**Once again, I’ll throw this disclaimer on here: With these posts, I hope to provide some helpful information for those looking to apply for the 2014 intake. My opinions are, of course, drawn from my own experiences so please don’t assume that I’m an expert on anything or associated in any way with the JET Programme. This is also for the American JET Programme application. I wish I could help with other countries’ but, unfortunately, I can’t. Thanks!**


Boom! If you’re one of the many people who signed up to get an alert when it was released, you are most likely well aware that the online application for the 2014 JET Program went live on Friday. Awesome! Let’s get to dissecting this puppy.

Do I write ‘N/A’ or leave it blank…?

First and foremost, and I can’t stress this enough, FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE T. The embassy in Washington DC receives around 9,000 applications (I imagine) every year. These people are super busy sorting and processing these applications that if they notice even one thing off about your application, into the bin it goes. If you didn’t read and follow the instructions (as it states to do on the website), then ain’t nobody got time for you application.

Don’t get disqualified for something that you could have prevented!


A list of what needs to be included can be found here at the official website. It’s a lot to read, but trust me. You’ll be glad you’re familiar with it all.

When you are finished with the online JET Application, you will submit it to their database and then print out your physical application, sign and date it, and then send it off to Washington DC. You’ll notice that in parentheses, it lists that 1 original and 2 copies are needed for some sections of the application. You will be using a LOT of paper with this application and it might not hurt to spring from some fancy paper and not just A4 Standard White that you can get anywhere. Just a thought.

For now, I’ll focus on the first two pages of the online application with the tips I can think of.

1) INTERVIEW LOCATION: Make sure that you choose a location that will be convenient for you to get to if you are granted an interview in February. You might have to drive/fly in to a city for your interview. Keep that in mind and make sure you’re okay with that. NOTE: For applicants applying from Japan, you are going to have to interview in the United States. It sucks, but that’s how it is.  There are interview locations in Guam, however. That’s not *too* far.

I mean…it’s not *close* but…

2b Optional ALT Consideration): A note here that I found interesting, if you are applying for a CIR position and you don’t get it, you can request to be considered for an ALT. I’ve known of a handful of people who had this happen to them. If you’re really serious about going to Japan on JET and are applying for a CIR, I think it’s a good idea to tick this box. I think that a lot of people who go in to the application process thinking they want to be CIRs are surprised by the level of Japanese needed. This isn’t to say that the CIR interview is impossible, I’ve just heard that it’s incredibly difficult and the low number of available CIR positions makes it all that much more difficult. It’s at least something to consider 🙂

2c Early Departure: This is new since I’ve applied so I can’t really speak on it too much. But it seems like if you’re rarin’ and ready to go to Japan, you are able to depart your home country early and arrive in Japan in April. This could be interesting as everything changes in Japanese workplaces during this time, but I can see this being a bit more challenging than arriving in July or August along with everyone else.

To me, this seems like a good option if you’re DYING to go to Japan ASAP…but I don’t think it’s really all that necessary. You’re going to be thrown into the Japanese workforce and school life all at once with little time to adjust to the country, you may not get the same pre-departure training that others get and you only have about four or five weeks to prepare everything before you go. Believe me, it can and probably will take longer.

Don’t end up like Hatsune Miku.

Furthermore, as the website states ‘Early Departure applicants should also be aware that, due to the small number of Early Departure positions, they are unlikely to receive their requested placement location in Japan’. This, to me, translates as People who are itching to go to Japan ASAP can do so, but they’re going to be sent somewhere where the ALT before them pulled out and broke contract for whatever reason. Because of this, you get placed wherever we need ya to fill a position.’ 

In my opinion, Early Departure just doesn’t seem worth the hassle. You have to include your FBI background check and your Certificate of Health along with the application you send to the embassy. That’s a lot of hassle to go through if you end up not getting selected. And if you do get selected, it sounds like a much more challenging experience than arriving in July and August with everyone else. But hey, the go-getters and people who have lived in Japan before might find this route ideal for them.

The second page deals with accompaniment – whether or not you’re taking your spouse, child, entire family to Japan. I wish I could help more with this, but I haven’t experienced this myself. I’ve known couples who have applied to JET together and both gotten in and I’ve known couples where only one partner was accepted. I really can’t give any advice here but I know that it is definitely possible to bring your spouse/family to Japan on the JET Program and there is definitely a support group on JET for such. I recommend

For those applicants who have children, I recommend a blog by my friend and fellow Kumamofo, http://sambathelionking.wordpress.com. He has the most adorable baby girl and is living and working in Japan on JET.

Well I think that concludes it for now. I’ve already rambled on more than I expected to! If you’re reading this and still have any questions, feel free to comment below and I’ll see if I can help out! 😀 Next up, I plan to talk about placement requests and the ‘Further Explanation’ part of the application.

Also,  http://thisjapaneselife.org has a great, informative write-up of the JET Program and tips on applying! Check it out!



  1. Pingback: Ian Exclamation | Tackling the JET Program Application (Part 3)

  2. It is truly a nice and helpful piece of info. I am happy that you shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

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