A recent article in the Nikkei Career Magazine Special Edition (日経特別編集キャリアマガジン, June 10, 2010) ranks Sophia University first among the 480 Japanese universities surveyed for "Developing students' skills most needed for contemporary employment." The survey, limited to only four-year universities--thus excluding professional schools, junior colleges, etc.--was based on the responses of 4,684 students who were about to embark on job hunting.
The 25 survey questions dealt with four significant areas concerning (1) Personal feeling towards the university (大学愛 'Love for the university'), (2) Social relationships (交友関係 'friendships'), (3) Extracurricular Activities (課外活動), and (4) Satisfaction with academic work (学業 'Academic work'). Why these four topics? The surveyors say that a major difference between students who get employment and those who don't is their social skills or their ability to fit smoothly into society. The four major areas explored are indicators of students' social skills, and the university that contributes to the development of these skills is the most successful in educating the future workforce of Japan. The questions were of Multiple Choice format with 2, 3, 4, or 5 options.
According to the survey, the scores that Sophia obtained were as follows:
(1) Feeling towards the university: 234
(2) Social Relationships ... ... .: 614
(3) Extracurricular Activities.. .: 506
(4) Academic Satisfaction ... .. .: 478
Total Score:... .. .: 1832
For comparison, here are the scores of second-ranked and third-ranked universities (in the same order):
2nd-ranked university: 290, 615, 455, 445, 1805
3rd-ranked university: 232, 595, 455, 491, 1773
It is noteworthy that Sophia's impressive scores were mainly in "Academic Satisfaction" and "Extra-curricular Activities"--both hallmarks of a Jesuit University. Sophia usually demands much from students (rigorous attendance, lots of homework, etc.), and Sophia students are remarkably cooperative and committed to academic excellence. Many of Sophia's "Extracurricular Activities" are humanitarian activities, inspired by the traditional Christian concern to be socially responsible and to do something for the socially downtrodden. Worth mentioning are voluntary organizations such as Meguko that help the poor and STP 'Summer Teaching Program' that go out to teach skills to high-school students both in Japan and overseas.
Of course, all such surveys must be taken with a pinch of salt, and I don't think there is any reason for Sophians to boast or be complacent. Probably most Sophians are themselves a bit surprised at the first rank, though the report is sure to be a moral boost to all Sophians, especially the students.