[Application] Center of Japanese Language Studies, Waseda University

This is by no way an official guide if you plan to apply for Japanese language programs in Japan. I am just writing this from my perspective and sharing my experiences to any future students if they want to apply for Japanese Language programs in Japan as I found information in English was pretty limited. Please always check with your prospective schools for the most up to date information. The information is mainly on the application/admission for CJL, Waseda Univeristy

The idea of heading to Japan for studies had been bouncing around for about 1.5 years but I never really sat down to really think about it mainly due to procrastination. I was very comfortable in where I am today be it for home or work related. I knew I had to head over to Tokyo at some point of time and I was alright with the idea with either studying in the Japanese Language Program (also known as Bekka) offered by the universities or Japanese classes by private language schools. Just 3 weeks before the wedding, Sushi san told me that if I really want to apply for school’s Spring 2013 admission, I have to do it immediately as the cut off for application was first week of October. Then it was a mad flurry of activities to get all the documents and study plan ready (amidst wedding planning).

The main difference between studying in the Japanese program offered by the universities verses Japanese language school is the way Japanese is taught. From my understanding, you have a more rounded program if you join a university as you pick your modules, get to use the university facilities like a full time university students and you get to join in university activities to meet with both Japanese and international students. Joining a language school, the main focus is to let you pass your JLPT and all of your classmates would be foreigners.

I did surf around for information but I feel that information for privately funded students were a little limited as most information were for currently enrolled university students finding a school for their exchange program. I found most of my information from Chinese websites from Taiwan, China and Hong Kong. JASSO would be a good place to start off with as most of the information needed for schooling in Japan can be found there. (including scholarships)

My Plan A was to apply for the Japanese Language program from a university as I wanted to relive my university days again and if I am not accepted. Plan B would be to try for a private language school whenever I head over to Tokyo. Since I have to choose a Tokyo school so I did not look around at other universities/schools out of Tokyo but looking at my Google search I found 3 schools to be pretty popular – Doshisha (Kyoto), Waseda (Tokyo) and Keio (Tokyo).

For anyone interested Doshisha Bekka, you can head over to Knocking Around Kyoto who wrote about her experience with Doshisha.

I do not have too much information on Keio Bekka since I did not apply for it but these 2 Taiwanese girls’ blogged (in Chinese) about their experiences in Keio: 咻咻扣 and Cafekoi. I did manage to find some information for the Waseda Bekka through Asuka’s blog who wrote much about her application/experience with the Waseda Bekka.


Click on image to get the full resolution.

Here is a brief summary table comparing the application steps for both Waseda Univeristy and Keio University‘s Bekka program. In general, both schools required about the same documents but Keio University needed a medical certification and their study plan had to be written in Japanese. Do start to get your materials needed about 1 – 1.5 months ahead so you would have time to get everything ready. I did not apply for Keio University as I did not have enough time to prepare the material for it and just applied for Waseda since they accepted English documents (main reason why I only applied for Waseda’s Bekka). If school fees matter, Keio University is at least 20% cheaper compared to Waseda University.


1 month after (Around Nov 2012) I submitted all my forms, I received a courier from Japan. I have to admit that my heart raced when I opened the envelope and I was in all highs when I saw the word “Notice of Admission”. Truthfully, I wasn’t too confident about the whole application since it was done so last minute and with an average acceptance rate of 25% from the applicants I felt that my chance was low. Plus I got a feeling that I was going to be one of the oldest students in the course. With this letter, I started my route officially towards becoming a full time student again.


In the package, you would find a thick stack of documents and forms both in English/Japanese. Do not worry as the explanation were very detailed and you just need to follow the instructions thoroughly. You have about 1.5 weeks to complete all the documents needed and mail it back to the school.


You would be surprised in the technologically advanced country like Japan did most of their applications by hand. No online applications of any sorts, everything have to be in paper and HANDWRITTEN. This is just 1 page of the many many pages I had to fill up. In the return package, they were mainly applications forms for school and for the application of the Certificate of Eligibility (COE). For a privately funded student, you have to prove that you have enough funds to cover you during the year you would be in Japan.


If you need accommodation arrangement, in the admission package were also the application forms for school hostel or school recommended apartments. You just need to fill up the form to request for a room or get a housing agent to help you with it.


On average, you need to pay about 70,000 JPY per month for a small hostel room and about 100,000 JPY for 1 time entrance and deposit fees.


2 months (around Feb 2013) after you submitted the admission forms, the school would mail the approved Certificate of Eligibility to you. This is not a visa! You must bring this certificate of Eligibility to your local Japan embassy to apply for the student visa.


Inside the mail, you would also find the information needed when you report to school for the first day. For Spring 2013, the general orientation day is on March 29 2013 and collection of student ID card is on April 1 2013. Students start registering for classes during that period and classes start officially on April 6 2013. Students have to register online for a online placement test in early March so to allow the school to know which level of Japanese class you can get admitted.


