how to select school PR

Navigating Education Choices: From School Selection to Middle School Entrance Exams in Japan.


Selecting the right school in Japan for your child can be a daunting task, influenced by various factors such as academic focus, extracurricular activities, and future prospects. In this guide, we delve into the complexities of choosing between different types of schools, exploring the nuances of each option and offering insights into the decision-making process.

Understanding School Choices

In the process of selecting schools for our children, the decisions we make often shape their future educational path significantly. Whether it’s opting for prestigious academic institutions or prioritizing extracurricular activities, the choices we make reflect our aspirations for their growth and development.

Factors Influencing School Selection

When it comes to choosing between different types of schools, such as elite academic institutions versus affiliated schools, various factors come into play:

  • Academic Focus: Elite academic institutions often prioritize rigorous academic programs, preparing students for university-level studies. On the other hand, affiliated schools may provide a more balanced approach, focusing on both academics and extracurricular activities.
  • Extracurricular Opportunities: Consider the availability of extracurricular activities such as sports, arts, and clubs. Affiliated schools may offer a wider range of options, fostering holistic development beyond academics.
  • Financial Considerations: Elite academic institutions may come with higher tuition fees or additional expenses for specialized programs. Affiliated schools, while still providing quality education, might be more cost-effective for some families.

Navigating School Options

With numerous schools to choose from, it can be overwhelming to make a decision. Here are some strategies to help narrow down the options:

Considering School Culture

  • Exploring School Atmosphere: Visit schools and observe the atmosphere. Pay attention to the interactions among students, teachers, and staff to get a sense of the school’s culture.
  • Understanding School Values: Look into the school’s mission, values, and educational philosophy. Choose a school whose principles align with your family’s beliefs and priorities.

Evaluating Academic Programs

  • Assessing Academic Rigor: Consider the academic rigor of the curriculum and the school’s track record in preparing students for higher education. Look for schools with a strong academic reputation and high university placement rates.
  • Examining Extracurricular Offerings: Evaluate the variety and quality of extracurricular activities available at each school. Consider how these opportunities contribute to students’ personal growth and interests.

Addressing Practical Considerations

  • Location and Accessibility: Take into account the school’s location in relation to your home or workplace. Consider transportation options and logistical factors when making your decision.
  • Financial Planning: Create a budget and assess the financial implications of each school option. Factor in tuition fees, additional expenses, and potential financial aid or scholarship opportunities.

Exploring Middle School Entrance Exams in Japan

In Japan, the decision to enroll a child in a middle school entrance exam prep course, often known as juku, is a significant one for many families. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to when a child should start attending these courses. The journey begins as early as elementary school, but the optimal starting point varies depending on the child’s personality and the family’s values.

Tailoring Education to Individual Needs

  • Flexibility in Starting Age: While some children start attending juku as early as first grade, others may begin in third grade or even later. There is no universally correct age to start, as it depends on the child’s enjoyment and readiness for structured learning.
  • Parental Support and Involvement: Parents play a crucial role in their child’s educational journey. However, it’s essential for parents to maintain a balanced perspective, focusing on their child’s overall growth and happiness rather than solely fixating on test scores.

Financial Considerations

  • Cost of Middle School Entrance Exams: Middle school entrance exams, particularly for sixth graders, can be financially burdensome. With fees for juku, study materials, and exam registration, the total cost can amount to several million yen per year.

The Purpose and Significance of Middle School Entrance Exams

  • Balancing Academic Achievement with Personal Growth: While excelling in entrance exams is important, it’s equally vital for children to develop critical thinking skills, emotional intelligence, and a well-rounded worldview.
  • Parental Resilience: Parents must prepare themselves mentally and emotionally for the challenges of the middle school entrance exam process. This includes managing expectations, refraining from excessive worry over academic performance, and supporting their child’s holistic development.

Encouraging a Positive Learning Experience

  • Emphasizing Enjoyment in Learning: Children should find joy in their educational journey, even amidst the pressures of exam preparation. Parents can cultivate a positive attitude towards learning by celebrating their child’s progress and fostering a supportive environment.
  • Acknowledging Individual Achievements: Recognizing and praising a child’s efforts and achievements, both academic and non-academic, is crucial for their self-esteem and motivation.


Selecting the right school for your child and navigating the world of middle school entrance exams are significant decisions that require careful consideration of various factors. By understanding your child’s needs, evaluating different school options, and considering practical considerations, you can make an informed choice that sets them on a path to success and fulfillment. Remember, every child is unique, so prioritize finding educational environments that nurture their individual strengths and interests.