How To Beat The Competition and How To Win MEXT Scholarship

This article will clearly teach you what you need to know as you anticipate to apply for and win mext scholarship.

MEXT Scholarship Overview

This article will clearly teach you what you need to know as you anticipate to apply for and win mext scholarship.  I am sure you have heard about mext scholarship and the reason you are probably reading this is because you accidentally stumbled upon this article while researching more information on MEXT scholarship. Well, I want to tell you to keep reading on because every of your question will be answered with regards to MEXT scholarship and what you need to know to have an edge over other applicants.  This scholarship is highly competitive as with other popular ones like DAAD Scholarship, Fulbright Scholarship among others. These are all fully funded scholarships which attracts the attention of millions of international students all around the world. However, the more competitive a scholarship is, the more you need to arm yourself with every information and mindset it will take you. 

What Is MEXT Scholarship?

This is a scholarship offered to international students who have intention to study at the Masters and PhD level in Japan universities.  It is an embassy-recommended scholarship as against a university-recommended scholarship. In the latter, universities submit eligible candidates for the scholarship and are awarded accordingly. In this case, the government has little to no influence on the requirements the students must meet. While some universities will require that you write TOEFL or IELTS, others might just waive it for you. In  other words, universities have the autonomy to set the requirements students must meet. For instance, Tohoku University, Sendai, might ask you to submit IELTS as part of its requirements for admission whereas, Hokkaido University might not require it. Each university completely has its autonomy that is why it is necessary to make enquiries on what each university of your interest requires.  Tohoku University usually requires you to write an exam which is department based.  After your application is accepted and you get a prospective supervisor, and you are shortlisted for the exam.


The mistake that most students make and which I will let you know about is asking for which school is the best.  While it is a sincere question that you can ask in order to gather information, it is usually not really helpful as a goal-oriented and ambitious student.  It is usually advisable to choose a university based on your personal criteria like its capacity for research, range of courses offered and so on. The best school for another student may not be the best for you. You need to choose based on your background, goals and preferences.  Moreover, the commonest reason while students ask for recommendations is little knowledge on the number of universities they have as an option.  There are quite a number of good universities in Japan that you can choose from.  Hopefully, the list should be provided at the end of this article.  But I assure you, there are many options to choose from based on your academic goals.  University-Recommended Universities MEXT Scholarships in Japan are numerous.  You will only need to take your time, put your research cap on and dig.

While you can apply directly to the university, you can as well identify a professor in your preferred department who is actively in your field of interest. Send him a soft mail, letting him know you have read a number of his publications (make sure you actually did) and that you found out it is exactly your area of interest. Let him know a little of what you have done in that field if you have done anything but if not , leave that out.  Tell him how you plan to join him or her to further explore the field and expand the frontier of knowledge. More on this later in this article.

What then do you do after choosing your preferred school?  You need to visit its official website, locate the international students section, scholarship or admission.  Dig deeper and look for the criteria for being chosen for the scholarship.  Every university and its departments have guidelines used to select students and you must know them. Questions relating to age, qualifications, required documents and many more are usually answered in the guideline so there is usually no room for ambiguity.  Go through the guideline see if you are qualified.  Once you meet the guidelines, start your application in earnest.


This is a scholarship offered you by Japan based on the diplomatic ties it has with your country. Nigeria has a diplomatic relationship with Japan as well as a good number of African countries.  Your embassy will have to recommend you to the Japanese embassy. Your country will be responsible for the shortlisting of eligible candidates.

Visit the Embassy of Japan In Nigeria here

Click on the Scholarship and Culture menu to the left of the screen. This will take you to the scholarship guidelines for either the Teachers Training Students Scholarship and International Student Scholarship.  You are interested in the latter, so you go throught it for more information. You will also know when applications are being received. For MEXT Scholarship for International students, applications ususally opens around MAY/JUNE of each year and closes in JULY of the same year. So visit the official website and check now.  I want to emphasize this: READ the application guideline carefully. That instruction isually written in RED letter on the site. If possible you can print it out.  Do you know why? It may be all you need to apply and be selected.  Yes, it is as detailed as that.

You will do well to also download past examination quesitions from the website so as to practice when shortlisted to write the exam, You can download it here.

How To Write A Prospective Supervisor

At one point or the other, the is process for MEXT Scholarship application, you will have to write a professor a mail, either before your application or while you are applying.  This type of mail should be professional and official. It should be respective and straight to the point.

The heading of the letter can be “Application For Research Supervison” or any heading that is straight forward and lack no abstruseness or ambiguity.

Start the letter with ‘Dear Prof XY’. Including the professor’s name to makes it more personal rather than just a broadcast messsage.   Also let him know what makes you think you are qualified for his or her supervision. If you have any extraordinary accomplishment that relates to your request, put it there. Let him know you have a background of his research work especially his most recent works and that it is also of interest to you. You can use Google Scholar or Research Gate to find out his most recent works. What you intend to do with this is contextualizing your letter. You want to create a common ground with both of you. In another paragraph you will definitely include that you are also applying for a scholarship. You can attach a document to further prove any points you have raised to justify your letter like a research proposal. These are letter structures that can really help you stand out of the competition and win MEXT Scholarship.

When Should You Send A Mail?

It is best to send it during the working hours and not at night when they probably they are sleeping. This might require you to wake up in the night to send it so as to make it get delivered during the professor’s day. Sometimes you might need to send a follow up email to him copying the first email sent.  There is so much potential in following them up because they are usually busy and need reminder.