Japan's universities put more life into entrance ceremonies

Japan's universities put more life into entrance ceremonies
Parents hear an explanation of Hosei University's support for students looking for jobs.

JAPAN - University entrance ceremonies have been taking on new dimensions. Lively entrance ceremonies enhance the welcoming atmosphere, as well as provide parents with essential information. Universities tend to try and motivate students and offer support to parents.

Motivating students

Kinki University in Higashi-Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, received more applicants for general entrance exams than any other private university this year, a first for the university. Graduate and musician Tsunku, 45, who planned the entrance ceremony on April 5.

Kindai Girls, a group of performers who attend the university, danced and sang as laser beams cut through the auditorium. The concertlike atmosphere was thoroughly enjoyed by about 7,000 new students holding glow sticks.

The ceremony climaxed with the announcement of entrance exam passage rates, by department ad exam format.

"Savour the joy you earned after such tough exams," the master of ceremony said. The rankings appeared on a screen to cheers from the audience.

Such eventful entrance ceremonies have been organised mainly by younger university employees and have been held since the 2004 academic year. One of the purposes of this kind of ceremony is to try to prevent students from repeating the same year or dropping out.

"The entrance ceremony is really a message from the university that we hope students take a positive spin on their school life," said Soichi Yokoyama, an 28-year-old university official. "We want them to like the university, and we hope they will abondon score-centric appraisal of schools."

Sato Shiraki, 18, a freshman in the economics department, said with a smile: "The ceremony gave me a free feeling. I think I'm going to love this university."

Job support emphasised

An increasing number of universities hold explanatory meetings for parents on the same day entrance ceremonies are held.

Hosei University's career centre has provided guidance to the parents of new students after entrance ceremonies since the 2012 academic year. About 300 parents participated in this year's briefing on April 3. The meeting explained the university's support system for student job-seekers, and gave parents brochures on how to take advantage of part-time jobs in the search for regular jobs.

"We didn't used to have this kind of meetings," said a father from Saitama Prefecture. "I'm already worried about my child's job prospects. The university's support is reassuring."

Senshu University has held explanatory meetings for parents after the entrance ceremony since the 2005 academic year. The university aims to gain parents' understanding not only about the search for jobs, but also school life. At a briefing on April 5, Hiroyuki Shirafuji, dean of the School of Law, said, "The door of the dean's office is always open. Please tell [your children] to come to me if they have any problems."

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