View Full Version : Application question - do you think I will be automatically disqualified?

November 22nd, 2014, 11:01
Hi there everyone.

I'm from the UK and am currently applying for JET. I'm quite anxious about something on my application, and I'm finding it fairly hard to tell how detrimental it actually is, so I thought here would be the best place to ask for some advice. Any help is really appreciated!

In my first year of University, I took a beginners course in Japanese. While I enjoyed it, and while my teacher was really nice, I found her difficult to understand, and there was a different course offered in Philosophy that I quite liked the sound of (it was a toss up between that course and Japanese originally), so I decided to switch courses and enrol on the Philosophy course, intending to work on Japanese in my free time.

However, somehow (it still mystifies me just how they managed it), the University really screwed up. I gave in my request to change courses before the relevant deadline, but they somehow took me off the Japanese course without enrolling me on the Philosophy course. I didn't realise this had happened until far, far later in the year, when I checked my exam timetable and saw my Philosophy course wasn't present. There was no indication throughout the year that I wasn't actually on this course, since the only assessment was a final exam, and I had turned up to lectures and seminars without anyone blinking an eyelid. I asked what the hell had happened, but they told me that, since I had never officially enrolled on the Philosophy course (due, of course, to their mistake), all they could do was re-enrol me on Japanese - even though I had quit months ago. I couldn't really believe what had happened, but since it was only first year I just sighed and moved on. I suspect they didn't really give a shit considering that I was a first year student, and the marks in first year don't count towards your final degree.

Long story short - I failed Japanese, badly. I had three weeks to prepare for the final exam, which only counted towards 30% of the module grade (all the other assessments had already taken place). It was effectively impossible for me to pass, so I just threw in the towel and only studied for my other courses. I ended up with a final grade of '9' (out of 100). I was annoyed, but I didn't care that much, considering you can fail one module in your first year without any repercussions. That is, of course, until I found out earlier this year (I'm now in my final year) that JET wants an academic transcript as part of the application. You can imagine my frustration (though I probably should have expected it). I picked it up last week and it's pretty laughable seeing that awful disaster of a grade next to my other marks (which are generally very good, mostly firsts).

So, my question is - am I screwed? I read that, at first, your application is screened for any black marks (incomplete application, problematic medical record, missing courses, too late of a graduation), and it's only if it passes that initial screening is the application actually read. Is my application going to get binned before it's even assessed, because I failed that first year Japanese course? It's upsetting, because I feel as if I have a fairly strong application otherwise and would stand a decent chance.

I've written a short note in the 'any formal Japanese language qualifications' application box explaining that the mark on my transcript is due to circumstances far beyond my control and is not representative of reality. Do you think I should leave it at that, or do you think I should explain the whole ordeal on the application? Should I bring it up at a different part of the application (say, for example, on the personal statement - or even attach a note to the transcript), or stick with where I have done so currently? Or should I just take my chances and not offer any explanation whatsoever, so I can minimise any attention around the issue?

Any help is seriously appreciated. Thank you everyone!

TL;DR: Due to circumstances out of my control, I badly failed a beginners Japanese language course in my first year of University, which is clearly evident from my transcript. Am I screwed?

November 22nd, 2014, 11:18
You're worrying too much.

November 22nd, 2014, 11:33
In this instance I think a 9% (which is hilarious, by the way) is better than a mark that is closer to a pass. Surely a 9% shows that something awful occurred. Just be prepared to answer questions about it if they come up. Personally, I doubt this will be a deathblow to your application. You are probably getting worked up over nothing.

November 22nd, 2014, 11:46
Really? Sweet. That's pretty relieving. Thanks guys.

Yeah, it was kinda funny when I got my first year results back and we saw the nine. My housemate was so proud he actually cut out the result and had it stuck on his wall for a couple years, but I ended up telling him to take it down this year since every time I'd walk into his room I'd get a feeling of impending doom.

November 22nd, 2014, 20:47
I wouldn't address in the personal statement. The note on the application should serve well enough, and you should expect to be asked about it during the interview. I do think it will probably cost you a point or two in the application process, though I agree you shouldn't worry about it too much. After all, there's no changing it now.

November 24th, 2014, 15:22
Is that all? I took 5 years to finish a four year program, BARELY got my Japanese minor (thank you japanese history prof), had a few spectacularly low grades.... hell took my first year japanese class again 4 years later.

