To Students Preparing to Take the Next Step
Has Entering University Become Easier? - Becoming a University Student
Now, several weeks have passed since 2012 began. This is an important time for students preparing to take the next step in April, and here at Chuo University we are also very busy preparing for the influx of new students in April.
According to statistics from 2011, Japan has 780 universities with approximately 2.9 million students, including over 610,000 first-year students. On the other hand, the number of births in 1993 and 1994 when high school students now in their final year were born was around 1.2 million both years.
These sorts of numbers are often used to show that it has become easier to enter university in recent years. But is this really true? Considering third-year high school students as a group and looking at the percentage entering university and their competition, it may seem easier. But the decision of what kind of higher education to engage in is an important choice in an individual's life, no matter what trends exist. If you consider not only the 780 universities in Japan, but also colleges, vocational schools and overseas universities, deciding among these many choices what your next step will be and passing entrance exams is certainly not easy.
It is also said that universities are part of an education service industry. This may indeed be partly true. However, does becoming a university student mean just becoming a consumer of education services? Should you look for a university where credit is easy to acquire and tuition doesn't cost too much? Should you choose a university where you can essentially buy the certification you want? I don't believe you should.
That is the reason why at this time when students are facing entrance exams I would like them to consider once again what, where, and how they want to study. To help with thinking about this, I offer the following three points describing how Chuo University is preparing for students, to help demonstrate what it means to become a Chuo University student.
Even if the names of the departments are the same, the studies undertaken at each university are different. This can be traced to the differences in the kind of person that a university believes can contribute to society. At Chuo University, based on the founding principle of "Fostering the ability to Apply Knowledge to Practice," we have created a university message of "Knowledge into Action."
Of course, since this demonstrates only a basic philosophy; the ideas of the school and those of each student will not always match when it comes to small details, but should the overall direction itself be different, neither the school nor the student would benefit. That is why Chuo University has created and made public three policies: Diploma Policy, Curriculum Policy, and Admissions Policy. These texts describe in simple terms, based on the characteristics of each of the 6 faculties, 7 graduate schools and 3 professional graduate schools, what kind of person each believes helps contribute to society, what educational programs they will carry out to develop this kind of person, and what abilities they require in the people they accept as students. These policies can be viewed in the introduction of each faculty on the university website.
Through these policies, I hope you learn the meaning of "Fostering the ability to Apply Knowledge to Practice" and "Knowledge into Action."
Systems to Support Students from Throughout Japan
Chuo University has two campuses with facilities available for four years of study, the Tama campus (Faculties of Law/Economics/Commerce/Letters/Policy Studies) where you can study in tranquility while still being near to the center of Tokyo, and the Korakuen campus (Faculty of Science and Engineering) which has ample transportation available even when you find yourself working in the labs late at night. With students attending our school from all 47 prefectures in Japan, there are many students who are not commuting from home. For this reason, Chuo University has a variety of support systems in place to ensure that students from all over the country can experience a fulfilling four years of study.
First, last year Chuo University opened an off-campus dormitory with a new concept. This new dormitory, the University International House, has Japanese students and exchange students from around the world living together, each with their own individual rooms. This dormitory is not simply a place for you to sleep. It is a place where you can experience foreign cultures in your daily life, and become a more global person. There are also plans to open another dormitory expanding on this concept in the 2012 academic year.
Second, Chuo University has a wide variety of bursaries available, including scholarships that can be applied for at the time of taking entrance exams. In particular, the combination of scholarships related to the particular education available in each faculty and other financial aid is one of the unique characteristics of Chuo University's bursary system.
Third, entrance exams are carried out in 11 cities throughout Japan, including Tokyo. This year exams were held in Niigata as well, in addition to Sapporo, Sendai, Saitama, Chiba, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima and Fukuoka.
Finally, in the 2012 academic year students affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake will be exempt from the discretionary subject on the entrance exam and be eligible for financial aid (only for those affected by natural disasters), with academic loans available as well. It is at times like these that Chuo University and Japan need the power of youth. Please use these systems instead of giving up on studying at Chuo University.
Community and Networks
For many people, the university they attend before entering society at large is a community where they create networks that last a lifetime. 2012 will mark the 127th year since our school was founded, and one of the most valuable assets we have is the network that has been built during these years, comprising students, parents, classmates, faculty, friends and society as a whole. When you pass the entrance exams and enter Chuo University, it also means that you are becoming part of this network.
This network has many benefits, with alumni lawyers teaching small classes of just a few students, internships organized by friendly businesspeople, NPOs helping organize student volunteers in areas affected by disaster, support for female students by women operating at the forefront of society, scholarships and donations from generous alumni, opportunities for exchanges with partner schools, student support through alumni organizations and parent communication networks, and ongoing education providing graduates with new techniques and knowledge. As students you will be able to benefit from all these things, and at the same time we hope that you will participate in this network throughout your life.
The tradition of Chuo University is that people learn from people. As the Chancellor and President of Chuo University, I look forward to welcoming many promising students into this network.
Chuo University has taken the lessons from the Great East Japan Earthquake and other disasters to heart, and we are putting all our effort toward welcoming test-takers and new students in an environment that is safer than ever. In this important period before you take that next step in April, remember to take care of yourself and stay healthy.
Professor Tadahiko Fukuhara
Chancellor and President