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Thread: Trying again for 2015?

  1. #1
    Member ichigo's Avatar
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    Default Trying again for 2015?

    I lurked on this site for the 2014 application round, and sadly wasn't offered an interview. Since I haven't really found any super awesome career-boosting options and I'm still going to be in gap-year mode for the next couple years, I'm still gungho about applying in 2015.

    I've read a lot about people getting in and everything, even repeat ALTs, but how many of you guys are considering reapplying for 2015 after not receiving an interview? And for those that got in after being rejected before (whether after application or after interview stage) what did you change?

    (I also apologize in advance for any of my noobie-ness. I'm new to posting in JET related forums)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    Hey Ichigo,

    I don't know if you've stumbled across this blog/ wordpress yet, but there are some insights on just this topic that you might find useful. So youre applying to JET again | Ladama Does Japan

    In that post, the author writes about tweaking things, but not drastically changing them, so I think probably sitting down with your original application (if you still have a copy) and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of it. For example, did you emphasize grassroots cultural exchange over 'teaching'? And things of that nature.

    Good luck! (and welcome to the forums!)

  3. #3
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    I disagree with that author quite a bit.

    You should actively sit down and figure out where your potential weaknesses were, what you can do over the next 7 months before the next application period to improve your application (how many extra boxes can you tick between then and now).

    Consider that in the last intake, my prefecture had a lot of teachers (B.Eds) and many with tesol of some sort, how do you look compared to someone who is tailored for the whole process end to end?
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    If you weren't even offered an interview then something about your application marked you as being unsuitable for the program. You need to find out what that is and fix it.

    Also you ask yourself the question they may well ask you (in kinder terms); where are you going with your life? If you do nothing for a year only to apply again for a temp job that you were outright rejected for their going to want some sort of reason and if you don't have one then they probably aren't going to treat your application any differently than last time.

    Without knowing anything about your application it's impossible to say anything more about why you were rejected.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    As well as what everyone else said, consider the completeness of your application. About 1/4 of the American ones are thrown out because of some clerical error or something that's incomplete. Make sure your transcripts match exactly what the instructions ask for, and that you have them for every school you've attended (including study abroad). If you have any kind of medical thing, get a physician's form just in case. Make sure your references are from people who liked you. That kind of thing.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    I disagree with that author quite a bit.

    You should actively sit down and figure out where your potential weaknesses were, what you can do over the next 7 months before the next application period to improve your application (how many extra boxes can you tick between then and now).

    Consider that in the last intake, my prefecture had a lot of teachers (B.Eds) and many with tesol of some sort, how do you look compared to someone who is tailored for the whole process end to end?
    Gizmotech, do you think a TEFL or TESL certification significantly improves an applicant's chances? I was always curious about that.

    If that's the case, maybe look into Coursera.org (which has an online class offered by the University of Oregon). Our JET coordinator recommended this recently. It's a five week course, and you could definitely mention it in your application even if you don't get a certificate from it.
    I'm sure there are other options for this as well, if this is a path you're interested in pursuing.

    As far as that blog goes, I don't necessarily agree with all the statements (and I didn't mean to provide misinformation), but it was the only documentation that came to mind of someone with a similar experience (failing to get an interview the first time, getting a spot on the program the following year). I think how you change your application is probably very particular to your situation and what its original weaknesses were. For example, it could be that you had stellar references and a weak SOP or vice versa, or maybe some necessary documents were missing. Only you'll be able to examine and change your application based on knowledge of those particulars.
    Last edited by ckrisp; May 7th, 2014 at 06:45.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    Quote Originally Posted by ckrisp View Post
    Gizmotech, do you think a TEFL or TESL certification significantly improves an applicant's chances? I was always curious about that.

    If that's the case, maybe look into Coursera.org (which has an online class offered by the University of Oregon). Our JET coordinator recommended this recently. It's a five week course, and you could definitely mention it in your application even if you don't get a certificate from it.
    I'm sure there are other options for this as well, if this is a path you're interested in pursuing.

