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Thread: Basic application info and common JET myths

  1. #1

    Default Basic application info and common JET myths

    Here's some good information pulled from the JET Official Forums on JET application myths (taking out some of the tldr and rainbows). Take the time to read through this before posting a question that has been asked a dozen times and get insta e-rep +50. If you're in need of being comforted about an aspect of your application that you're feeling weak about, run a search and you're bound to find someone else who has had the same problem.

    Blue is straight from the mouths of JET coordinator babes, italics is my own added opinion and purple are questions frequently asked here.

    The JET Program is looking for people who don't speak Japanese

    Although it is not required to have studied about Japan or speak Japanese it is helpful if you have a background and interest in Japan. This myth often is perpetuated from unsuccessful JET applicants who have a background studying Japanese. It is important to remember that the JET Program not only focuses on individuals interested in Japan, but also those interested in teaching and participating in cross-culture exchange.

    In the same vein, they don't necessarily prefer people who do speak Japanese. There are just BOEs who request Japanese/no Japanese and others that don't give a crap. While it has it's obvious benefits on your application, you don't have to force yourself to study it to make yourself look good unless you have the time and money to spare.

    The JET Program prefers white Anglo applicants

    The JET Program does not discriminate against someone's ethnicity. In the application there is no place to indicate your ethnicity. Most current and former JET Participants will tell you that JET participants are very diverse with a mix of different cultures, genders, sexual orientations, and ethnic backgrounds.

    It is easier/harder to be accepted at [insert Japanese Embassy/Consulate location here]

    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.

    The JET Program prefers applicants that are currently students who will be graduating in the fall/spring

    Although many of our applicants are current students interested in participating on the JET Program right after graduation every year there are more and more successful applicants who are not recent graduates. This year (2011) the majority of the participants we sent from our consulate had already graduated when they applied for the JET.

    In my un-official opinion, this myth was built on the fact that the majority of applicants until recently (with the worldwide job slump) were all recent graduates. The application process is all about spinning your own experiences and there are plenty of ways to spin your age/school gap into a positive light.

    The JET Program only has placements in very rural areas of Japan

    Although it is true that most of the placements on the JET Program are rural there are still many suburban and urban placements. These placements may not be in the areas that are as well known (i.e. Tokyo) as other urban placements, but if you are interested in a more urban setting research Japan and find a city that may not have as many placement requests. I recommend referring to p.11 of the JET Brochure put out by CLAIR

    You have a better chance of being accepted to the JET Program if you put "No Preference" when requesting placement

    Ideally a JET Participant will thrive wherever they will be placed in Japan, but this doesn't mean the program does not take into account an applicant's placement request and it does not help/hurt you if you put "No Preference" on your application. I recommend that when applying you research Japan and match your interests to the locations you request. JET Participants are in Japan for a minimum of one year, we want them to be comfortable and happy where they will be living.

    Above all have a well thought-out reason for what you choose in case you are asked in the interview (i.e. No pref because you're ready to try anything or "xxx-city" because your home state/country has a sister relationship with it, etc.)

    If I put "No Driver's License" I will have a better chance of being placed in an Urban area

    Whether you have an international driver's license or not you may be placed in a rural setting where it may be much more convenient to drive. If you do not have a license you may be burdened a difficult commute.
    If I mention my arrest or medical problem, I won't get in.

    Yes, criminal records and medical conditions (including depression and mental illness) are taken into consideration, and yes there is a chance that a criminal record or health condition could potentially lead to a rejection. ... Whether or not a criminal record or medical condition would disqualify an applicant depends upon the issue and the circumstances surrounding it. ... The worst thing you could do is neglect to disclose something. If we discover that an applicant withheld something that was supposed to be disclosed in the application, it will result in immediate disqualification (even if it was by accident). If you're not sure if something should be included or not (or if you're tempted to "forget" to include something), just put it in. If you even have to ask, it should be in there.

    If there's something you're really concerned about and unsure if it'll show up (criminally) you can do an advance check on yourself and find out what they'll be seeing. Also, traffic violations (unless you killed a dude, have 100 of them) don't seem to affect applications.

    I have way more experience and interest in JET than my classmate, but he got in and I was rejected. JET is totally random.

