If you had an interview this year for the JET Programme, then for about the past two months you have been in a frustrating limbo, waiting patiently to hear the final results of your application. Well those announcements are not far away now as they usually start coming out from late March.
South Africa released the 2014 results on 1st April – that day is still very clear in my head as I had my e-mail set to instant notification and kept on getting spam mail which was driving me crazy, until my inbox caught an email titled ‘JET Programme Interview Results’… and the rest is history 😉 – but every year the release dates differ. It all depends on how CLAIR in Tokyo decide when to notify each country’s embassy.
So the day comes and that highly anticipated e-mail/letter arrives. One of the questions that might pop into your head after receiving your result could be ‘so what now?’
I had the thought to compile some points of advice depending on what your e-mail/letter says: shortlisted, alternate, unsuccessful. These are just comments from my point of view and experience, so please just take the following post as nothing more than just helpful thoughts from someone who loves to write.
You’ve done it! You’ve made it onto the programme! Shortlisted means you are in. Though they do say that you might not get a position in Japan, but I think that is just to cover all their bases. But as it stands, shortlisted means in.
So what now?
Now you can finally get excited. 🙂 And once that excitement subsides, you might realise how much more work still needs to be done before departure at the end of July/beginning of August.
- First things first, reply to that e-mail/letter to confirm your acceptance as a shortlisted JET.
- Once that is out of the way get that police clearance certificate (FBI background check) processed. It could take a few weeks to do and your embassy won’t be able to process your stuff until they have received the papers.
- A certificate of health is also required by your embassy, which should be done within 3 months to leaving. This is something I would advise getting done sooner rather than later.
- One thing you could do in your free time is start collecting things that you could use for your classes in Japan, such as taking photos. I took so many photos of my family, pets, neighbourhood, food, and special occasions, and so far all of them have come into great use here – especially when doing my self-introduction. The students will be fascinated about where you come from and what life is like for you. I also started making a pile of things that I thought I might take with me to Japan, such as a South African flag, peacock feathers from the wild peacocks that stroll through our garden, any stickers I found (these have come in great use for me… and I teach senior high school!), postcards, keychains, and any other small South African themed items I could find that wouldn’t take up too much luggage space. Oh yes, don’t forget the Marmite!
And just to point out that you probably won’t know where you will be placed for at least another 2 months – did I mention that being on the JET Programme requires a lot of patience and waiting? 😉
So the e-mail you receive from the embassy says you are an alternate – which means you have been placed on the waiting list. Before your heart totally sinks just know this – there is still a chance of being shortlisted. An alternate means that you are still a potential candidate, it is just that the embassy has already filled its shortlist positions.
However, there are cases of shortlisted JET’s who decline the position due to various circumstances. When that happens, someone from the alternate list gets picked to take that place.
So what now?
It is a bit difficult as you are sort of stuck in limbo again, not knowing if and when you will be upgraded, if you ever do. I know for a fact that alternates can get upgraded as late as January the following year. But I think the bulk of the upgrades occur in the first month or two after results come out, and then again in September/October.
- In the meantime may I suggest you get your police clearance certificate done if you can, it wouldn’t hurt to have it on hand, especially if you suddenly get the call for an upgrade.
- And still take photos and collect things because you never know. The uncertainty is frustrating, but aim to remain positive – I know a few ALT’s who are here and were originally alternates before being upgraded.
So you get the notification that you haven’t made it onto the programme, and you are not an alternate either. In this situation I cannot offer much advice as I have never known anyone in such a position.
But, if you made it to the interview stage then your application from and statement of purpose essay must of been enough to get you through the first stage. This means that the interview was probably where not enough points were gained to be considered as a short-lister or alternate.
So what now?
Remain positive and look over your application form, statement of purpose essay, and the interview, from a different perspective – see it from the interviewers point of view. Try to recall your interview and think about areas where you might of scored the least amount of points.
- Go online and read about other people’s accounts of their interviews and see how they did.
- Also have a look at the online forums, such as those found on Facebook, as they will provide some insight and various perspectives from applicants from around the world.
- If you are considering reapplying for the following year, then work on creating an even stronger application than what you currently have.
It is definitely a tough position to be in, and I suppose that, in a way, reflects how incredibly competitive it is to get onto the programme as only so many places are made available every intake.
So once the results are out, you should hopefully have a better idea as to where the rest of the year will take you. Gambatte ne!