View Full Version : 2013 Alternate Re-applying - Advice?

October 23rd, 2013, 09:39
Hello all,

As the thread title states, I made alternate status this year for JET and am now starting the application process all over again. I am keeping one of my references from last year as she was my adviser in college and we've kept in touch every so often through the last two years. I am asking my current work supervisor to write my second recommendation as she and I get along well and she's been very supportive of me since I started working with her last September. My real struggle, however, is my SOP.

I don't think my SOP from last year was particularly well written, but whoever read it must have thought it good enough. If anyone has been in my situation and was accepted after their second attempt, how much did you change your original SOP? I've always been someone who writes better under pressure but I have been trying to finish my SOP early enough to allow someone to critique it this time around.

Any feed back is appreciated - thanks!

October 23rd, 2013, 10:39
write about what you have done this year to better yourself. talk about how you have been volunteering with kids and studying japanese. It doesn't have to be true, I doubt anyone will check.....

October 24th, 2013, 02:19
To be honest, if you got in the first time with that application, you'll probably get in again with it. I'd do as Ini says and spiff up your SoP a bit, add some more stuff to the employment and extracurricular sections, but I wouldn't worry too much about it.

October 24th, 2013, 23:14
Reflect on your interview and the types of questions you were asked. When you go in you should be prepared and well-rested.

October 25th, 2013, 08:47
Honestly, I thought my interview went pretty well with the exception of one question ("What would you say to your students when asked why the US still has soldiers stationed in Okinawa despite there being no active conflicts in/around Japan?" - how the heck do you answer that?!) and the fact that I couldn't read the short Japanese passage given to me. I found what seems to be the only Japanese tutor in my area and though we've just started working together she's told me I'm doing well. I've done some volunteering with my work plus I'm applying to volunteer regularly with Girl Scouts. I suppose this whole thread is pointless but the fact that I might not even get an interview this year despite how far I got this year is just making me anxious.

October 25th, 2013, 08:54
So we can nuke china together.

October 25th, 2013, 11:22
I'm not sure how much weight my opinion has, since this will be my first time applying for JET, but I'm assuming that your paper application must have been good enough to grant you an interview in the first place. It may have been your interview that let you down. From what I've read, it seems that being shortlisted into the programme is based hugely upon your disposition and how you answered your questions during the interview. Although, I don't doubt that having a well crafted paper application will help too.
How do you think you responded in the interview questions? And I'm curious, just how did you answer the Okinawa question? That's a tough one.

October 25th, 2013, 11:34
Alternates were good enough to go, but there weren't enough spots. Meaning all they need to do is bump their score a smidge and they could be fine (obviously this changes from year to year).

Certainly adjusting your SoP a bit to reflect on what you've done in the last calendar year which can assist you in your JET life is very important. Questions about what has changed in the last year should also be expected during the interview.

Just think about it this way, If you were making a checklist of things, what extra boxes can you tick off now, that you couldn't tick off before? That's what will push you over the edge from alternate to JET.

October 25th, 2013, 13:00
Honestly, I thought my interview went pretty well with the exception of one question ("What would you say to your students when asked why the US still has soldiers stationed in Okinawa despite there being no active conflicts in/around Japan?" - how the heck do you answer that?!)That's actually a pretty easy question to answer, but your answer isn't really what matters--it's how you actually respond to a difficult or awkward question. They'll ask you these inexplicable questions, and it's not because they're looking for a specific answer, it's because they need to see how you react to being put on the spot and under pressure. My interview committee softballed me for the most part, but there was one dude (the ex-JET) who was a gigantic dick to me throughout the process. I don't blame him; that was probably his job, and he was probably a lot better at it than either of the two Japanese folks would have been. He kept hitting me with questions that I had either already answered thoroughly or were not really answerable logically, presumably because he wanted to see how I responded to such a situation.

October 25th, 2013, 13:04
That's exactly right. They don't want to hear what you actually think since you're not supposed to tell students your political/religious/etc viewpoints but how you would handle that situation professionally