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Thread: JET: 2018

  1. #1

    Default JET: 2018

    Good afternoon fellow people-who-love-Japan-enough-to-abandon-a-good-country-to-teach-snotty-kids!

    Most forums have an 'Introduce Yourself' area, but I didn't see one, so I thought I would just get started right away.

    I'm currently finishing up my freshman year in college, and I have my whole life ahead of me (minus ~20 years, so not really). I've had a certain level of Japan fever for the majority of my adolescent/young adult life. My love for the country began with Miyazaki films, and developed over time into a better founded appreciation of its history, culture and philosophy.

    I say all this simply to spare you the trouble of typing out legitimate but (in this case) unnecessary warnings about coming to Japan with naive expectations of a Sakura filled biome amuk with ninjas, geisha, ramen and slice-of-life drama. I know what Japan is like, I've given much thought to this, and I have a number of reasons (both 'sophisticated' and 'naive') for still firmly desiring to spend a good amount of time in the country.

    So when I found out about the JET program, I was thrilled. It syncs with my life-goals, expertise, areas of interest, and basically it's perfect for me (which clearly isn't an unusual situation; hence this forum).

    I have been somewhat discouraged to find out from lurking, however, that the JET program seems to be losing steam in Japan, and that placement may become extremely difficult in the near future.

    So I thought I would pitch this to those of you who are informed: what are the prospects of a 2018 graduate for getting into JET? Just assume I'll have good grades, pass JLPT N1, and really solid paperwork skills.

    TL;DR I love Japan, and JET sounds awesome. Assuming I play the game as well as one can, what are my chances (or the chances of any 2018 graduate) of getting into JET?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: JET: 2018

    I thought the JET program was expanding in the run up to the Olympics?

  3. #3
    Senior Member ambrosse's Avatar
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    Default Re: JET: 2018

    Welcome~
    Actually since the announcement of the 2020 Olympics, the government is expanding the program!
    So I wouldn't feed too much into negative media feedback prior to the news ab out the Olympics.

    As for chances in general, it's all relative. The program may be expanding, but the number of applicants may be growing as well (I actually think that for the 2015 pool, there weren't as many applicants as Tokyo had hoped, haha).
    Either way, just get involved in the community, tutor, teach in any way, interact with international folks, be a part of student organizations at your Uni that relate to Japan.
    Study abroad if you can. Most of the people I know who shortlisted or wait-listed have studied abroad, did an exchange program, or just visited Japan for some level of time (oddly enough, I' m not one of those people, but shortlisted anyway).
    All of those will help boost your chances of being selected. Know yourself well in order to write a compelling Statement of Purpose letter, and make connections with professors, leaders, etc. as you will need two letters of reference at some point.
    Last edited by ambrosse; April 13th, 2015 at 09:52.

  4. #4

    Default Re: JET: 2018

    I can tell you right off the bat Japanese skill should literally the least of your worries... obviously studying it can only help you, but I'm pretty sure 90% of us 2015 shortlisters blew that section of the interview and we got in. It's the last thing they score you on, they take people of all levels, really.

    You'll have a good shot if you present yourself as a competent person with a real interest in Japan/cultural exchange, etc, and don't only go on about why you love Japan. You've seriously got a ton time, don't freak out yet, enjoy your time in college and get involved in stuff that interests you - no matter what it is, JET will be see that you're getting involved in your community, and probably want to know how you'll relate that to being an ALT.

    Like ambrosse, I hadn't studied abroad either, but they asked me about my vacations abroad (and I didn't go to Japan, I went to Europe). I'm sure overseas experiences is something they're interested in.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Fantasylife's Avatar
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    Default Re: JET: 2018

    Double ditto what Ambrosse and Weepinbell said about studying abroad or traveling abroad in general. They focused a bit on that in my interview, particularly how I handled situations where I stood out as a foreigner. Thankfully I had good answers for those questions, having done a year-long degree program in Great Britain and studying abroad in Japan. I think what they really want to know is how you will hold up living in another country for an extended amount of time. And going abroad, even if it's just for a vacation, will definitely give you something to draw on should you be asked that question.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ambrosse's Avatar
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    Default Re: JET: 2018

    Quote Originally Posted by weepinbell View Post
    I can tell you right off the bat Japanese skill should literally the least of your worries... obviously studying it can only help you, but I'm pretty sure 90% of us 2015 shortlisters blew that section of the interview and we got in. It's the last thing they score you on, they take people of all levels, really.
    Word. I over-estimated my Japanese skill level, failed miserably at the "test," but I tried to have fun with it regardless.

