May 06

ASIJ Review


The American School In Japan (ASIJ) is a co-educational private day school located in Chōfu, Tokyo, with over 50 nationalities represented. The school consists of an elementary school, a middle school and a high school at the Chōfu campus, and an early learning center for children aged 3-5 located in the Roppongi Hills complex in downtown Tokyo. Kindergarten is offered at both campuses. While the main ASIJ campus is located outside of central Tokyo, a comprehensive bus system exists with a complimentary app to ensure that students can be transported to and from the school easily and safely from most locations in Tokyo.

Founded in 1902, ASIJ offers a standards-based curriculum that culminates in an American high school diploma incorporating Advanced Placement (AP®) courses and other college-preparatory work. Alongside academics, ASIJ encourages its students to participate in extracurricular experiences in arts, athletics and service, and incorporates Japanese language and cultural studies throughout.

ASIJ is home to over 1,600 students at any one time, and has a global network of over 7,500 alumni, that provides a strong sense of community for students long after their time at the school.


The admissions process at ASIJ opens in mid-November for August of the next academic year, and admissions decisions usually take place from late February and continue through the spring. Required items for the application vary depending on which school you wish to apply to:

  • High School (Gr.9 – Gr.12)
    • 2 full year report cards including the most recent report card
    • 3 teacher recommendations
    • Student Essay
    • Standardized test result
    • Contact information
  • Middle School (Gr.6 – Gr.8)
    • 2 full year report cards including the most recent report card
    • 3 teacher recommendations
    • Student Essay
    • Standardized test result
    • Contact information
  • Elementary School (K-Gr.5)
    • 2 full year report cards including the most recent report card
    • 2 teacher recommendations
    • Standardized test result (if available)
    • Contact information
  • Kindergarten (Early Learning Centre at Roppongi, Kindergarten at Chofu)
    • 1 full year report cards including the most recent report card
    • 1 teacher recommendation
    • Contact information

Note that recommendation forms include a statement giving your permission for the teacher giving the recommendation to provide confidential information about your child. For elementary school students, the best recommenders are your child’s two most recent teachers. For middle and high school students, one recommender should be a math teacher, the second should be an English teacher and the third should be a counselor/principal. For students in 5th grade applying to grade 6, you may ask the current teacher, the previous teacher and a counselor/principal.

At least one parent must be fluent in English for good communications with the school, and students must be living with at least one of their parents who is residing in Tokyo and be a dependant on their parent’s visa. There is no boarding or homestay option.


The Elementary School operates on a nine-day cycle independent of the day of the week. Core subjects include English Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science, while Physical Education, Visual Arts and Music Classes are taught three times in a nine-day cycle. Japanese Language Classes are taught daily both for heritage speakers and as a foreign language. A digital citizenship program focuses on building students’ skills to engage online in a safe, responsible and effective manner, and technology is incorporated into the classroom frequently so that students can develop essential technology skills. Students also have time allocated in the elementary school library.

In Middle School the curriculum opens up to some guided choice, allowing students to follow their interests more closely while still ensuring exposure to many different subjects and skills. Middle Schoolers also have an Advisory Period each day, allowing them to work with faculty on important skills for learners such as personal relationships, time management and social and emotional wellness. The ASIJ “Approaches to Learning” framework encourages and rewards effort and determination above natural ability, motivating all students towards success in their classes. 

The full Middle School curriculum is given below:

  • All of the Core subjects
    • Humanities (English Language Arts and Social Studies Combined)
    • Science
    • Mathematics
    • Physical Education and Health
  • One Language
    • Japanese
    • Chinese
    • Spanish
  • One Performance and Production
    • Bands
    • Orchestra
    • Chorus
    • Yearbook
    • Drama
    • Guitar
    • Video Productions
    • AppLab)
  • One Exploratory
    • Visual Art (Grade 6/7)
    • Design Technology (Grade 6/7)
    • EXPLO8 (Grade 8)

