6 myths about planning your studies through an education agent
The decision to study abroad is often a result of years of planning, but if you’re like me it can also be a spur of the moment decision. What I came to understand that planning to study abroad is a gargantuan process that requires your effort, time, and sometimes money.
I discovered that I had two choices: to research and apply directly to universities on my own or go through an international education agent. Despite my cynicism and doubts, I decided I would go with an agency because I was short of time and I didn’t know where to begin. All I knew was that I wanted to study at a good university in Australia. Then a family friend recommended IDP to me and I’m glad I listened.
There are a lot of stereotypes surrounding international education consultants and agents. However, I’m currently studying at my dream university in Australia and opting to check-in with an IDP counsellor was the best decision I’d ever made.
I know there are a lot of you who might be at crossroads from mixed reviews about various education agencies online. While I can’t tell you about all international education agents, I’m here to debunk some common myths based on my personal experience with IDP and hopefully save you from the internal dilemma.
1. The consultation is expensive
Believe it or not, it’s free. Or at least it should be. I remember how baffled my parents were when the IDP counsellor said that the service came without charges (except for visa-related expenses of course).
My parents weren’t convinced that there were no hidden fees and continued to carry money with them to all our meetings until the end of my application process. But the service remained free until the very end.
2. They will choose your universities for you
When I had chosen Australia as my study destination, my counsellor encouraged me to list all the universities I wished to apply to.
They had zero influence on my university choices, aside from assistance with researching the best universities in my field of study. In fact, my counsellor did everything to help me – from mapping out my essay requirements to laying out student accommodation options.
3. They are inauthentic
There are often questions regarding the credibility or the authenticity of agents and counsellors due to fear of fraudulent practices. And in all honesty, that’s a fair concern.
Hence, it’s important to find registered agencies or the ones recommended by your trusted family or friends. Trust and reputation are vital when looking into your education agency options and it’s important to choose the best match for you.
4. Quality of consultation varies according to the choice of country
In my experience, it didn’t. The IDP office I visited had trained professionals with years of experience assigned to different countries.
In fact, their specialised knowledge and expertise across the various study destinations bolstered the quality of my consultations.
5. They make the process harder, not easier
I’d assumed that working with an agency complicated the process of applying to universities. But that changed when I met my counsellor. All I had to do was provide my documents relevant to the application.
My counsellor made the application process easier by listing out the documents in advance so I was well-prepared throughout. They also offered expert advice on potential issues I might face during the course of application, which may otherwise hinder the process if you decide to do it by yourself.
6. They are only out to make commissions from high-paying universities
If this were true, my counsellor would’ve persuaded me to change my mind about my choice of universities.
Not only did my counsellor help me apply to my top universities by the deadline, but they also gave me immense help when my applications returned with discouraging responses. My counsellor offered alternative ways to reapply or overcome this issue if there was a possible solution. And I honestly believe that they wouldn’t go to such great lengths had they been profit-driven from the start.
The process of applying to universities and visas is time-consuming and arduous. And one wrong move – such as uploading the wrong documents or providing erroneous information – can jeopardize your opportunity and put you at risk of refusal.
Going through an education agency can help you avoid these mistakes and increase your chances of success at securing an admission. My experience with IDP speaks for itself and I can guarantee that it’ll be worth it.
Swathi is a post-graduate student at the University of Melbourne. When she's not working, she's either studying her cat or indulging in TV shows.