What is MEXT (Monbukagakusho) Scholarship?

For the latest Schoolynk article on MEXT, see the link attached

As the name suggests, MEXT scholarship is sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan (commonly abbreviated as MEXT). The MEXT Scholarship is an initiative by the Japanese government to support international students who study in higher education institutions in Japan. MEXT Scholarship is given to international students from all around the world through one of two routes: Embassy Recommendation or University Recommendation .

What Makes a MEXT Application Complete?

As the MEXT scholarship is offered to undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and research students, the application package also differs based on the level of higher education that you apply for.

Regarding applications for the graduate program, candidates need to explain their research topic that they plan to conduct during their graduate studies.

The graduate level application package is as follows, containing few differences from the undergraduate application package:

  1. Application Form 
  2. Direct Placement Reference Form 
  3. Field of Study and Research Program Plan (a prescribed form)
  4. Academic transcript(s) for all school years of school/university attended
  5. Certificate(s) of graduation of school/university attended (in case the applicant is yet to graduate from said school/ university, a certificate of prospective graduation in required)
  6. Recommendation letter from either principal or teacher of last school attended (free format with sample available on MEXT official website)
  7. Recommendation from the present employer (if applicant is currently employed)
  8. Medical certificate on the prescribed form issued by the medical institution
  9. Certificate of enrollment (only applicable for individuals who are currently enrolled in university) 
  10. Abstracts of theses

How Can I Increase My Chance of Receiving the MEXT Scholarship?

As with any other scholarship application, it is important to plan well in advance and strategize in order to maximize your chance. In order to create a lasting impression on the judge panel, you should pay attention to the cohesiveness and the depth of your overall application package. 

The most crucial part of your application is the form for Field of Study and Research Program Plan. When you apply for a graduate program, you have to clearly indicate the theme of your field of research, your reasons for choosing that topic, and the possible outcomes and goals of the research. It is advisable that you highlight why you chose Japan to conduct your research and your motivation behind applying for the MEXT scholarship.

Another important part of the application that is often overlooked by many candidates is the Letter of Recommendation. As you have to ask your teacher, academic advisor, or principal to write the letter for you instead of preparing it yourself like other documents, you should prepare to ask them a few months in advance before the deadline. A one to two months notice is recommended, just in case, the person is busy or unavailable to write a letter for you. Regarding the content of the letter, it is advisable that you offer your resume or curriculum vitae, your academic transcripts, and/ or your past achievements. With at least one of these documents, your recommender can refresh their memories about you and write a relevant and positive letter in your favor.

After passing the initial round of the document screening, you will get to proceed to the online interview with the admissions board. Make sure that all the information that you give in your Application Form and Research Program is accurate and consistent, as you will be asked about your study plan and research plan in detail in this round. Prior to the interview, when you write your personal statement, you should highlight the key arguments in your research plan, as well as your strongest past achievements. Based on this, you will be able to be prepared to articulate about your application in the interview. Similar to other kinds of interviews, it is important that you explain your ideas in a logical manner with reasons and examples to back them up. Be confident, smile at the camera, and ask the judges to repeat the questions if you did not catch them the first time.

-> for more tips about the MEXT interview, check out the link below:
Ace the MEXT Scholarship Interview Questions

Conclusion

The application for the MEXT scholarship can be a challenging and time-consuming process that requires a great deal of preparation beforehand, but the rewards can be very fulfilling to students who dedicate themselves to the goal. With a detailed understanding of the scholarship, its conditions, and its application procedures, you will have a higher chance to become a scholarship recipient!

See some other MEXT (Monbukagakusho) Scholarship articles below!

MEXT Scholarship 2020 | Master the Basics with This One Article
A Day in the Life of a Kyoto University MEXT Research Scholar!
Ace the MEXT Scholarship Interview Questions
Ace the MEXT Scholarship Exam: Past Papers and Analysis
Best 20 Scholarships for Studying Abroad in Japan in 2020

References

“FAQs about the MEXT Scholarship.” Tokyo Institute of Technology, www.titech.ac.jp/english/graduate_school/international/scholarships/faq.html.

“Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship.” Kyoto University, www.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en/education-campus/procedures/scholarships/mext.html.