EXPLO8 is the Exploratory period for 8th Grade students. The EXPLO8 courses are short, quarter-length explorations designed to grab students’ attention, be engaging and offer active learning. Students are encouraged to take a different EXPLO8 class each quarter for a total of 4 classes although upon special request and schedule permitting, a student may be able to continue a class for a second quarter. EXPLO8 offerings change every year as they are usually decided based on a survey of student interests. However, the offerings might include such classes as Art Exploration, Art History, CSI: Forensics, Digital Photography, Dynamic Public Speakers, Engineering Design Challenge, Independent Explorations, Journalism, Living History, Money Smart, Net Sports, Personal Fitness, Space, Team Sport, Tennis Tactics, or Yoga.

In High School, students study a mixture of required and elective courses in English, Social Studies, Math, Science, Modern Languages, Physical Education, Health, Visual Performing Arts, and CID (Creativity, Innovation and Design). Students must also complete one semester of the Study of Japan. Many of these departments offer AP® classes to well-prepared students. To manage the many opportunities and requirements, students also attend a seminar allowing them to meet with personal and academic counselors to provide support and guidance throughout the many decisions of high school.

Students are offered a wide variety of Advanced Placement (AP®) classes and the AP® Capstone Diploma, an intensive program designed by the College Board that allows students to develop their research, writing and collaboration skills before college. The AP® Diploma program is meant to complement the in-depth, subject-specific rigour of AP® courses and exams. To earn the AP® Capstone Diploma students must successfully complete at least 4 AP® subjects in addition to taking the AP® Seminar and AP® Research courses. ASIJ offers over 20 AP® courses in the following areas:

  • Arts: 
    • Studio Art: Drawing Portfolio
    • Studio Art: 2-D Design Portfolio
    • Studio Art: 3-D Design Portfolio
  • English: 
    • English Language and Composition
    • English Literature and Composition
  • History and Social Sciences: 
    • European History
    • Macroeconomics
    • US History
    • World History
  • Mathematics and Computer Science: 
    • Calculus AB
    • Calculus BC
    • Computer Science A
    • Statistics
  • Sciences: 
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Environmental Science
    • Physics 2
  • Modern Languages: 
    • Chinese Language and Culture
    • Japanese Language and Culture
    • Spanish Language and Culture
  • Seminar and Research

ASIJ also operates a number of distinctive programs that brings a unique aspect to their curriculum.

ASIJ’s IMPACT program provides a personalized learning framework designed to empower students with skills for self-efficacy and a passion for learning that transcends school. The possibilities are diverse and driven by students’ interest in becoming self-guided, lifelong learners. The program consists of four components: Design for IMPACT, IMPACT Seminar, IMPACT Network and a Presentation of Learning. A successful IMPACT experience will provide a foundation for students as they continue to chart their path towards university, summer opportunities, internships, and other opportunities to pursue their future goals. Students who elect to participate in the full IMPACT program receive a certificate of distinction.

Students can take classes at Syracuse University through the Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) program, a concurrent enrollment program linking the university with secondary schools. Through this partnership, ASIJ students are able to offer students the opportunity to concurrently enroll in Syracuse University courses for university credit. Be aware that a required Syracuse registration fee of approximately $400 USD is required for Syracuse University credit. In the most recent year, ASIJ offered Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Introduction to Creative Nonfiction.

Finally, ASIJ is a member of Global Online Academy (GOA), a consortium of outstanding independent schools in the United States and overseas. As a member school, ASIJ students may elect to enrol in a one-semester or year-long online course through GOA and work with peers and teachers from around the globe. GOA courses are included in the GPA. Collaboration with peers and teachers is an essential component of many GOA courses, and students may be expected to manage collaboration and communication across time zones.


Leadership, Extracurriculars and Sports

ASIJ boasts over 170 extra-curricular and co-curricular activities school-wide across athletics, arts, service and STEM.

ASIJ sports teams compete in 15 sports against other high schools through the Kanto Plains League and various tournaments. The sporting philosophy at ASIJ is to involve as many students as possible between Varsity, Junior Varsity and Junior Varsity B while still providing a competitive experience. Students are able to participate in teams as athletes, team managers, game/event support personnel, student athletic trainers and student coaches, highlighting all the aspects of the sporting ecosystem.

