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Corvus
October 13th, 2013, 08:58
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uthinkimlost?
October 13th, 2013, 09:06
Greetings all! I am happy I found this forum, as it seems the official forums have imploded, I can no longer post or see information on there aside from what pops up in google search.


I have started up with my application for 2014, and had a few questions:


I have already prepped a draft of my SoP and requested letters of recommendation, so I think I am off to a good start as the application forms have yet to be posted on the US website. I am wondering now if turning in your application early increases your odds of landing an interview date in any way?
Speaking of interview sessions, I am wondering if your consulate location has any impact on your odds of landing an interview? In my situation, I am a California resident that has relocated to Arizona, so I think I might have an option between the two.
Has JET changed their view of a "successful applicant" over time? This is a more general question and I understand if people don't have specifics but, from what I have read, I have heard differing things. Do they look favorably at post-graduate work experience, or do they prefer people in their early twenties, fresh out of college? Although I can't change the type of applicant I am, this will be important in drafting my statement of purpose, so I know what experiences to emphasis and which to downplay.


Thanks again for making this forum, I'm excited to get to know everyone and to contribute in anyway I can.

1) no one knows/probably not
2) nope, odds are more or less the same
3) emphasize everything relevant to the job. Jet is a mixed bag of people from different backgrounds.

PaddyPakku
October 13th, 2013, 09:37
Greetings all! I am happy I found this forum, as it seems the official forums have imploded, I can no longer post or see information on there aside from what pops up in google search.


I have started up with my application for 2014, and had a few questions:


I have already prepped a draft of my SoP and requested letters of recommendation, so I think I am off to a good start as the application forms have yet to be posted on the US website. I am wondering now if turning in your application early increases your odds of landing an interview date in any way?
Speaking of interview sessions, I am wondering if your consulate location has any impact on your odds of landing an interview? In my situation, I am a California resident that has relocated to Arizona, so I think I might have an option between the two.
Has JET changed their view of a "successful applicant" over time? This is a more general question and I understand if people don't have specifics but, from what I have read, I have heard differing things. Do they look favorably at post-graduate work experience, or do they prefer people in their early twenties, fresh out of college? Although I can't change the type of applicant I am, this will be important in drafting my statement of purpose, so I know what experiences to emphasis and which to downplay.


Thanks again for making this forum, I'm excited to get to know everyone and to contribute in anyway I can.

1) Don't quote me on this but I have heard the applications are read on a first arrive first read basis. Although, I guess it depends on whether they wait until after the deadline to start reading them...
2) I live in the UK...so no idea
3) I think the most important thing to JET is someone that's very interested in Japan. For JET, the worst thing is for somebody to get there, get scared and then bail. I'm applying this year too, so I'm no expert, but from what I've read, just say how your past experiences will help you be a successful JET.

word
October 13th, 2013, 11:01
1. I don't think so. I had to next-day-air my application to make the deadline, and I was shortlisted.

2. Yes. However, there's no way to know *how* the consulate location affects your odds. So, for all intents and purposes, it doesn't really matter. If it were up to me, I would apply at a consulate that would be likely to see fewer applications. I have no idea if this would be to my benefit or detriment--it's just the choice that I would make.

3. Yes. We don't know how, unfortunately, nor to what extent. I asked a similar question of MiamiCoordinator on the Official forums once, and s/he explained that there is, in fact, a procedure designed to refine the screening process in order to more effectively place JETs with characteristics most in line with the desires of the program and MEXT. S/he was unable to give me any sort of specific information, and I didn't expect any; the question I was really asking was whether or not the program actually seeks to empirically improve its screening process--and apparently, it does. I know that sucks, 'cause it's relatively useless information. Still, I think that it means the best information you can probably get would be from multi-year JETs and their perceptions of the program's goals. It's all speculation, but it's at least speculation from folks who have been through it all and managed to stick around. Through the aggregation of their opinions, you might be able to get some sense of direction as far as fine-tuning your SoP.

Corvus
October 13th, 2013, 11:13
Thanks for the replies. Very interesting to hear that you were shortlisted in light of when you applied, or perhaps it was just that your application was that good!

