How do I start?
There is no fixed application window for universities, with each university and course having their own application timeline and windows. The absolute earliest application may be for the MEXT Scholarship or Language Schools and this takes place in September the year before you enrol. For JC students, this would be during your 'A' Levels year, and for Polytechnic students, during your final semester.
Japanese courses tend to start students in the Spring intake (April) and English courses tend to start students in the Autumn intake (September), with some universities allowing students to start in either semester. Take note that applications begin slightly less than an entire year before your enrolment.
Spring Intake & MEXT Scholarship Application: Around Aug-Sept of Previous Year
Autumn Intake Application: Around Nov-Dec of the Previous Year
For Semester Exchange Programmes and Summer/Winter schools, see:
If you are in your final year of studies in JC, Poly, or undergraduate studies, and are looking at going to Japan to study. You will be applying directly to each university (there is no centralised testing system like in Singapore), so be sure to check the requirements for each of your choices. Some may require additional documents, interviews, entrance exams, or none of these. So make sure to take a look first.
Most universities have an online application system, so you can submit your application details and soft copies via the online system. However, they would still require you to send the documents in hardcopy over to Japan. If you've never sent a letter overseas before (trust us, it's not uncommon), just head down to Singpost and get an envelope. Place all the documents inside, and tell them you need to mail it to Japan. There's regular Airmail which takes around 2 weeks, and EMS (registered mail with tracking numbers) that usually takes less than a week. Factor this mailing time into your application timeline, most universities set a deadline by which they need to receive their documents by.
While each university has its own unique set of application documents, here are some common ones that are typically required:
(Some universities may have a purely online form, while some may require you to fill up a paper one)
(Some universities may give you a topic to write about for an application essay)
Letter of References
(Usually they ask for two from different teachers, one evaluating academic performance and another evaluating character)
Certificate of Graduation/Prospective Graduation from your school
Official Academic Transcripts (Need to be a certified document by the school or MOE)
Examination Results ('A' Levels Results, Polytechnic Results)
CCA Records (or other documents that highlight your out of classroom activities)
Note: Most universities may ask for English test scores like TOEFL, they usually provide exemptions for this for Singaporeans, but be sure to check it. Otherwise you may require a letter from the school stating that you've already been studying in English.
You should prepare this documents at least a month in advance of the application deadline, some of these would require a request to the school, or your teachers, and may take time to process. Don't end up being caught up between the deadline and waiting for your request to process. At the worst case, email into the university to inform them if you are caught in such a situation.
Most universities would likely have an application fee, although some of them may waive the application fee.
Fees range between 5,000yen to 10,000yen and can usually be paid by credit card. Bank transfers are not recommended due to their complicated nature.