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You can find a better version of my blog at http://www.adammarkus.com/blog/.

Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

September 11, 2007

Should I do my admissions counseling in English?

One of the regular Japanese readers of this blog has asked me the following:

I am thinking about whether to do my MBA admissions counseling only in English or in English and Japanese, which do you think is better? Why?

First, for readers outside of Japan, let me explain that some applicants here use Japanese language admissions counseling services either in addition to or in lieu of English language services. Second, just as is true of English language counselors, Japanese language counselors provide various kinds of services. See my general post on admissions consultants here.

I think the answer to this question really depends on you. I think you should consider using Japanese language counseling if you answer yes to any of the following:
1. I have no clear idea about what I really want to study.
2. I need career counseling.
3. My English language skills are very limited.

If you answered "yes" to statements 1 or 2, you may really need the advice of a certified career counselor. Before spending much money on admissions counseling services, I think you should consider getting the advice of a certified career counselor. There are certified industrial counselors and career consultants who also do admissions counseling, so you may want to consider working with one of them.

If you answered "yes" to statement 3, I think you may need Japanese counseling. However, if your English skills are too weak for you to prepare your applications in English, how will you survive and succeed in graduate school? If you are planning on doing an MBA and will have to interview in English, you really would benefit from doing your admissions counseling in English because this will force you to communicate your ideas in English and thus help you prepare for interviews.

If you do some of your counseling in Japanese, I suggest keeping the following in mind:

1. Focus your Japanese counseling on career counseling, school selection, and assistance with logistical issues. These are likely to be the areas where Japanese counseling will be of some benefit.

2. I don't see the value in doing any sort of essay or interview counseling in Japanese because inherent linguistic and cultural differences mean that you will only increase your work when you have to write and speak in English. Your English localization efforts may prove very inefficient, especially if your content does not translate well. In my experience, this is often the case.

3. While there may be some limited value in reading the analysis of essay questions in Japanese, the chance for misinterpretation is simply increased. If you can understand what I write on my blog, you don't need a Japanese language analysis of an essay question that you will have to answer in English. If you can't understand this blog, you will not have read what I just wrote! :)

While my comments have been made in relation to MBA, the answers apply generally to LL.M. and other graduate degrees as well.

I hope this answers your question. I know the admissions process can be hard and the opportunity to do counseling in your own language might seem attractive, but be absolutely certain that is what you really need.

Write comments or contact me directly at adammarkus@gmail.com.
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス

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