How to select an Education Agent
International students and Canadian education institutions must be able to trust the education agents they work with. Students may never have travelled overseas before, let alone to Canada, and will be relying on the agent to provide them with accurate information on which they can justify a substantial financial investment in their education.
Your studies will play a massive part in building your career, so you want to choose the best possible education agent for youself. Taking the time to properly review your options is essential. Before you decide to enlist any kind of help with your application, you should think carefully and strategically about your study and career plans. If you can articulate a clear idea of your goals, especially the types of courses that interest you and why, you will get better advice from others. This includes agents.
Trustworthiness is a key quality for agents to possess when performing their roles. It is the outcome of routinely practicing certain honest and professional behaviours and standards of conduct. This means agents must be committed to their clients, deliver high & consistent levels of service & have ethical practices.
The two most important things an agent can do to ensure a good match (i.e., international student to Canadian education institution) are these :
- Know—really know—the education institution they are promoting, from courses to competitive advantages to all relevant contacts within the staff for quick answers to students’ questions.
- Listen to students—about their goals, their fears, their personalities (e.g., would a small campus or a big campus be better for them? On-campus housing or a private apartment?), their budgets, their credentials, their interests … everything. Every student is different.
An agent must know (and this is by no means a complete list):
- When courses start and end
- Which courses are open to international students (and those that aren’t)
- Which courses are offered at which campuses
- Eligibility criteria for individual courses/programs
- Refund policies for dropped courses/students’ being unable to attend programs to which they had gained admission (e.g., via a denied study permit)
- Academic credit rules (i.e., transferability of students’ previous credits to the new institution)
Examples of ethical standards that education agents must practice include –
- Providing sufficient & accurate information to students, so that they can take an informed & right decision
- Keeping adequate records
- Maintaining contact with students even after a course has begun in order to help them with relevant issues that may arise
- Having clear cost structures
- Responding to questions in a timely manner
Some unethical practices that students must be aware of while dealing with education agents include –
- Charging hidden fees
- Misrepresenting fee structures of institutions
- Placement into a course for commission reasons alone without due regard to a student’s needs & future
- Not protecting a student’s personal details
Some tips when selecting an education agent :
- Do your research – Do some preliminary internet research to see what you can find out about an education agent and if an education agent is authorized to represent a particular education provider.
- Seek out a “Canada Certified Education Agent (CCEA)” who has successfully completed their course. You can check the relevant database to confirm if an education agent has in fact completed this certification.
- Ask the education agent to recommend a selection of courses & to disclose whether they are receiving any commissions from the education provider. Please be aware of the fact that education agents normally receive a commission from the education provider & there may be a temptation for the agent to recommend a particular course based on who is paying the highest commission rather than the most suitable course for the student.
Contact us if you wish to seek any assistance in your institution or course selection, admission process or student visa.