High School Admission FAQ - UWC ISAK Japan

High School FAQs

How Can We Help You?

Q. Am I eligible to apply for the 2023 school year?

Eligibility requirements for our high school program can be found on our Apply for High School page. Eligibility for Grade 11 (IBDP Year 1) enrollment will depend on the UWC National Committee where you live. 

If you are interested in our short programs (Winter School, Summer School or ISAKx), please visit the dedicated webpage.

Q. What types of students get accepted to UWC ISAK Japan?

All students at UWC ISAK Japan are unique, and there is no “typical” UWC ISAK student. However, UWC ISAK students do share some common characteristics. In general, we are looking for:

  • Students who understand our mission and are interested in creating positive change in the world
  • Students who are curious, creative and independent
  • Students who are willing to challenge themselves and take appropriate risks
  • Students who possess strong communication skills and are eager to interact with other students from around the world
  • Students who demonstrate strong academic motivation
  • Students who wish to benefit from diversity

Q. How many students are accepted per year?

We accept approximately 40 students for Grade 10 direct enrollment and another 40 students for Grade 11 (IBDP Year 1) national committee enrollment. Students interested in enrolling at UWC ISAK Japan for Grade 10 will apply directly to UWC ISAK Japan. Grade 11 students are selected by the UWC National Committee in their home country, or apply through the UWC Global Selection Programme.

Approximately 30% of our students in Grade 10 are Japanese citizens or residents of Japan. The remaining 70% of students join UWC ISAK Japan from around the world.

Q. I am not a native English speaker. Can I still apply to UWC ISAK Japan?

All classes at UWC ISAK Japan, with the exception of Japanese and foreign language studies, are conducted in English. You do not need to be a native English speaker in order to apply, but you should have completed at least three years of English studies in school and be able to speak, read and write at an intermediate level of English.

While we do not require students to submit English language test results as part of the application process, we recommend that students have an intermediate level of English or higher in order to feel comfortable taking academic classes in English.

Recommended English Levels:
EIKEN: Level 2 or higher
TOEFL: 65 or higher
TOEIC: 600 or higher
IELTS: 6 or higher

In general, we look for students who demonstrate a strong willingness to study in an English-only environment. If you have never attended an English-based school, Grade 10 is a foundation year that will give you time to build your English skills before starting the IB Diploma Programme.

Q. Can I visit UWC ISAK Japan to see what the school is like?

A. Yes, prospective families are welcome to arrange a campus visit. Reservations are required. Please see our Campus Visits page for details.

Q. How do I apply?
A. Please see our Apply for High School page to learn more about application requirements.
If you have not already done so, please take the important first step in the process by joining our mailing list. Once you sign up, you will receive information about how and when to apply, including a link to our online application when it becomes available.

Q. Is the application process in English?
A. UWC ISAK Japan is an international school, and the written application and interview are in English. However, Japanese parents can complete the parent section of the application in Japanese.

Q. Does UWC ISAK Japan need official academic records from my current school? Do I need a letter of recommendation from my current school?
A. A letter of recommendation from a teacher at your school is ideal but not required. If it is not possible to obtain a letter of recommendation from your school, we will accept a personal letter of reference from someone outside of the school (music teacher, coach, etc.) as an alternative. Eventually, the Office of Admission will require school documentation to confirm grades, but unofficial copies of academic records can be provided during the application process.

Q. Can I transfer to UWC ISAK Japan mid-year?
A. UWC ISAK Japan is unable to accept mid-year transfer students.

Q. Can I attend UWC ISAK Japan as a day student?
A. Residential life is one of the core elements of the UWC ISAK Japan program, as we believe that students’ learning outside the classroom is just as important as formal academics. All UWC ISAK Japan students are required to live in the on-campus residences and participate in residential activities.

Q. If I join UWC ISAK Japan from Grade 10, will I be considered a UWC student?
A. Yes, all students enrolled at UWC ISAK Japan are considered UWC students, whether they applied to UWC ISAK Japan directly for Grade 10 enrollment or were selected by a UWC National Committee or the Global Selection Programme for Grade 11 enrollment.