MiamiCoordinator has been one of the more informative posters on the official forums, but I still come away feeling like there is a lot more they could be telling us that they simply choose not to, for whatever reason.

therealwindycity
October 13th, 2013, 14:40
The initial screening is done at the national level, so I doubt they have time to keep track of when each application arrived. It also means that where you apply from probably doesn't matter much, since they're looking at all the applicants in the country as a whole. The consulates aren't involved until the interview stage.

Jiggit
October 13th, 2013, 18:03
I got my application in by handing it in person at the embassy about an hour before it was due, so at least in the UK it doesn't.


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Gizmotech
October 14th, 2013, 02:05
Arrival time doesn't matter.

As for changing levels.... it is entirely year dependent. The evaluation criteria hasn't changed, according to miami-coordinator on the forums. However, each year the level of applicants changes. Sooo.. hope you get a year of knucle draggers and the bar gets dropped considerably :P

patjs
October 15th, 2013, 11:27
I of course am no authority and have been out of the program for a few years, but I seem to remember reading a lot about how when they changed some of the salary/re-applying rules they also were talking about changing the criteria?

I could have sworn that there was a lot of talk about focusing even more on people with Japanese language skills was what a lot of BOEs were requesting.

I know even my BOE mentioned when I left that they really wanted someone with Japanese skills due to the fact you have to travel to so many elementary schools and 95% of the teachers don't speak English there. Of course, I know that Japanese probably always helped you, but is it possible they give language skills more weight?

I could be completely wrong. My memory is going as I get older... :lol:

Gizmotech
October 15th, 2013, 11:56
patjs, you're not wrong, there were (and still are.. Ini care to ring in on this?) BoEs looking for ALTs with Japanese language skills for the ES program that was rolling out. I don't think it made much of a difference though in the application process, just in who the schools were actively seeking.

That being said, there are still plenty of ALTs who end up in the JHS/ES beat with absolutely no Japanese at all, so I don't think anything really changed.

Page
October 16th, 2013, 00:45
The answer to #2 is available in one of the stickies, basically what windy said. This was the line from CLAIR:


All of the applications that are received by the Japanese Embassy have the same review standards regardless of what Embassy/Consulate you are interviewing through. There is also review standards set for the interviews. There may be a smaller/larger number of participants that make it onto the short-list, but this is a reflection of number of applications received from a certain location, not on the competitive level at each location.

Corvus
October 16th, 2013, 16:12
Just saw this on the US 2014 guidelines:


Early submission of applications and documents is encouraged.

Take that as what you will, however.

As for language skill, are you tested in any way if you get an interview? The application isn't up yet so I've no idea what sort of questions they ask you about it.

word
October 16th, 2013, 16:29
As for language skill, are you tested in any way if you get an interview? The application isn't up yet so I've no idea what sort of questions they ask you about it.

If you indicate a certain proficiency on the application, then you may be "quizzed" in the interview. I noted that my Japanese ability was elementary/nonexistent, and was not asked to speak any Japanese in the interview.

Gizmotech
October 16th, 2013, 18:22
Just saw this on the US 2014 guidelines:



Take that as what you will, however.

As for language skill, are you tested in any way if you get an interview? The application isn't up yet so I've no idea what sort of questions they ask you about it.

Umm. Soo I have a minor in japanese from university. I hadn't studied japanese for atleast a year before my interview though. I marked on it beginner for speaking listening and intermediate for reading (my hiragana and katakana were stil quite good, as was my grammar). When it came up in the interview I replied it's been a while and I'm out of practice and that was the end of it. I'm still here. (And my level is now WAY higher)

My friend however was asked a few questions in japanese, flubbed em right up and still got in as well.

It's more important if you're going for a CIR position and they will grill you for that one

Jiggit
October 17th, 2013, 08:26
I marked as beginner too. In my interview they asked if I'd started studying Japanese and then asked me "what is your name" and "where are you from", which I about managed to answer. So I guess if you mark as beginner it might be a good idea to be able to say some v. basic things to show that you've at least put some effort towards it. But Japanese language ability has never seemed to particularly be important for ALTs. A lot of people with high language ability don't get in and a lot of people with zero do.

Page
October 17th, 2013, 09:57
I think I marked myself as Int-Adv and the Japanese member of the panel asked me about my hobbies/interests and how I'd incorporate them into my time as an ALT (in Japanese). I imagine, like language study, that the questions range from yes/no and easy answers (home/hobbies/name/etc.), and then go up to ask about feelings/thoughts/opinions/hopes/etc. depending on how you rate yourself.

