Selection Process


ALC is a selective school, with a focus on adult learners. With the exception of private lessons, Group Study Tours, and the Summer Program for High School Students, the selection process is in place for all programs and aims to achieve the following:

1) Restrict the number of students who share the same native language to within a target ceiling (25-35%).
2) Give priority to applicants with solid academic backgrounds and career experience.
3) Provide opportunities for lifelong learning (a significant % of our students are re-enrollments).
4) Build language/age/experience diversity as far as possible into each class.
5) Take proficiency level into consideration when presetting quotas.

As our capacity is limited, we are not able to accept all applications. For this reason we strongly advise early applications, especially if you are relatively young, pre-college, and a native speaker of either Mandarin Chinese or English. If you are applying for a student visa and aren’t sure what to write for your essay, this file outlines some of the considerations involved in the admissions process.

Selection is basically points based, with the points distribution being constantly re-weighted. Our principle considerations are:

Language – This varies from year to year and by course, but through quotas we try to limit applicants who share the same native language to no more than 25-35% of each program. As a general rule Mandarin Chinese and English language speakers who apply late may find that the database parameters built into the online application process are already set. This may mean that if there are two candidates applying for one remaining program place, with identical education backgrounds and not much to choose between them, and one of them is a native English speaker and the other say, a native speaker of Icelandic or Hebrew or Polish, then the chances are that the native English speaker would not be able to join the program until a later start date. If you are a native speaker of Mandarin Chinese or English, apply early, especially for peak seasons such as May to August or when a student visa is required. There are no country based quotas. An application from a native speaker of German from Switzerland will be processed in the same way as one from Austria. (Similarly the nationality of a native English speaker is not taken into any consideration at all. If there are 5 places remaining for native English speakers, and 10 applicants – say 5 from the USA, 1 from each of Canada, Australia, Ireland, South Africa and Singapore – there is no reason why all 5 places could not go to the applicants from the USA. With nothing to separate the 10 applicants by native language, selection would instead be made according to age, gender, educational background, careers/work experience and (in the case of student visas – aptitude as judged from the essay). The objective is simply to ensure that as far as possible the only common language in the classroom becomes Japanese, helping you learn the language in an immersion environment.

Age – The minimum age requirement is only that. Very few students are under the age of 20. There is no upper age limit. As a general rule though the application process does have a slight statistical bias towards mature age students. This means that if there were two candidates applying for one remaining program place, with similar educational backgrounds, then if there is not much to choose between them the probability is that the older student may be offered a place first due to longer career/work experience.

Gender – There are no quotas in place, however the male/female enrollments are generally balanced. If there are two candidates applying for one remaining place, and there is not much to choose between them, then the chances are that the under-represented gender will be given priority, however this is done automatically through the databases.

Educational Background – Most students have completed undergraduate studies and many already have higher degrees. While you will not be disadvantaged if you haven’t completed college level studies (it is not a prerequisite), the weighting of the points used in the application process does create a slight statistical bias towards students with higher degrees due to points allocated towards aptitude.

Careers/Work Experience – Careers in a Japan related field or work experience is not an entry requirement, but ALC does take careers & work experience into account, especially if your career to date has involved interaction with Japan and the Japanese language. For those seeking student visa places, we are particularly interested in what your plans are for after you complete your studies.

Aptitude – In addition to academic abilities, we are interested in motivation, experience of foreign language study, and other indicators of an aptitude for language learning. This also means that in addition to foreign language studies, we are going to also take into consideration command of your own native language – for example if an application form from a native English speaker contains poor English grammar and so forth.

Health Advisories – In the event that the World Health Organisation (WHO) issues an emergency travel advisory for the locality in which you reside, we may choose to refuse or defer your application. Although this is rarely required, we maintain a WHO Advisory Updates file for this purpose.