    There's a lot of time and effort that goes into the JET selection process. There is nothing random about it. However, selections are made through a combined effort of many people, and as such different people have different opinions and perspectives. Your classmate's personality could have seemed like a better fit for JET than yours. Or, maybe the people who reviewed your application and interview were harsher than the people who looked at his. We work hard to standardize the selection process, but there will always be that human element there. That will never go away, and neither should it. Our primary goal will always be to find the people whom we feel will make the best JETs. There's no magic equation that will lead to acceptance. ... Remember, no one "deserves" to be a JET, at least not more so than anyone else.

    People can be good fakers on paper and even in interviews, unfortunately it's just the way it is. Plenty of fuk knuckles get in.

    In the application, I used paperclips where I was supposed to use staples and staples where I was supposed to use paperclips. Will the application be discarded?

    No. Your application won't be rejected for that, but it will slow down the processing stage, which delays the reviewing stage, which delays the interview notifications. So, to speed up the process (and to avoid potential point reductions), follow the instructions as closely as possible.

    If my GPA isn't great, I'm not going to get in.

    Not true! Plenty of people have gotten in with subpar grades (personally I got in the first time with a 2.6 GPA), grades aren't completely unimportant but I don't think they rank highly on the list of "what's important in a JET applicant."

    Applying with tattoos and piercings

    If you have piercings or tattoos it's not an instant ban, but be sensible and take them out/cover them up for the interview. You can put 'em back in when you get the job and go with it from there.
    References in Japanese
    Perfectly acceptable. Please note, however, that as it's the JET program they probably won't appreciate (and may not be able to translate) references in languages other than Japanese or English. It's up to you to explain to your Japanese reference all the rules they have to follow when it comes to sealing/signing.

    Specific questions about living conditions/rent/living costs/etc.

    JET may have banned the words "ESID" but it still thrives here, don't bother asking about what books people use, how classes are run, living. costs, etc. It all varies town to town, city to city and certainly prefecture to prefecture. There's loads of threads around to get an idea about what we have (and there's nothing wrong with asking current JETs about it) but just know there's no guarantee that you'll find yourself in the same situation.
    Last edited by Page; October 3rd, 2013 at 14:09.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini
    If you are a empty husk of a man with no ambition come on jet, stay forever, drink yourself into a stupor every night, hurl abuse at people on itil like a roided up chimp at the feces olympics and die of thyroid cancer in your early 40s.

  2. #2

    Default re: Basic application info and common JET myths

    Now I can't tell people to google things. How will I chafe Beer Baron?

    To add another ¥2, no one here can give a terribly informed opinion about the odds of your acceptance. Even those of us with good intentions will be wrong most of the time; last year a guy with a funky criminal record made it in when most people thought he wouldn't even get an interview. If you meet the requirements, apply. Just don't pin all your hopes on JET. If you have a black mark and want help on how to spin it, please ask.

    But fishing for generalized reassurance online is tantamount to slathering yourself in honey and sitting in a bear pit.
    Last edited by uthinkimlost?; September 28th, 2011 at 12:30.
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  3. #3

    Default re: Basic application info and common JET myths

    I also like to tell people to google things. Running a search yourself (and prefacing questions by saying that you did) are good ways to let people know you're not a lazy tool.

    Also that's verily true about our opinions, but hopefully the JET coordinator responses can be taken at face value.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini
    If you are a empty husk of a man with no ambition come on jet, stay forever, drink yourself into a stupor every night, hurl abuse at people on itil like a roided up chimp at the feces olympics and die of thyroid cancer in your early 40s.

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    magic markers Gezora's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uthinkimlost? View Post
    Now I can't tell people to google things in an effort to chafe Beer Baron.

    To add another ¥2, no one here can give a terribly informed opinion about the odds of your acceptance. Even those of us with good intentions will be wrong most of the time; last year a guy with a funky criminal record made it in when most people thought he wouldn't even get an interview. If you meet the requirements, apply. Just don't pin all your hopes on JET. If you have a black mark and want help on how to spin it, please ask.

    But fishing for generalized reassurance online is tantamount to slathering yourself in honey and sitting in a bear pit.
    This.

    Also, I'm not sure if people researching JET years in advance and fretting about every little detail will necessarily guarantee they'll get in. Plus, it's the kind of thing that can make you crazy and make the applying process a lot worse.