    As far as that blog goes, I don't necessarily agree with all the statements (and I didn't mean to provide misinformation), but it was the only documentation that came to mind of someone with a similar experience (failing to get an interview the first time, getting a spot on the program the following year). I think how you change your application is probably very particular to your situation and what its original weaknesses were. For example, it could be that you had stellar references and a weak SOP or vice versa, or maybe some necessary documents were missing. Only you'll be able to examine and change your application based on knowledge of those particulars.
    If I hadn't had my CELTA certificate I don't know what I would have talked about for multiple sections on the application. It gives you a credible teaching certificate, classroom hours actually conducting lessons, lesson planning experience, interaction with people from different cultures. I sincerely doubt that I would have even been given an interview without it.

    On another note, maybe you could post your application here, Ichigo. We could possibly give you some pointers...
    Last edited by spman2099; May 7th, 2014 at 08:21.
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    They're gonna burn you inside a giant wicker anpanman.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    Quote Originally Posted by spman2099 View Post
    If I hadn't had my CELTA certificate I don't know what I would have talked about for multiple sections on the application. It gives you a credible teaching certificate, classroom hours actually conducting lessons, lesson planning experience, interaction with people from different cultures. I sincerely doubt that I would have even been given an interview without it.

    On another note, maybe you could post your application here, Ichigo. We could possibly give you some pointers...
    Fair enough. I suppose I've done a lot of English literacy tutoring without necessarily being certified. I would guess volunteer experience or otherwise in a classroom setting would be to your benefit, as that does come up multiple times on the application. I just wasn't sure whether a background in education or a TESL certification would immediately boost your chances, but I guess it makes sense!

  9. #9
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    Celta and a REAL tesol (not those pansy ass 120 hour online BS things) are great additions. Many ALTs have em.

    I would not recommend COURSERA as a replacement for an actual certificate program though. While coursera is an interesting platform for learning, it is not equal in terms to a real course. (IE a course that requires some sort of mentorship/real world placement)
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    I dunno, doing any kind of course is at least something you can point to when you apply again. It might not be worth much outside of that but it's better than nothing.

    As far as I've heard the only online course that's really worth anything is the Cambridge one.

  11. #11
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    Sure it's better than nothing, but doing a Coursera course on ESL is about as effective on a resume as saying you've read the Blackwell publishing ESL handbook. It holds no credential weight at the moment.

    The Cambridge online one is good, but it's not a full CELTA as it doesn't have the practical (unless you go and do it).
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    I also want to add that the CELTA course was great. I felt like I learnt a lot. Now, everyone else in the class was an experienced teacher (most had more than three years experience), and they did question how effective their method of lesson planning would be in a real world setting (as the lesson plan structure is a little excessive and can take more than four hours per lesson), but I think the idea was to familiarize us with an exaggerated form of lesson planning. Also, most of the people I took it with were satisfied with the program when all was said and done, so it wasn't like I was the only one who was pleased. That being said, it was incredibly time consuming. I was getting very little sleep. It is a pretty dense course. Don't get me wrong, it is all easy, but there is a lot of work to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    They're gonna burn you inside a giant wicker anpanman.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    As an alternate I'm dealing with the possibility that I might have to apply again. I have been thinking about doing a few things to boost my score and have a better chance of becoming a shortlister. I have been thinking about doing four things: obtaining a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA Certificate, volunteering teaching young children English, joining an Aikido Dojo, Studying for and passing the next JLPT level.

    I wonder if a TEFL certificate has different weights on the JET Program in particular depending on which school awarded the certificate. Georgetown university offers a rather expensive $4000 TEFL certificate via an online-hybrid course which I don't want to pay for. There is also the cheap online options. I wonder if a JET applicant will significatly alter their chances with a certificate from Georgetown vs Cambridge online.

    Volunteering to teach young children immigrants English is free but yet another background check has to be done for that. But I feel as if this would have the most weight out of anything to receive a higher score on the application.

    The one thing that I've wanted to do is join an Aikido class. I've wanted to do this for a long time, it's the price of a typical gym membership but it wouldn't necessarily be for JET or any jobs like JET, personal enjoyment alone. This option would probably have the least impact on the application but it wouldn't hurt. I was wondering how much does anyone else think it would be worth.