Students are able to act, write, direct, edit and stagecraft in one of the multiple musicals each year, in addition to further engagement with the arts through extracurriculars such as the high school play or the middle school movie. Musical students can join the Kanto Plains honor band, choir or orchestra, and AIMS music program. High school students interested in speech and debate can join teams that travel and compete to further refine their abilities in public speaking. 

The school also places a significant emphasis on community service, with over 600 students participating in service groups such as Model UN, Amnesty International and Service Projects. Students have an impact in their host country through teaching English to students in Tohoku, teaching art to local community members with disabilities, supporting local teenagers as they leave the foster system, or making and sharing food with those less fortunate in Ueno Park. 

STEM clubs are offered throughout grades at ASIJ, with younger students focusing on simple coding and cardboard engineering all the way up to VEX Robotics tournaments and the iGEM bioengineering program for older students in middle and high school. ASIJ students compete in International Academic and North East Asian Mathematics competitions, organize conferences with speakers from NASA and JAXA, and build robots and programmable apps.

The ASIJ curriculum meshes with the Japanese context to offer unique field trips wherever possible, and ASIJ’s Japan Center offers lessons in calligraphy, tea ceremony, and kendo, as well as opportunities to learn from master craftsmen. Tokyo is also central to the community service programs at ASIJ. In middle schoolers explore the nature of Japan through the extended campus program, a “classroom without walls” experience encouraging students to bond with each other and the outdoors.


72% of ASIJ students in the most recent graduating class had taken 6 or more AP® courses during their time at the school, and AP® grades received by students at ASIJ are very strong. 

In the most recent cycle of AP® examinations (and excluding AP® Japanese language), ASIJ students did best in:

  • Calculus BC (4.61, global mean 3.84)
  • Studio Art 3D (4.50, global mean 3.18)
  • Research (4.29, global mean 3.20)

In the most recent cycle of AP® examinations, ASIJ students did worst in:

  • Environmental Science (3.38, global mean 2.84)
  • English Literature and Composition (3.56, global mean 2.84)
  • Seminar (3.57, global mean 3.06)

Note that even in the school’s worst performing AP® subjects, ASIJ students scored considerably higher than the global average. Overall, these results are strong and demonstrate that ASIJ students perform better than typical AP® candidates globally.

With regard to standardised testing, in the most recent cycle ASIJ students averaged a 650 on the SAT® Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) sections, and a 690 on the Mathematics Section (1340 total score). This compares to a 528 average on the ERW and a 523 average on the Math section (1051 total) across all SAT® candidates globally. ASIJ students sitting for the ACT received a composite score of 30 out of 36 on average, compared to a 20.7 globally. 

As for college matriculation, 73% of the most recent class went on to attend colleges in the U.S. 6% each went to Canadian and UK universities, 12% went to other countries and only 3% continued their education in Japan. 

Notable universities that ASIJ graduates recently went on to attend include:

  • Dartmouth College (USA)
  • Harvard University (USA)
  • Johns Hopkins University (USA)
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA)
  • New York University (USA)
  • Princeton University (USA)
  • Stanford university (USA)
  • University of California, Berkeley (USA)
  • University of California, Los Angeles (USA)
  • Yale University (USA)
  • University of Toronto (Canada)
  • McGill University (Canada)
  • Keio University (Japan)
  • Waseda University (Japan)
  • Imperial College London (UK)
  • University College London (UK)
  • University of Oxford (UK)
  • University of St. Andrews (UK)
  • New York University, Abu Dhabi (UAE)
  • New York University, Shanghai (China)

The information in this report comes from the experiences of ASIJ students, the expertise of Tokyo Academics educators who work with students from ASIJ on a regular basis, The Good Schools Guide International and The American School In Japan webpage.

SAT® and AP® are trademarks owned by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse Tokyo Academics.

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