    For the preliminary application and SOP I didn't go online for help. I didn't have anyone who had been on JET look at my SOP. I got an interview. Use the Force, Luke.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Only a fool would do a teachers workload for an assistants salary.

  5. #5

    Default re: Basic application info and common JET myths

    The biggest mistake you can make is in thinking that you somehow deserve a spot on JET or that it's random or that the people selecting candidates don't know what they're doing. Have a little humility and mix in a healthy attitude toward the application process that isn't obsessive and you'll have a decent chance.

  6. #6

    Default re: Basic application info and common JET myths

    Essentially, if you are not a socially inept or have no common sense - you are more likely to succeed. However, common sense is increasingly rare these days.

    Despite that though, as the discussion on the official forums pointed out - the interview process is just as possible to blag as it is to fail based on the whims of the interviewers.

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    Cool Story, Bro Takoyaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Page View Post
    You have a better chance of being accepted to the JET Program if you put "No Preference" when requesting placement
    Ideally a JET Participant will thrive wherever they will be placed in Japan, but this doesn't mean the program does not take into account an applicant's placement request and it does not help/hurt you if you put "No Preference" on your application. I recommend that when applying you research Japan and match your interests to the locations you request. JET Participants are in Japan for a minimum of one year, we want them to be comfortable and happy where they will be living.

    My 2 yen: A well thought out reason about why you want to go to X place is far and above choosing either "No Preference" or wanting to go somewhere because you were there before.
    just on this note, as i went on exchange in a particular city in high school i was going to put that as my first preference
    reasoning that i want to inspire an interest in my students in foreign cultures the same way the people of that city inspired my interest in japanese culture,

    is that fine or would it be better to pick an area i have a specific interest in instead?
    I probably post things that interest you
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    Senior Member Froren's Avatar
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    Default re: Basic application info and common JET myths

    Another common sense suggestion, that applies for any job and specifically for JET. Do some google searching yourself about JET and what you're applying for and what they're interested in getting from you. I'd venture to say that a large majority of rejected applications don't even really understand what JET wants from applicants. This applies for all jobs, you don't go in for an interview having zero idea about the job you applied for, the same for JET.
    Last edited by Froren; October 3rd, 2011 at 12:05.
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  9. #9

    Default re: Basic application info and common JET myths

    I think as long as you have good reasoning beyond "I went there, dog" there's nothing wrong with it. I asked to be put in the prefecture I am (in the city where I did exchange at 15 and then again as a assistant translator at 23), using the sister state/prefecture relationship (though I didn't get place there since they're all private ALTs now).

    That said, there's nothing wrong with asking to go somewhere you studied abroad, just helps to have a good reason and make sure you don't come off as close minded about where you go.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini
    If you are a empty husk of a man with no ambition come on jet, stay forever, drink yourself into a stupor every night, hurl abuse at people on itil like a roided up chimp at the feces olympics and die of thyroid cancer in your early 40s.

  10. #10
    Cool Story, Bro Takoyaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Page View Post
    I think as long as you have good reasoning beyond "I went there, dog" there's nothing wrong with it. I asked to be put in the prefecture I am (in the city where I did exchange at 15 and then again as a assistant translator at 23), using the sister state/prefecture relationship (though I didn't get place there since they're all private ALTs now).

    That said, there's nothing wrong with asking to go somewhere you studied abroad, just helps to have a good reason and make sure you don't come off as close minded about where you go.
    Thankyou for your help, I shall continue researching ^_^
    I probably post things that interest you
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Basic application info and common JET myths

    I heard recently that JET is critical towards applicants that are currently supervisors. The reason being that people in supervisor roles tend not to adapt to being back as an "underling". Should I tailor my SOP to stress my personality as someone who readily team works and takes direction from others? (I am irl a huge people pleaser)

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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basic application info and common JET myths

    Uhh, If they were critical of that I would never have been hired in the first place. I've been regional supervisor of one company, and I was the primary hatchet man at another.
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    Default Re: Basic application info and common JET myths

    I was a problem solver / noob evaluator for my old school and I got in, even talked about it in the interview, and a few of my jet-friends had similar positions. I don't think it matters so much, to be honest.
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