Advice Needed, Graduate School in Japanese Lang & Lit

Jerry Turner jdturner1 at
Sun Jun 1 23:07:54 EDT 2008

Hello Kinejapaners,

First, let me apologize if this message is a bit off topic. I know the
listserv is primarily for discussions of Japanese film, but perhaps some
other members might be thinking about making the plunge into graduate
studies and find the advice of the accomplished scholars on here helpful.

I am twenty-eight and just completed my B.A. in English last winter. Over
the last few months I have been seriously considering going to graduate
school to study Japanese language and literature. No particular school in
mind as of yet; I've just been researching various programs (
It seems that most schools require at least a 3.0 GPA. Some even list on
their website "no exceptions." I absolutely understand this.

My conundrum: I don't have a 3.0. My final overall GPA was a 2.4. I fooled
around a lot in college when I first started, dropping out without
withdrawing, so, my transcript basically has semesters of "F's."

Recently, I met with an adviser about graduate school and she noted that
without those "dead" semesters my GPA would be close to a 3.5. In fact, my
final year, including all summer sessions, I had a 4.0. This final year
included the bulk of my junior and senor level classes. I also have a fair
amount of extracurricular activities dealing with creative and academic

My question now is what route to take to get into a good Japanese language
and literature program. My grad adviser said I should really try and ace the
GREs, concentrate on good recommendations, and write a good letter stating
my academic goals. I feel confident I can do all of these things, yet I'm
still nervous.

In you guys and gals informed opinions, would it help to apply to a local
graduate program for a semester or year (probably in English education) and
transfer, just to show admissions that I can do graduate level work? I feel
confident I could get into the graduate school at my alma mater.

Should I apply to a university that has an Asian studies undergraduate
program and complete a second undergrad degree,  then apply to their
graduate program?

I know many colleges allow a student to enter graduate school as a
non-matriculated student, but I think my low GPA prevents that. I also live
in North Carolina, which is problematic, because they're aren't a lot of
graduate programs that include Asian studies around here.

I've also considered going to Japan to teach English and really learn the
language. Would that make any difference?

Well, I apologize for laying my lengthy burdens on the group, but maybe
someone can identify with my dilemma.


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