 classes per day. Some courses are mandatory, some are elective, some are "mandatory electives" (X number of a group must be taken). Sometimes students get to choose, sometimes they apply but are chosen by lottery if a section is too full. There is a cafeteria on most/all campuses, and you eat when you can. The typical noon hour is free from classes, so most students eat then. Depending on club / sports activities, students might get home at 4-7pm. Dorms will have restrictions on dinner time, and not every school has a dorm.

Now here's a question for you. What is your personal interest in all of this? You sound like you're writing a term paper.
 

Glenski

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Now I have another question concerning Universities in Japan. What does the first day look like? Is there an entrance ceremony at Universities/Colleges? And is it for all new students or is it divided in the different majors? (Like every new major economic student is in one room, every major education student in another)

"First day" is a vague term. Every uni does things differently, and mine changes every year.
Yes, there is an opening/welcome ceremony, and students wear suits or some other formal clothing. But during the first week, freshmen will have a multitude of orientation days/activities, too, including perhaps registration, which may be online or in paper form. It's a freaking nightmare, IMO.
Opening ceremony where I work is for everyone all at once.

Do Universities have obligatory school uniforms?
No.
 

IkuNisan

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1. After the Center Test in January, do students still continue to go to high school until their graduation ceremony in March?
yes
2. If they do for how long? Only until the end of January? Do they still go to their clubs?
Until the end of the semester. Different areas of the country finish at slightly different times. Yes, clubs proceed as usual.
3. If you don’t pass the Center Test and decide to study for a year at a cram school (ronin-student), is this cram school like a normal school? Do these students wear a school uniform? Do classes at cram schools also take place in the morning or only in the afternoon/evening?
You can't fail the Center Test. It is a measure of ability, like the SAT or GRE.
You become a ronin if a school doesn't accept you. Not everyone takes the Center Test, too. Some private unis don't ask for it. (My wife is an example.)
Cram schools (juku) are businesses. They offer a variety of courses at different times of day, usually at night in my son's experience (4:20-6:30pm, or 6:40-9:40pm). Wear what you want.
4. Is it possible to take more than one entrance exam at a university or do they all take place on one day so students will have to decide?
More is possible. If a student is in a private HS, there might be a sister university, which doesn't require those students to take the entrance exam as long as their grades are good enough. That's the "escalator" system. Other students who want to enter that uni will have to take the test if there is one.
Many students take more than one test as a backup.
5. I’m assuming that the entrance exam for the university takes place at the specific university, but where does the National Center Test take place at?
Center Test is held at one location in a certain region. My uni hosts it, for example. Students who take it may eventually study anywhere in the country, but having the test in one's hometown region is just for convenience.
6. University: How does your average day at university look like? How many classes do you usually take? Can you choose which classes to take? How many classes a day do you have/When do you usually get home from university? Are there lunch breaks?
MY typical day (as a teacher)? I presume you mean a student's typical day.
Students take 12-15 courses or more per week, and their daily schedule can be very full with 3-5 classes per day. Some courses are mandatory, some are elective, some are "mandatory electives" (X number of a group must be taken). Sometimes students get to choose, sometimes they apply but are chosen by lottery if a section is too full. There is a cafeteria on most/all campuses, and you eat when you can. The typical noon hour is free from classes, so most students eat then. Depending on club / sports activities, students might get home at 4-7pm. Dorms will have restrictions on dinner time, and not every school has a dorm.

Now here's a question for you. What is your personal interest in all of this? You sound like you're writing a term paper.
Thank you so much for all the information! It's really helpful!
And no, I'm not writing a paper, it's really just my personal interest. I'm kind of writing a plot for a manga or novel about students in Japan and I'm also sort of analyzing Japanese movies/animes/etc. to get a better unterstanding. But it's really just a hobby.
It's so great that you've told me all these things, thank you!
 

Glenski

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Oh, and there are some students who are accepted without even taking a university's entrance exam. They are called "suisen", or recommended (by their HS). That's either because they are good at something like sports or the school somehow felt obligated to write a letter pleading to take the kid who will work hard. Suisen students typically are very low academically.
 

kurapan

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Not all students attend entrance ceremony or graduation ceremony in formal clothes, though it probably differs depending on your major and you stand out anyway. Actually, even some teachers wear ordinary clothes. But yeah, you could say that most people wear suits.
 

IkuNisan

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Not all students attend entrance ceremony or graduation ceremony in formal clothes, though it probably differs depending on your major and you stand out anyway. Actually, even some teachers wear ordinary clothes. But yeah, you could say that most people wear suits.
Thanks for the info :)
 

IkuNisan

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It's me again with another few questions I cannot answer by googling them. This time I'm interested in "changing high schools". All I could find in google is how I, as a foreigner, could transfer to a Japanese high school, but that's not what I wanted to know. Here is my question:
What if you're a 16-year old Japanese student and, for example it's June (so the new school year has already started) but your parents have to move because of some reason (job or whatever) so that you would have to change to a different high school. Is that even possible? Or would you just stay at your old school even though you might have a longer way to go? What if you find a high school closer to your new home?
What would you have to do in order to transfer to the new school (if that is possible) and how long does it take? I mean, can you just go there and ask to transfer and they'll say "okay, come back tomorrow morning", or would you have to take an entrance exam? Would you have to wait for two weeks or two months until everything (like paper work, forms and stuff) is finished so you could go to your new high school?
Sorry about all these stupid questions, but it's really hard to find all the information by googling. So again, I'm really grateful for all your help :)
 

Glenski

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What if you're a 16-year old Japanese student and, for example it's June (so the new school year has already started) but your parents have to move because of some reason (job or whatever) so that you would have to change to a different high school. Is that even possible?
Work transfers almost invariably take place in March, so a mid-term transfer to another school is unlikely. My wife says many people change schools in the middle of the year, though. However, there are many families that stay in one place while the father relocates and lives separately from them.

What would you have to do in order to transfer to the new school (if that is possible) and how long does it take?
You follow the same procedures as everyone else. There may be a separate entrance exam if you come as other than a first-year student. My wife did this a lot, since her dad was transferred often.]
 
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Hnnn, while we're on the topic....

According to all the anime and light novels etc, if the parents move away for work or whatever, the protagonist is left to live on their own until the end of the term or even until graduate... but, does that ever actually happen? (It's pretty much unthinkable in the U.S. to leave a minor to live alone, and possibly illegal depending on your local laws and how you interpret them.) I'm sure it only happens so much in fiction because it's a convenient plot device, but still.

I do gather from documentaries and movies supposedly based on true stories that it's not entirely unheard of for abandoned children to be left to get by on their own devices, but that's really an entirely different thing.
 

Toritoribe

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I'm sure it only happens so much in fiction because it's a convenient plot device
Yes, probably that's the main reason. It's not common to live on their own even for high school students unless the school has a dorm or something. They usually move with their parents, or only the father moves alone (単身赴任), as already mentioned.
 
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