Q. If I join UWC ISAK Japan from Grade 10, can I stay at the school for the IB Diploma Programme (Grades 11 – 12), or do I need to reapply?
A. Students who enroll at UWC ISAK Japan for Grade 10 (Pre-IB) will automatically continue on at UWC ISAK Japan for the IB Diploma Programme, and there is no need to reapply.

The following information is for students applying to UWC ISAK Japan for Grade 10 enrollment. If you are applying to your UWC national committee for Grade 11 enrollment, please contact your national committee for more information about scholarships and financial assistance.

What is the tuition at UWC ISAK Japan?

Please see our School Fees & Financial Assistance page for more details.

Does UWC ISAK Japan offer financial assistance or scholarships?

For students who enroll at UWC ISAK Japan from Grade 10, we offer need-based financial assistance (FA) to students who are not able to afford the cost of full school fees. Financial assistance ranges from partial scholarships up to full scholarships. The financial assistance does not need to be repaid.

All of our financial assistance is need-based, which means it is awarded based on a family’s ability to pay for school fees. We do not offer academic or merit-based scholarships.

Students applying for Grade 11 entry through their national committee should contact their national committee regarding the availability of scholarships, as the number of scholarships available can change from year to year. Students who are selected by the UWC Global Selection Programme (GSP) are not eligible for scholarships.

How is financial assistance calculated/determined?

Students apply for financial assistance when they submit their application for admission. Financial assistance is awarded based on each family’s unique circumstances and financial situation. Our Financial Assistance Committee reviews each applicant family’s income, assets, expenditures and debt. Additionally, the number of children in the family and the amount the family is paying for those children to attend school or university are factors that we consider when awarding financial assistance.

All financial information is treated as confidential and is reviewed only by those directly responsible for determining need. Admission decisions are made independently of financial need. Students who apply for financial assistance will receive notification of their financial assistance award along with their offer of acceptance.

Does the financial assistance cover flights and other extra expenses?

As a rule, our financial assistance does not cover flights to/from Japan, pocket money and other incidental expenses.

How do I apply for financial assistance?

You will need to complete and submit the Financial Assistance Request Form portion of the UWC ISAK Japan online application, along with supporting documents such as a tax return or official income statement. The Financial Assistance Request Form will appear once the Parent/Guardian Form portion of the online application has been submitted. Please see the Parent/Guardian Form on the online application for complete details.

What is the deadline to apply for financial assistance?

The deadline for submitting the Financial Assistance Application is the same as the deadline for your online application and other required documents.

Is financial assistance guaranteed for all 3 years?

Students can expect to receive the same level of assistance during their time at UWC ISAK Japan, provided that they fulfill their responsibilities as a student and as a member of the school community.

Academic performance, maintenance of strong character and cooperation within the school community will be taken into consideration for the continuation of financial assistance. If a student does not meet his or her responsibilities, UWC ISAK Japan has the right to withdraw financial assistance in subsequent years. Additionally, financial assistance may be reduced or denied if a student/family demonstrates a lifestyle that greatly exceeds the financial resources indicated on the Financial Assistance Request Form.

Do I need to re-apply for financial assistance each year?

Yes, all financial assistance recipients will re-submit their financial data for review for each subsequent school year. In general, students will continue to receive the same level of financial assistance during their three years of school. Specific award amounts will be determined based on changes in a family’s income and expenses from year to year.

Can I apply for Assistance from Grade 11 or 12 if I did not apply for financial assistance in Grade 10?

No. If you expect that you will need financial assistance in order to cover the cost of your education, you must apply for financial assistance when you apply to Grade 10. Recently, we have seen an increasing number of students requesting financial assistance from Grade 11. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate such requests unless there has been an extreme change in a family’s circumstances.

Can Japanese students receive financial assistance?

Yes! All applicants are eligible to apply for financial assistance, regardless of nationality. For the 2021 school year, nearly half of our Japanese students were receiving some level of financial assistance, ranging from small awards to near-full scholarships.

When do I find out whether I will be receiving financial assistance?

Financial aid offers are announced with acceptance notifications.

