The scope and variety of study abroad options has increased manifold over the last few years. Students have a multitude of countries and institutions to choose from, for all levels of study- Undergraduate, Postgraduate and PhD. This has in turn led to a variety of education consultants and agents who provide counselling for various institutions across different counties. In such a scenario it’s important to choose the right guidance consultant to assist you with your application.
Here are some things to keep in mind while choosing your education counselor.
1) Be clear about your goals: Before approaching an agent be sure about what you want to study and which your countries of preference are. This will enable you to communicate clearly with your agent about the kind of assistance you are seeking from them.
2) Do your research: It is essential to know that the agent you are choosing has a sound reputation in the market. It is very easy to be misled and you must ensure that you are aware of when your applications are being submitted and whether they are going to the institutions of your choice.
3) Study the scope of work of the agent: There are some agents who might be working with only a few institutions or countries. If you have specific choices which you are very keen on, try and find a consultant who represents or works with those institutions so that your interests are best represented.
4) Ask around: The education sector is all about word-of-mouth and referrals. If you have friends and family who have been through a particular consultant and are happy with them, chances are you shall be too. Take negative feedback into consideration as well. You can also ask the agent for testimonials from students they have assisted in the past.
5) Ask about costs: Ensure that you are aware about any charges that the agent has for applications and counselling. It’s better to know beforehand than to be caught unawares whilst in the middle of your application process!
6) Read all documents: Many of us don’t bother reading the documents we sign. It is essential to go through all contracts and documents before you sign them so that there are no nasty surprises awaiting you in the future.
7) Data Protection: Many agents end up sharing your essays and reference letters with other students as samples. Ensure you have a clause on data protection in the contract you sign to safeguard your interests.
8) Provide your contact details: Even if you are applying through an agent, give your contact information in the application forms. Many universities do not send email updates to agent email addresses which might result in you losing out on important information.
At the end of the day remember that as a student you must be comfortable with the agent you choose since you will be interacting frequently with them for almost a year if not more.
University Options assists students with the entire application process from choosing universities to guidance on essays as well as post application follow up.