Look at me now!?! A 4 year JET goin on 5.

November 24th, 2014, 20:33
Yeah, that bad mark alone won't hurt you.

November 24th, 2014, 22:04
Thanks guys! Can't tell you how relieved (and more positive) that's made me. I think I just thought that since they get so many applications, they might see it and think 'eh, we'll just pass on this one.'

JET ProgramCoordinator SF
November 25th, 2014, 02:12
There's no way a single bad grade is going to disqualify you. We don't even have a minimum GPA requirement (at least not in the US, and I'd be willing to guess no other place does either). The grading system is very systematic and mostly objective so as to give everyone a fair shot. The only time that your bad grade in Japanese may come up is if your interviewers look at your application and decide to ask you about it, at which case you could (briefly!) mention what happened and then put a positive spin on it ("...but I'm looking forward to renewing that interest in learning Japanese on the JET Program.").

November 25th, 2014, 06:17
Honestly, my first year of University was TERRIBLE. I got sick a lot, lived outside of town and had no friends, and thus fell into a really bad depression. As a result, I finished my first year passing only 6 of 10 courses, and with a GPA of like 1.5.... last year I made it on the alternate list, and they didn't even ask me about my crappy first year. Granted, I've held an average 3.0 or higher GPA each term since so they probably assumed it was just a crappy year. So, if failing 4 courses my first year didn't really affect me, I don't think failing one course (with a legitimate reason as to the mess up) will screw with your application at all. Be ready to answer question about it though, but then again it might not even come up. Depends on who is interviewing you I guess.

November 25th, 2014, 11:41
Don't think the UK system even has a GPA concept. It just asks for a minimum of ~, which you would have needed to get into University in the first place.

November 25th, 2014, 22:11
Yeah, I don't even know what GPA is.

November 25th, 2014, 22:23
Yeah, I don't even know what GPA is.
Grade Point Average.

November 25th, 2014, 22:28
Ah, ok. I didn't know what that was either, but I just googled it. Your system is fairly different to ours.

November 25th, 2014, 22:36
Ah, ok. I didn't know what that was either, but I just googled it. Your system is fairly different to ours.
I'm a Brit.

November 25th, 2014, 22:39
Oh snap.

November 25th, 2014, 22:52
Ice cold.

November 26th, 2014, 09:38
Long Island Iced Tea.

November 26th, 2014, 09:55
Long Island Iced Tea.

Yeah I don't even know what that is.

November 26th, 2014, 11:15

November 26th, 2014, 11:35
Long Island Iced Tea.
I'm guessing a cold cup of tea from Long Island in the States?

November 26th, 2014, 11:39

November 26th, 2014, 12:58
Yes, that's it exactly, sharp. It's specially made and tastes a little odd, but the next time you're hanging out in a bar somewhere and just want to have a good time without getting drunk like all the alcoholic losers, order yourself a few of 'em and keep 'em coming. You'll have a blast; I promise.

November 26th, 2014, 13:11
Ah, Long Island Iced Tea is just dandy!

November 26th, 2014, 13:55
Local dive doesn't have anything non-alcoholic. Wanted a sprite or something for a break, he didn't even have that.

Zolrak 22
November 26th, 2014, 15:31
Oh come on, not even water?

I'd love to meet someone who orders that at bars.

November 26th, 2014, 19:52
I ordered a pint of milk once. Barman told me they only served milk in child portions, and I told him to do enough of those to fill a pint glass.

It was very expensive.

Zolrak 22
November 26th, 2014, 23:39
It was very expensive.

But was it worth it, Snow?

I think it was, it's about sending a message.

November 27th, 2014, 07:14
It was, because I was really drunk and I wanted milk. That was also the first time I ever got punched in a pub, and I've gotta say... I probably deserved it.

November 27th, 2014, 09:13
It was, because I was really drunk and I wanted milk. That was also the first time I ever got punched in a pub, and I've gotta say... I probably deserved it.
You could have just ordered a triple white russian with no vodka and ice and watched him try to screw it up.

November 27th, 2014, 09:46
But then it would still have Kahlua.

November 28th, 2014, 01:06
Just to throw this out there--I failed a Japanese course (an intensive 6 week summer course) a year before my graduation and I got alternate last year so you've still got hope.