Possible directions for high school graduates can be broadly divided into further study and job placement. 《→shushoku 就職 job placement》 Further study includes going on to university, junior college, or vocational school. Recently, the number of students pursuing further study at university and junior college has been increasing, with 45.1% of high school students entering immediately upon graduation. There are, however, marked differences from one part of the country to another.
University entrance examinations usually take place at each university or university department (gakubu) between January and March. These are mainly written examinations, although some universities are beginning to experiment with other methods by offering a choice for some of the subjects on their entrance examinations, allowing applicants to sit more than once for entrance examinations to the same faculty, or placing more emphasis on interviews.
In Japanese society, the school, and particularly, the university from which an individual graduates has a significant impact on the person's future profession and career. Consequently, people tend to see university entrance examinations as determining the individual's future, resulting in fierce competition for entrance to well-known universities. Despite strict entrance requirements, graduation from even the most famous universities is considered to be relatively easy. Transfer from one university to another can be difficult, so the initial choice of university is very important.