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October 22, 2004

Waseda to Offer Autumn Admissions

Waseda University, one of the most prestigious in Japan, announced this week that its commercial science department will begin admitting students in September from next year, a decision expected to influence policy at other major universities. The move was tentatively announced in June. The department has had a two-semester academic year since 1995, and students who excel can graduate in three and a half years.

An alternative to the traditional system of holding entrance exams in February and admissions in April was first offered by Toyo University in 1994. Currently 19 university faculties have both spring and autumn admissions, mainly to accommodate foreign students, returnees from abroad and those already graduated from high school. Examples include the foreign language department at Obirin University and the international communication faculty at Fukuoka International University. Poole Gakuin University in Osaka has admitted about 5 foreign students and returnees every September since first offering the option in 1998. But the system has some disadvantages. One is the small number of students who enter at the same time. Another is that, in most cases, students graduate later than those who enter in the spring and after the traditional hiring season has finished. Waseda's move may help to "deregulate" this area also. (from a story on Asahi.com)

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