Title: Interview with Mr. Akihiro Ozawa, Head of Route H about the secret to success in getting into elite overseas universities

Interview with Mr. Akihiro Ozawa, Head of Route H about the secret to success in getting into elite overseas universities

Have you heard about Route H, a prep school specializing in entrance exams for prestigious foreign universities?

Although it does not do much advertising, every educationally conscious family knows its name.

Along with Tetsuryokukai, Benesse Corporation’s flagship school attracts more and more students of the best class mainly from prestigious schools in Japan, and continues to produce students who have been accepted to Harvard and Yale Universities for 12 consecutive years, is located in Tokyo.

Our editorial team interviewed Mr. Akihiro Ozawa, the head of Route H, about the secret to success in getting into elite overseas universities.

Image: Mr. Akihiro Ozawa, the head of Route H

Mr. Akihiro Ozawa

The head of Route H, an elite overseas university preparatory school (Benesse Corporation group)
After working as a writer for a U.S. newspaper, Mr. Ozawa joined Benesse Corporation in 1995.

After working as editor-in-chief of Shinken Mock English examinations, he was appointed to his current position in 2009. He has helped over 90% of the students (140 students) to achieve their academic goals, including 28 students from Harvard University and 34 students from Yale University.

He has sent more than 90% of his students (135 students) to top universities abroad, including 28 to Harvard University and 34 to Yale University.

He has given many tips for successful elite university application, produced events for students to attend top universities abroad, and he also promotes exchanges with some of Harvard student organizations.


Setting the standard for “choosing a career path from all over the world”.

Japan is a country in steady decline, with a declining birthrate, an aging population, and a rapidly shrinking domestic market. With low salaries for university graduates, young people can no longer imagine a bright future after graduating from a Japanese university. High school students are now aiming for globally viable careers, and it has become the norm for them to pursue universities overseas in addition to universities in Japan. In recent years, in addition to traditional Japanese integrated junior and senior high schools, even the brightest students at famous metropolitan and regional public schools are increasingly looking to “choose a career path from around the world.

However, the know-how to get accepted to overseas universities has not yet been generalized but has been accumulated by the Route H Group, which produces many students who are accepted to elite overseas universities and global universities in Japan every year. The Route H Group is the only Japanese school to have produced students who have been accepted to Harvard and Yale for 12 consecutive years.

Route H Group’s Acceptance Record (excerpts from 2010-2021)

Harvard: 28 (12 consecutive years), Yale: 34 (12 consecutive years), Princeton: 23 (9 consecutive years), Stanford: 11 (2 consecutive years), MIT: 7, Oxford: 6, Cambridge: 1

What kind of students are there on Route H?

Approximately 80% of the students live in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Many students aspire to University of Tokyo or medical schools, and many of them attend so-called prestigious private junior and senior high schools, such as Kaisei, Shibushibu, Shibumaku, Seiko, and Hiroo in Tokyo, and Nada, and Koyo in Kansai, except a few prestigious national schools, such as and affiliated schools of University. 

A little more than half of the students are from international schools and returnees. The rest have little or no previous experience living abroad.

Recently, students from Kansai, Kyushu, and other regions, as well as students who reside abroad due to their parents’ expatriation, and foreign nationals, have been participating in online classes. In the past, it was thought that the Tokyo metropolitan area, where information is concentrated, had the advantage of advancing to overseas universities, but we believe that even if you live in a rural area, you can make it if you build up your grades, extracurricular activities, and award history, and prepare for the TOEFL and other score-making activities from your first year of high school.

Recently there has been an increase in the number of local high school students who have been accepted to overseas universities after having never been accepted before, and more and more students are actively working on their own to obtain information and knocking on Route H’s door.

However, some public high schools in rural areas that do not have many students who have been accepted to overseas universities do not know how to write school introductions to be submitted to overseas university admissions.

Why are Japanese junior and senior high school students now aiming for elite overseas universities?

Many junior and senior high school students are attracted by the knowledge and skills acquired through many classes that require output through discussions and other activities with a diverse group of students from all over the world, as well as the human skills and global network of friends that is cultivated through dormitory life.

In addition, since it is possible to double major or minor in arts and sciences, students can pursue their fields of interest, which is also attractive.

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