    Quote Originally Posted by weepinbell View Post
    Like ambrosse, I hadn't studied abroad either, but they asked me about my vacations abroad (and I didn't go to Japan, I went to Europe). I'm sure overseas experiences is something they're interested in.
    Just got my passport in November
    Experience abroad isn't required, but it definitely does help.

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    Default Re: JET: 2018

    Also, try and see if you can do some kind of work with kids. Volunteer work, tutoring at your school, summer camps, whatever tickles your fancy. Even if it doesn't -make- your application and mileage will probably vary, it definitely doesn't hurt. My experience working with kids was a solid chunk of my interview. Then when I gave my mock lesson, even if it wasn't stellar or anything, I remember one of my interviewers remarked with a smile 'I can tell you're used to working with kids'.

  8. #8
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: JET: 2018

    Dude. Seriously, come back in 2 years, after having some fun in Uni, and talk to us again. DO NOT MAKE JET YOUR LIFE GOAL, your chances are always less than 50%, and I've seen people devastated from not getting on the program.

    Also, JLPT is only relevant for the CIR position, it has nothing to do with the ALT side really. Grades are irrelevant. Your interests are only part of the game.

    What will you bring to the table that matters? You haven't mentioned anything about that at all.
    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.

  9. #9
    PIKITIS!!!!! x_stei's Avatar
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    Default Re: JET: 2018

    Have fun in college/university. Have a bit of work experience in your home country before you apply. I feel knowing what professional life is like might be good to have so you know what working might be like. <- This is my personal opinion, but many people might disagree.

    Don't focus all you can on Japan; have experience and exposure to other cultures and languages and show off those experiences in your application and SOP (when it comes to that). Knowing Japanese isn't necessary to getting shortlisted; JLPT isn't necessary unless it benefits your future career goals or if you only want to be an ALT.

    My best advice is to know what you want in your life and career and how JET will make them better.
    Last edited by x_stei; April 13th, 2015 at 12:21.

  10. #10

    Default Re: JET: 2018

    ^^^^ Yes. I totally agree with Gizmo and stei. I knew I wanted to go for JET my junior year, but I literally didn't really think about it again until two years later, a few months before the 2015 application opened up.

    I didn't actively do anything to prepare for JET in college, I just had a good time, got wasted probably too many times, and got involved in stuff that I liked... I feel like if I went through my last 2 years of college worrying about JET, it would have seriously sucked. And then if you happen to not get in, that's two years of your life you could have spent having the time of your life, gone. Even if you do get in, same thing. You have 3 years left, seriously, HAVE FUN. There is really gonna be no time in your academic life like college.

    JET doesn't have to be your holy grail... if you wanna get to Japan and teach, there are seriously so many ways to do it, even if it's not through JET. I don't think it hurts to make it your goal right now, but again, you really don't need to be so early to the game.

    Also, to tag onto stei, know how you will benefit JET through your interests/experiences, too, which definitely shouldn't be ALL related to Japan.

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    Default JET: 2018

    Whereabouts do you live, and what are you thinking of studying at university? Also, what is your level of Japanese right now? Just a year of university level work, or did you have some instruction prior?

    Your chances are both low and high. It's very easy to get into jet, and yet every year thousands of people apply and don't get in. Many of them have studied Japanese, gone abroad, majored in East Asian studies, run Japanese clubs, taught English as a second language or some combination of all of these. Some people get in and have done none of them. It's not entirely random, but just understand that it's not a recipe you have to cook with certain ingredients. You have to display in your life, your statement of purpose, and your interview that you value international exchange and a willingness to face uncertainty and adapt. Any of the above things can develop these qualities in you, but they won't do so by themselves.
    Last edited by greyjoy; April 13th, 2015 at 13:16.

  12. #12

    Default Re: JET: 2018

    Thank you all for your insights! I am encouraged to hear about the 2020 Olympics, and the advice some of you have given gives me some notion how to better my chances of being accepted, although I am also very prepared to fail.

    I have always said that one must hope for the best and expect the worst, for then he will never be disappointed.

    I hope to stay somewhat active on these forums over the next few years, unless something seriously changes. Certainly I won't devote too much time to JET right now, but it always helps to plan.

    Quote Originally Posted by weepinbell
    You've seriously got a ton time


    That is what I told myself when I was eight. And then I was eighteen. Tomorrow, I will be eighty: and then I will be dead.

    "As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
    For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more."
    - Psalm 103:15-16

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech
    DO NOT MAKE JET YOUR LIFE GOAL....

    Also, JLPT is only relevant for the CIR position, it has nothing to do with the ALT side really. ...

    What will you bring to the table that matters? You haven't mentioned anything about that at all.
    This quote summarizes most of the points others have brought up that I ought to respond to.

    Rest assured, I have a fairly clear idea what my life goals are, and they are definitely bigger than the JET or even Japan. However, there is overlap. I'll (try very hard to) pass N1 whether I get into JET or not (I think of it as a bonus qualification rather than a requirement), and I'll go to Japan either way.

    Life has taught me well enough not to put all my eggs in one basket. But (if I am not misled) JET would give me the chance to passively observe Japanese life for an extended period of time, without the artificial sugarcoating of a vacation. And at the same time, I could make a small living, and interact with students.

    I am no tourist. I am interested in Japan for its raw, impure vitality, rough edges and all. JET's mission statement is close to my heart; I am devoted to being part (even if an infinitesimally small part) of the bridge between Japan and the west.

    Quote Originally Posted by weepinbell
    you really don't need to be so early to the game
    But neither can it hurt. For (although I tire of using trite English maxims) the early bird catches the worm.
    Last edited by Noogah; April 13th, 2015 at 13:54.

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    Default Re: JET: 2018

    I don't think it's necessarily bad to have an interest in JET early on - it was never my life goal or anything, but when I was short on goals and ambition, JET was something to get me moving. One small thing like that led to a lot of bigger things along the way. Since I was pursuing activities that I thought would make me a better applicant, people knew where my interests were and helped me network and make connections that were beneficial way beyond the program itself. I found a lot of great opportunities that were life goal worthy to pursue along the way. I ended up having a ton of options open in case JET didn't pan out, I was excited for all of them, and ultimately they'll still be here when I get back.

    I mean, honestly, I'm sort of a weird ass case; but if I had to give any advice to people who were interested in applying way off in the future, I'd say go ahead and pursue what excites you. But use that thing as a launching board, not something to hold you back from pursuing other things, and make sure to always keep an open mind.

    (Back to lurking I go!)

  14. #14
    The Sun's Bird God..what? Zolrak 22's Avatar
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    Default Re: JET: 2018

    The Olympics is the big event that's opening up placements all over, heck even Tokyo, which is known for being an impossible position, is starting to have more and more JET placements.

    An applicants chances of being accepted might actually be better by the time you graduate.

    Quote Originally Posted by frayedflower View Post
    (Back to lurking I go!)
    Awww .

  15. #15
    read half. react. BifCarbet's Avatar
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    Default Re: JET: 2018

    You're right. It can't hurt to start bettering your resume, but the JET Program selection process is so damn fickle. Do some work with kids, study the language a bit, study abroad in Japan, take a self-funded trip to volunteer somewhere, maybe even teach some classes. Try working for a parks and rec department part time as a counselor/coach/whatever. Put yourself in a good position, but please, god, don't spend the next couple years on JET forums or writing your Statement of Purpose over and over again.

    Note: Even if JET does dwindle down, or for some reason you don't make it, the dream doesn't die there. You can still go with a private company.
    Last edited by BifCarbet; April 13th, 2015 at 14:46.
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  16. #16
    read half. react. BifCarbet's Avatar
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    Default Re: JET: 2018

    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    heck even Tokyo, which is known for being an impossible position, is starting to have more and more JET placements.
    105 ALTs in Tokyo as of last July. I couldn't believe it.
    Last edited by BifCarbet; April 13th, 2015 at 14:50.
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    Default Re: JET: 2018

    The plan supposedly is to increase Tokyo's numbers by 100 each year so that by 2020, there are 500 jets in Tokyo. From what I remember of the press release.

  18. #18

    Default Re: JET: 2018

    I'm so relieved I only found out about JET last July, because if I'd have waited for three-/+ years rather than the already excruciating ten months from discovering the programme to getting shortlisted, I'd have gone insane.

    Personally, I echo what some others have said. You need to "forget" about JET for a while. Focus on Uni/College and try to have as much fun as possible while doing so. It'll fly by and before you know it you'll be graduating. You don't want to look back and feel like you spent the whole time worrying about how to get onto JET.

  19. #19

    Default Re: JET: 2018

    Quote Originally Posted by greyjoy View Post
    The plan supposedly is to increase Tokyo's numbers by 100 each year so that by 2020, there are 500 jets in Tokyo. From what I remember of the press release.
    Abe released statements last year about 'doubling' the amount of ALTs in Japan. Not only JET of course, but ALT/English is gaining steam, both as the 'international business' side that Abe is pushing, as well as the tourist-focused domestically usable English.

  20. #20

    Default Re: JET: 2018

    I still have some level of anxiety. If Japan plans to double the number of ALTs in Japan, will it not launch a campaign to spread international awareness about the program?

    In three years' time, I fear JET will be swamped.

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