When you head to the Singapore Japan Embassy to apply for your student visa, do bring along a photo with you. Fill up a 2 page visa application form when you arrive at the embassy. At the counter, you need to present the visa application form, 1 photo, your COE and the copy of the “Letter of admission” from the school. You can refer to this link for the documents needed. Visa fee is S$47 payable when you collect your visa. It took about 3 days to process my visa. Do take note that the port of entry written on the application does not matter, you could still enter via other ports of entry. For example, I wrote that I was entering via Narita Airport but in actual fact, I could still enter via Haneda Airport if I want to. However it was too late for me to make any changes to my flight ticket so I have to go via Narita Airport.


20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mommy Chuck
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 04:10:05

    New phase ! Feels exciting! 🙂

  2. Xuan-er
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 10:34:05

    @Mommy Chuck: thanks!

  3. Emily
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 16:26:48

    Hi! my name is Emily and I just got the admission for september CLJ.^^ I was searching for information about the enrollment procedure. I was wondering what is “photo copy of the application for remittance”? I couldnt find any forms in the envelope I got >< is that the proof from the bank for the international transfer? please kindly help! thank you very much!

  4. Xuan-er
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 15:10:38

    @Emily: if you got admitted, I am sure you have received a stack of paper work from Waseda. Inside would be the information for you to remit your school fees. Basically, I think you have to make a photocopy of the remittance and sent it back together with the rest of the documents that you have to prepare and send to the school to proceed with your student visa.

  5. Ploy
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 20:48:13

    Hi, my name is ploy from Thailand. I just got accepted in CLJ for September 2013 intake. I feel so nervous to live in japan for a year. hope that we could be friends:)))

  6. Xuan-er
    Jun 20, 2013 @ 10:14:43

    @ploy: はじめました。I have received some emails too from the Sep intake, looks like there are many new students from all the the world 🙂 There are quite a few Thai students here too…We would definitely cross paths when u arrive in waseda =)

  7. Cadance
    Jul 20, 2013 @ 18:54:12

    Hi, i want to apply for spring 2014. however may i ask how do you certify your cert in singapore ?? do you go to embassy of japan in singapore ? how much do they charge ? do you send your originals to waseda?

  8. Xuan-er
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 23:18:43

    @Cadance: for your own personal transcripts, you have just to head back to your university to get the true certified copies. you don’t need to send your originals for the application. You only need to go to the embassy once when you get your certificate of eligibility to get your entry visa.

  9. cadance
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 11:02:30

    Hi, thank you for your reply… 🙂

  10. Cyndee Cahilig
    Jul 06, 2014 @ 21:11:55

    OH! I’m so happy to have stumble upon your blog about Waseda Center of Japanese Language. Thank you again. 🙂

  11. Xuan-er
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 21:40:20

    @cyndee: you are welcome, hope it is useful but do always check their website for the latest information.

  12. eesha
    Jan 18, 2015 @ 21:18:15

    hi! i am looking at applying. just wondering how did you know the average acceptance rate was 25%?

  13. Xuan-er
    Jan 19, 2015 @ 10:53:19

    @eesha: Hi, It was stated in their page in the past but I believe that this might no longer be valid as they have increased their cohort annually. It used to only accept 100 students per semester.

  14. eesha
    Jan 21, 2015 @ 23:02:33

    thanks for the info! did you stay at the shared house/guest house? i am wondering if i should stay at my friend’s house or have the “dorm experience” but i am going alone…

  15. Xuan-er
    Jan 22, 2015 @ 09:30:33

    @eesha: I stayed in my own apartment. It really depends on what you want. Living in a dorm could be fun if you want to meet more people but if you prefer more personal space than you can live alone or in a share house.

  16. eesha
    Jan 23, 2015 @ 21:58:47

    ok thank you so much for your advice!

  17. RJ
    Apr 01, 2015 @ 10:04:24

    Hi Xuan-er, thanks so much for writing this..it’s so helpful since I am deciding whether to attend. Question – do you know anything about the summer program? I’m wondering how good/intensive the courses are and if it’s worth that much money. Thanks!!

  18. Xuan-er
    Apr 05, 2015 @ 17:56:22

    @RJ: The summer program like the 4-6 weeks course? I would think it would be more beneficial for you if you have some level of Japanese since they are going intensive so makes no sense if you don’t know any Japanese.

  19. kamipark
    Feb 16, 2018 @ 08:56:33

    Hello, I found your blog as I was looking for some reviews on waseda japanese language program. I found your blog to be very informative and wanted to thank you for sharing your experience at Waseda.
    I’m going to start a Japanese class at Waseda too, and as you have already studied there, I wanted to ask you few questions! I would appreciate if you can answer these questions.

    1. When you applied for the visa, did you also apply for work permit? If so, how long did it take you to get it ?
    2. How was the school schedule like? I understand that you get to choose the classes that you want to register, but did you find it difficult to balance the part time job (If you had before) and the study? Did you have to go to school everyday?

  20. Xuan-er
    May 01, 2018 @ 19:18:54

    I believed you should have started studying in waseda now.
    As a student you can work part time in japan not amounting to more than 28 hours a week.
    Classes is according to how you arrange it. I didn’t work when I was in school as I have a family to take care in Tokyo.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: