Top universities examine more than just grades

The Yomiuri Shimbun

April 17, 2013

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe University of Tokyo will use the admissions system of prestigious universities in the United States as a reference when selecting students based on recommendations.

Such U.S. universities judge both the academic records and school activities of candidates in a comprehensive manner. Scores of the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), a U.S. academic aptitude test, are only one of criteria used to screen candidates.

For instance, about 35,000 candidates from around the world applied to Harvard University for enrollment in the academic year starting this autumn.

A Harvard graduate who interviewed candidates from Japan said, “[When selecting from among] good students from around the world, leadership experience in extracurricular activities and awards at international competitions are important in admissions. Candidates who are serious but lack enthusiasm are rejected.”

An official of Columbia University said, “The school selected students who seem eminently suitable after reviewing all application documents and assessing their reasons for applying and their motivations.”

Akihiro Ozawa, a teacher at Route H, a preparatory school for students aiming to enroll at top universities abroad, said, “The number of high school students who wish to enter top universities overseas has increased, but those who have only studied academic subjects will not be accepted.”

“Prestigious universities in the United States are trying to revitalize themselves in various ways,” he added. “They’re seeking students with extraordinary abilities and enth

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