A total of 102,810 students did not graduate from colleges and universities last spring, about one in every six students in their final year. According to a recent survey, many of those students opted to take a fifth year — not to study more deeply but simply to continue looking for a job.
The survey found that many students unsatisfied with job offers they received opted to spend another year in school for another chance at a better position.
Of course, for many other students, the fifth year is not about a better job, but about learning more. Many students stay on to finish their research, learn another language, volunteer oversees or do an internship. Some students who have studied abroad in their third year find it hard to graduate on time because the Japanese university curriculum remains so inflexible. Taking time for endeavors outside of regular course programs means some students sometimes graduate "late."