Unless you're going for CIR there's no reason to worry about it though, imo.

Necrovex
October 19th, 2013, 06:21
If you indicate a certain proficiency on the application, then you may be "quizzed" in the interview. I noted that my Japanese ability was elementary/nonexistent, and was not asked to speak any Japanese in the interview.

I was wondering if I should placed myself down as introductory or elementary proficient when the application was released. I took Japanese I and II, and I attempt to study it on a daily basis to retain most of the information. This post has answered that curiosity, and I am going to list myself as a beginner.

Merkypie
October 20th, 2013, 23:43
I listed myself as a beginner and was asked to give a jikoushoukai in Japanese during my interview. Unless you're going for CIR, the extent of the Japanese knowledge test will probably be a jikoushoukai. I honestly don't think Japanese ability plays into the selection process, its more of an added perk when COs start picking who they want.

Jiggit
October 21st, 2013, 08:52
I listed myself as a beginner and was asked to give a jikoushoukai in Japanese during my interview. Unless you're going for CIR, the extent of the Japanese knowledge test will probably be a jikoushoukai. I honestly don't think Japanese ability plays into the selection process, its more of an added perk when COs start picking who they want.

Hey you'd better kiotsuke, you accidentally got some nihongo in your eigo. It might be muzukashii for new people to wakaru.

Merkypie
October 21st, 2013, 09:32
Hey you'd better kiotsuke, you accidentally got some nihongo in your eigo. It might be muzukashii for new people to wakaru.

Oh damn. I should have wakaru before I kaku that posuto. I'll oboeteru next kai.

Sent from my BNTV600 using Tapatalk

johnny
October 22nd, 2013, 22:36
I waited until the last day to submit my application and I am writing this message from Japan, so I don't think it matters.

What matters is whether or not you have the knowledge, skills and abilities they want. Also, do you have the enthusiasm they want? Make sure you tell them why you want to accept this position.

Make sure your SOP is perfect and prep well for your interview should you get an interview.

Good luck.

moshimoshi
October 23rd, 2013, 04:51
think its better to call your consulate with questions or email?

Shincantsen
October 23rd, 2013, 05:10
think its better to call your consulate with questions or email?

Email.

Ini
October 23rd, 2013, 08:31
Go straight to the top! Confront the ambassador at a restaurant while he's having dinner and demand to know if you should paper clip your application or use staples!

moshimoshi
October 23rd, 2013, 08:51
Well, naturally I've already done that.

Necrovex
October 27th, 2013, 22:12
I have a question about the tutoring section in the U.S. Jet application. I have some tutoring experience, but not in a formal setting. I tutored my peers on writing and Japanese on my own free time. I want to put this informal work down on my application, but I am not certain how I should do so. On "Name and Institution and Position Held" I am considering placing "Informal Tutoring." Will this be fine?

A paragraph in my personal statement is dependent on my tutoring skills, so I do want to place this info down into the application.

Merkypie
October 27th, 2013, 22:20
Put it down. Anything you omit is just going to hurt you. You rather just add all the padding you can than be worried about the legitimacy. That being said, I do not mean that you should lie either. Just be honest.

Necrovex
October 28th, 2013, 00:03
Put it down. Anything you omit is just going to hurt you. You rather just add all the padding you can than be worried about the legitimacy. That being said, I do not mean that you should lie either. Just be honest.

So the resume tactic then? Exaggerate if you can, but not to the point of lying.

Merkypie
October 28th, 2013, 06:54
thats essentially what the paper app is. just dont come off as a pompus douchebag and you shouldbe good❢

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PaddyPakku
October 28th, 2013, 07:21
I have a question about the tutoring section in the U.S. Jet application. I have some tutoring experience, but not in a formal setting. I tutored my peers on writing and Japanese on my own free time. I want to put this informal work down on my application, but I am not certain how I should do so. On "Name and Institution and Position Held" I am considering placing "Informal Tutoring." Will this be fine?

A paragraph in my personal statement is dependent on my tutoring skills, so I do want to place this info down into the application.
...I was wondering this too, I've done some informal teaching to friends but, what would you put for Place and name of institution etc?

