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Thread: What are my chances of being accepted?

  1. #1

    Default What are my chances of being accepted?

    Greetings current/aspiring JETers! I'm not sure if there's a dedicated thread for this kind of topic but I'd appreciate any advice before I put all my hopes into applying and crossing my fingers. My name is Will. I'm 28 y/o white american from California. I graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2011 with a BS in computer science and game design (summa cum laude if that matters). I've worked a lot of different IT jobs from web design to mobile apps for the past 5 years. I originally planned to apply right after graduating but I got into a serious relationship for several years and kind of put it on the back burner. But I've finally decided that now's the time to make the big leap! I'll be applying to a few other programs, but ideally of course, JET would be my first choice. So here's a run down of my pros and cons.

    The Positives:

    I come from a teaching family. Mom teaches 3rd grade. Dad used to teach Political Science.

    I tutored High School and college kids in CS and math when I was an undergrad and also did a short stint within an after school program at a local elementary school. Since 2015 I've been working part-time, 20 hrs/wk at a tutoring center as one of the head instructors. We teach K-12, math, reading, writing and Pre-SAT. We do some homework help, but most of the time we use our own lesson plans/materials. Both 1 on 1 and small groups. I've had all kinds of students, from over-achievers to ADD kids and really enjoy it most of the time. It feels closer to being a teacher than a tutor and I've definitely learned a lot. Especially the need to be energetic.

    Like a lot of aspiring JETs, I fell in love with Japan from a young age through video games and anime. I've always been fascinated with Japanese history and have a notebook full of scribbles for game projects I've wanted to pursue. I'm self-taught in Japanese equaling about a semester and a half and I have pen-pals I practice with. So, suffice to say, living in Japan would be fulfilling a lifelong dream.

    I have one good recommendation letter from my boss at the tutoring center. (Not sure who else to ask other than profs, but it's been almost 5 years since graduating.)

    Personally, I love ramen, video games, basketball, reading and taiko.



    Now for the negatives:

    I don't have a TEFL certificate. Money was tight and I had to work long hours (low level IT amirite?)

    I had some anxiety trouble in my college years and have been on meds sine then. Haven't had any anxiety issues since college but haven't weaned off of the meds yet. Handling stress isn't an issue anymore, but I'm not sure if this is a deal breaker for JET.

    I also have weak hearing in one ear. It's usually not a problem but in super-quiet office environments I sometimes needed to use a hearing aid.



    Currently working on my personal essay and waiting for transcripts in the mail. Hopefully someone around here would be kind enough to read it once it's done . Any honest opinions or advice on my situation would be greatly appreciated!

    thanks,

    Will

  2. #2
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are my chances of being accepted?

    No TEFL isn't a negative. It's normal for JETs. The other two negatives are negatives but won't stop you. The anxiety one is probably the biggest problem.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What are my chances of being accepted?

    There are plenty of train wrecks on Jet so anxiety itself certainly isn't a deal-breaker. The meds might raise an eyebrow though.

    The "lifelong dream" schtick won't go down well with interviewers so leave that out. Concentrate on what you can do for Jet rather than what maid cafes and ramen will do for you.
    Last edited by mrcharisma; October 20th, 2016 at 22:18.

  4. #4

    Default Re: What are my chances of being accepted?

    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    No TEFL isn't a negative. It's normal for JETs. The other two negatives are negatives but won't stop you. The anxiety one is probably the biggest problem.
    I was afraid of that. There's a good chance I could wean off the meds by the time I head over in the event should I be accepted. Should I be honest about it leave it off the form or fudge the truth?

  5. #5

    Default Re: What are my chances of being accepted?

    Quote Originally Posted by chronophile View Post
    I was afraid of that. There's a good chance I could wean off the meds by the time I head over in the event should I be accepted. Should I be honest about it leave it off the form or fudge the truth?
    Lol, do not lie about anything medical related. If you pass the interview, you have to submit a form filled in by a doctor and if there are any discrepancies between the doctor's letter and your own "personal medical form" or whatever, you're automatically disqualified.

    Just be forthcoming, matter-of-fact, and honest. "Yes, I had anxiety but now I am fine." This is something your doctor could corroborate on the form he will have to write.

    You don't have to be like "oh my god my life was so terrible and blah blah blah." Just go with "From 20xx to 20xx, I was diagnosed and treated for anxiety, however, I have made a full recovery since" etc etc. Just tell the truth in a professional/non-dramatic way.
    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    It could happen. 1/100.

  6. #6

    Default Re: What are my chances of being accepted?

    Quote Originally Posted by chronophile View Post
    I was afraid of that. There's a good chance I could wean off the meds by the time I head over in the event should I be accepted. Should I be honest about it leave it off the form or fudge the truth?
    You'll have to be honest, but you'll be able to play it down especially if you're weaned off the downers before you submit the application.

    If you make it to the promised land, a couple of Strong Zero a night and a Snaggletooth keeping your bed warm will be all you need to keep the demons at bay.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What are my chances of being accepted?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrcharisma View Post
    a couple of Strong Zero a night
    I would not recommend that anybody does that.

  8. #8

    Default Re: What are my chances of being accepted?

    Quote Originally Posted by bloodr0se View Post
    I would not recommend that anybody does that.
    Yeah I'd need more than that too. Or do you just have better taste?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: What are my chances of being accepted?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Yeah I'd need more than that too. Or do you just have better taste?
    I quite like the grapefruit one but I think more than one a night would give me a headache, especially if you're talking about the big cans.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are my chances of being accepted?

    Back before I got self respect I used to strong zero the night away. 4-5 was enough if I was just trying to fall asleep.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: What are my chances of being accepted?

    Suntory Highballing the night away > Strong zeroing the night away.

  12. #12

    Default Re: What are my chances of being accepted?

    Just came across this response to a similar post about anxiety from 2015

    "JET ProgramCoordinator SF
    January 30th, 2015, 17:34
    We don't use participants' medical histories as a reason to disqualify you. The only way it can disqualify you is if either you lie about it on your initial application and then your doctor mentions it on your official Certificate of Health form, or if your doctor says that your medical condition prohibits you from working in Japan. We need to know your medical condition so that if anything happens to you we can make sure you get the proper treatment."

    That's reassuring, but they didn't say it wasn't a negative to your chances in the app process. I've decided I'll be honest on my med history, but should I take that advice with a grain of salt?

  13. #13
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are my chances of being accepted?

    I'd say that's probably accurate. Doesnt disqualify but he seems to go out of his way to not say whether it's a negative or not, which as someone working for the programme makes sense, since admitting it is a negative would encourage people to lie about it.

    And really it should be seen as a negative for this job. Even if you have your anxiety under control now, moving across the world away from all of someone's support networks is a great way to build anxiety. Not that I'm saying it's a huge deal, but if I was interviewing two equal candidates, but one had anxiety issues, I'd choose the one without.

  14. #14

    Default Re: What are my chances of being accepted?

    My former ball-n-chain always had a bit of a problem with anxiety and in Nippon it was the other Jets themselves that triggered it for her.

    The Jet community is full of very spoiled, entitled and opinionated 22 year olds who have the maturity and life experience of 16 year olds. The remainder tends to comprise of loners fairly deep into the autism spectrum.

    If you fall into the trap of relying solely on the Jet network for support you'll be dredging up the old demons in no time.
    Last edited by mrcharisma; October 22nd, 2016 at 21:53.

  15. #15

    Default Re: What are my chances of being accepted?

    Ok, I finally found time to finish the first draft of my SoP and was hoping to have some peer reviews. Is it cool to post it here or should I send it in PM per request? thanks!
    PS: I'm applying form the US.

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