Do I need to repay my financial assistance?
No. The financial assistance awarded by UWC ISAK Japan is not a loan and does not need to be repaid. However, we do expect families to contribute as much as possible toward their child’s education in order for us to share our financial resources among all students with need. We request that families find their own way to contribute to our community. We also hope that students and parents remember UWC ISAK Japan’s generosity in future years, when their financial situation allows them to help meet the needs of future students.

Q. What kind of academic programs does UWC ISAK Japan offer?

UWC ISAK Japan is a three-year high school program, following the standard high school system in Japan. UWC ISAK Japan is an authorized IB World School, and all students in Grades 11 – 12 study the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) curriculum. Grade 10 is a foundation year, giving students the opportunity to strengthen their academic foundation before starting the IBDP. Additionally, UWC ISAK Japan has been granted Article I status by the Japanese Ministry of Education, which means that UWC ISAK Japan graduates also receive a Japanese high school diploma.

More information about UWC ISAK Japan’s curriculum and the IB Diploma Programme can be found in the Education section of our website.

Q. Can I study Japanese at UWC ISAK Japan? What are the options for native Japanese speakers?

All Grade 10 students study Japanese language at UWC ISAK Japan, ranging from introductory courses for beginners to standard high school Japanese (国語) for native speakers. Japanese language classes are not required for Grades 11 and 12 (IBDP), but many UWC ISAK Japan students continue with their Japanese language classes for the IBDP. International students also have the opportunity to practice using their Japanese in daily life, especially during community service activities and local outings.

Q. Can you tell me more about the residential facilities at UWC ISAK Japan?
Please see our Residential Life page for more information.

Q. How are roommates selected? Are single rooms available?
Residential life is one of students’ most important learning experiences at UWC ISAK Japan. For Grade 10, students are mixed by nationality and English language ability. Returning students can request specific roommates, and we try to honor those requests as long as we have rooms available. We feel that interaction with classmates is a vital part of the UWC ISAK Japan experience, and in general, students are not assigned to single rooms.

Q. Are vegetarian or special meals available at UWC ISAK Japan? Are meals provided on the weekends?
Students eat meals in the Asama Commons dining hall. The cost of meals is included in UWC ISAK Japan’s room/board fee, and meals are provided three times a day, seven days per week. UWC ISAK Japan’s cafeteria is run by Cezar’s Kitchen, a catering company that takes pride in providing tasty, nutritious meals using local ingredients as much as possible. Our chefs are happy to provide alternative menu selections for vegetarians or students who need special meals due to medical or religious reasons.

Q. Can students go off campus? Can students travel or go home on weekends/holidays?
Students can go off campus to local destinations whenever they have free time in their schedule, provided that they follow check-out procedures. Travel to locations outside the Karuizawa area requires parental and school permission. Students are welcome to go home during longer holiday breaks.

Q. Can students remain on campus during the summer and winter breaks?
UWC ISAK Japan’s residences are closed during winter break. Students who are not able to return home during winter break are assisted in making alternate arrangements for the winter break period. The residences remain open during fall and spring break. Students are expected to return home during the long summer break between June and August.

Q. When does the UWC ISAK Japan school year begin?
Students arrive on campus in mid-August, and classes begin in late August, after Orientation Week. The school year concludes in early June. Please see our school calendar for more information.

Q. How should incoming students spend their “gap months” prior to arrival?
Students should look at this period as an opportunity to strengthen their English language skills, study or volunteer overseas, or spend time with their families.

Q. Can my parents visit me during the school year?
Parents are welcome to visit throughout the school year. We ask that parents contact the school prior to their visit so that proper arrangements can be made.

Q. What should international students do during the long school breaks if they cannot go home?

Residences are closed during winter break, but for international students who are unable to return home for winter break, UWC ISAK Japan will help students make alternate arrangements. Residences are open during fall and spring break. Students are expected to return home during the long summer break.

Join Our Mailing List

Receive the latest school news, events, and important program updates

Privacy Policy
Copyright © UWC ISAK Japan

5827-136 Nagakura
Karuizawa, Kitasaku-gun,
Nagano 389-0111


Can't find what you are looking for
or have a specific inquiry?

Scroll to Top