    Also, studying and passing the next level of the JLPT would improve my Japanese score on the application. However, The test isn't until the first Sunday in December. I would only be able to inform the Embassy if I had passed the test at the interview and I don't think it would change my score much unless I improve my "bonus points" for the little Japanese quiz that is given during the interview.

    What do you guys think?
    2014 DC alternate
    2015 DC shortlist

  14. #14
    Official JET Staff miamicoordinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    I will give my unbiased opinion on this matter.

    If your application was good enough to get you an interview the first time around, then a few tweaks here and here might be all that is necessary. It never hurts making your application stronger by adding more work experience, Japanese ability, etc... Just, please don't send the exact same SOP as the year before. At least change it up a little bit to show how much you have grown over the past year.

    Now, if you did not get an interview, then absolutely do a rehaul of your application. If it was not strong enough this year, chances are it will not be strong enough next year(there can be exceptions since scoring is very subjective between the different scorers they have).

    My biggest piece of advice here is this: The cause for your alternate status means that you did not do AS well as others in the interview process. You may have had a good interview, but others did better. Do mock interviews, work on your nerves, and show the panel why you should be picked this year. What has changed? How have you improved yourself as a candidate. I know interviews are very nervewracking, but you need to show us confidence. Do not focus so much on traidtional JET interviews questions you see online. Focus on presenting yourself to us as an educator with goals and focus in life.

    There are many people who make it the 2nd time around. Take the experiences you have learned from this time, and apply it to next year.

    Good luck everyone!
    Last edited by miamicoordinator; May 9th, 2014 at 06:31.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    Writing is important. If I was a reviewer and I had to reduce the numbers in half the first thing I would do is look for poor or sloppy writing. Spelling mistakes, poor word usage and grammar. They always say your resume should be free of all spelling and grammar mistakes and your application/essay should as well.

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  17. #17
    Official JET Staff miamicoordinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    Quote Originally Posted by jacklostinred View Post
    Writing is important. If I was a reviewer and I had to reduce the numbers in half the first thing I would do is look for poor or sloppy writing. Spelling mistakes, poor word usage and grammar. They always say your resume should be free of all spelling and grammar mistakes and your application/essay should as well.
    100% this.

    The majority of the SOPs have mistakes in them. Some people think that their SOP is a creative writing essay, and get a little too abstract. Some have simple grammatical or spelling mistakes. Few of them are perfect. I know it is difficult to adequeately portray everything we ask for in two, double spaced pages. Your SOP is a very important part of your application.

  18. #18
    Senior Member kenkennif's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    Is it nearly 2015 already?!
    I feel old.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    Hello everyone. I don't know if anyone will remember me, I wasn't exactly a prolific poster back when I was on here 2-3 years ago, but I'm back. As you probably figured from posting in this thread I am also 'trying again' for 2015 or at least seriously considering it. It's be two years, nearly another degree in Education(the nearly makes a long story and is part of the reason I am back on the JET idea), and I'm looking forward to the next year. I'm wondering what I should do to prepare for the next year, it's been a while after all. Just for info I was on the alternate list last time, so extra pressure to make it this time!

  20. #20
    Senior Moment Antonath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trying again for 2015?

    Quote Originally Posted by Moirica View Post
    Hello everyone. I don't know if anyone will remember me, I wasn't exactly a prolific poster back when I was on here 2-3 years ago, but I'm back. As you probably figured from posting in this thread I am also 'trying again' for 2015 or at least seriously considering it. It's be two years, nearly another degree in Education(the nearly makes a long story and is part of the reason I am back on the JET idea), and I'm looking forward to the next year. I'm wondering what I should do to prepare for the next year, it's been a while after all. Just for info I was on the alternate list last time, so extra pressure to make it this time!
    The advice will be pretty much the same. Review your SOP, and change it to reflect the last two years: what have you done to make yourself a better candidate this time around; how have you kept your interest in Japan going. Contact references to feel them out, as you will probably use different people to last time.
    ...because Japan.

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