Merkypie
October 28th, 2013, 07:24
name, conversation partner, afternoon japanese class tutorting, etc. call it for what it is.

place, where ever u held it at. i think the Place is mostly the city iirc.

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moshimoshi
October 28th, 2013, 21:59
Does it look bad to select "Suburban" or "Urban" on the placement request section of the app?

Merkypie
October 28th, 2013, 22:19
it doesnt matter. mOst jet placements are inaka placements. less than 15% get city

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moshimoshi
October 28th, 2013, 22:30
ya, that's why I wasn't sure what to select. I mean, it'd be cool to be in a city, but of course, I'm not expecting that.

Shincantsen
October 28th, 2013, 22:38
None of your placement preferences make any difference in your app, they're just used later.

moshimoshi
October 28th, 2013, 23:08
What about driving... I have a license, but don't particularly want to drive in Japan. I've heard that you might have to drive regardless.. Should I just check yes to be as flexible as possible?

MoMcBuff
October 29th, 2013, 01:08
I've heard that you should check "yes" because it might make the difference in getting in or not. I am the same way.

Merkypie
October 29th, 2013, 07:24
man u better be willing to.drive. dont be that one jet who said they can drive just to get in the program then bitch about having to drive when they arrive.

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therealwindycity
October 29th, 2013, 08:31
Believe me, if you end up in the middle of nowhere, driving will be completely worth it. I'm not even in an extraordinarily inaka placement and I'm so glad I have a car, even if it's a bit of an expense.

dialogue
October 29th, 2013, 09:16
Why don't you want to drive?

Jiggit
October 29th, 2013, 10:13
I can't drive and don't need to drive.

I wish I had a fvcking car at least once a week.

coop52
October 29th, 2013, 12:53
I finished JET and just now got a car. I really wish I had one earlier. It's so much easier.

moshimoshi
October 30th, 2013, 01:00
I was just worried about driving because I don't speak any Japanese.. so I figured road signs might be an issue. And then the whole driving on the other side of the road thing.. and the extra expenses of getting a car, car insurance, etc. But I think i'm going to mark "yes" on the app now.

moshimoshi
October 30th, 2013, 01:02
thank you for all the input :)

coop52
October 30th, 2013, 06:44
Most road signs either have English on them or are just pictures. JETs definitely make enough money to afford a car.

epikzwei
November 5th, 2013, 11:37
Do you think being unable to drive will really have much of an effect on your chances of acceptance? I have a license, but I haven't driven at all in the 4 years since I got it, so it's definitely better not to have me behind the wheel right now. But if it's really a big deal, then I'll certainly make an effort to find the time and relearn.

Gizmotech
November 5th, 2013, 11:46
Will it affect your chances of acceptance? Probably not. Could it affect your chances of being placed? Quite a bit.

For instance, I'm sure my placement is a "Driving required" placement. I know most of the ones around me are. I don't drive, because I can manage without a car, but the rest of the JETs around me probably couldn't do that (I got lucky?... dunno). I do know some JETs who were placed in placements which require driving, regardless of the status they marked down on the application.

Jiggit
November 5th, 2013, 11:51
It's been said a lot before but a lot of current ALTs will confirm that even if you don't drive and end up in a placement that technically doesn't require you to, getting a car will make your life a whole lot easier. If you can, I would strongly encourage you to pick it up again. There's no way you can be a worse driver than Japanese inaka-dwellers anyway.

Antonath
November 5th, 2013, 11:52
Some boards of education want drivers so they don't have to provide rides or pay for taxis. Others specifically prohibit ALTs from driving, to the extent of trying to ban them in non-work time as well (which is usually futile, and heavily frowned on by CLAIR). Not driving isn't going to stop them looking at your application, but it is another box ticked.

word
November 5th, 2013, 12:20
There's no way you can be a worse driver than Japanese inaka-dwellers anyway.word


Not driving isn't going to stop them looking at your application, but it is another box ticked.word

epikzwei
November 5th, 2013, 14:19
Thanks, all~

Page
November 5th, 2013, 15:58
If you're worried here's the typical breakdown:

- $2000ish for the car from your pred (or someone else -- this should cover the name transfer but that person might be an asshole and make that extra)
- Insurance can be anywhere between $200~$700 a year (200 for the public servant one but some people can't, I paid $60/mo my first year and now pay $40)
- $700~$1000(+?) for shaken if it needs it
- Car tax in June ($70ish for a kei, $400ish for a white plate)
- Cost of winter/summer tires if in need of purchasing (a lot of ALTs ignore this but if you hit a car with the wrong tires your insurance won't cover you)

Cars are dumb expensive here but after getting a car in my 2nd year I have no idea how I survived without one, tbh. It totally changed my quality of life.

mrcharisma
November 5th, 2013, 16:08
Unlesss they're placed slap bang in the middle of one of the larger designated cities, Jets who don't drive or have access to a car are largely missing out. It not only adds to what ou can do in everyday life but makes it much easier to explore parts of the country you wouldn't see otherwise. Lengthy road trips will make up some of my best memories of Japan when I leave.

AVN
November 5th, 2013, 18:13
Saying no to driving might be a ticket to Hokkaido ;)
Hokkaido prefectural ALTs are not allowed to drive so they like to pick people who can't or don't want to drive.
Also, though driving opens up doors, so does learning to survive without a car.

Ini
November 5th, 2013, 21:52
People learn to survive after suffering massive limb amputation, doesn't mean its an advisable thing to do.

Learn how to drive - "A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure."

tedcase
November 5th, 2013, 22:12
Gentsuki is the way to go.

Ini
November 5th, 2013, 22:15
*snigger*

Yeah, because that's totally practical and cool and in no way makes you look like mr bean

tedcase
November 6th, 2013, 01:48
My gentsuki was awesome. I used to drive from school at the end of each day to the beach with my surfboard under my arm.

It cost Y500 to take the train from my town to the nearest city and took 2 hours.
Or it cost Y200 in petrol to dive it on my scootybike and took 1 hour.

3077

moshimoshi
November 6th, 2013, 02:08
love it, tedcase!

Ini
November 6th, 2013, 08:18
looking cool......

3078

imightbetheone
November 6th, 2013, 10:02
Page, that breakdown of the actual costs involved was incredibly useful. Thank you.

Page
November 6th, 2013, 11:05
No problem! Of course it varies (especially the car buying part, some may sell cheaper depending on the car's state and some may have no choice but to go to a dealer which typically seems to start around $3000) but that's what seems to be the norm where I am!

HorseFeathers
November 6th, 2013, 11:24
Speaking of cars, those of you who are JETs or former JETS-- was a GPS an option for you? Or could you only use maps?

I know here in the states I'm reliant on my GPS to get to my sub jobs. So I'm curious to hear how you guys got around. Not just to your schools but like if you decided to travel (not by train).

word
November 6th, 2013, 11:33
Just get a smartphone when you arrive. Most people will, anyway. If you decide to get a decent GPS later, cool; but GoogleNav or Apple Maps will get you just about anywhere.

Merkypie
November 6th, 2013, 11:41
I use my phone as my car nav system. An actual nav starts at around 300 and that's just one you stick on your dash, the one you install into the car is like 500+

HorseFeathers
November 6th, 2013, 11:53
Thanks guys! I know I'll have to figure out what I'm doing about a cell phone so I might get a smart phone myself. :)

Ini
November 6th, 2013, 12:34
You'll struggle to get anything other than a smart phone these days. A car sat nav is way better than a phone and I'd recommend you get one but if you don't travel much you could survive with just google maps.

HorseFeathers
November 6th, 2013, 13:28
I have a Tom Tom already. This might be a silly question but would it work in Japan? Cause I'd take it with me if it could.

Ini
November 6th, 2013, 14:42
can you buy set of japanese maps and POI for it? I had an old garmin which if you had the maps for where you were going on a SD card it would work anywhere. If you cant update the maps its almost definitely going to only have the maps for your country in it so all you would see on the screen is your location against a blank background

Page
November 6th, 2013, 21:19
Yeah, if you get a mount for a smartphone Google Maps is good enough for plebeians (and it gives voice over in English--there are probably Japanese ones that do that but Ini would be the one to know about that).

patjs
November 8th, 2013, 14:08
I have a Tom Tom already. This might be a silly question but would it work in Japan? Cause I'd take it with me if it could.

There should be a way to purchase Japanese maps. It'll work though. I think most GPS are made to be used all over the world.