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How to choose the right education agent

Students walking along the Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London

By Helen Obaje, British Council 
5 September 2016

Many students planning to study abroad consult an ‘education agent’ – sometimes referred to as an education advisor or counsellor.

Education agents can help you plan your studies, apply for a course, book accommodation, travel and more.

It’s important to choose a reputable agent who will put your interests first and offer you good advice.

Here Helen Obaje, Professional Development Manager at the British Council, gives her top tips for finding and working with an agent.

Before you approach an agent

1.  Think carefully about your study and career plans – you will get better advice if you have a clear idea of your goals and the type of course you are interested in. Use the menu above to browse courses and read about your study options.

2.  Some agents have formal working relationships with particular schools, colleges and universities. This means they know the application processes well, and should be able to help you effectively. If you already know where you want to study, choosing an agent who represents this education centre may be ideal for you.

However, if you are interested in exploring lots of different education centres and evaluating which one is best suited to you – make sure the agent is able to present you with the full range of options, rather than just the particular schools, colleges or universities they represent.

To find an agent

3.  If you are interested in a particular school, college or university: ask the institution if they have good agents in your country that could help you. Many UK schools, colleges and universities list the agents they work with on their websites.

4.  Another good place to look is the British Council’s Global Agents List. Here you can find contact details for certified agents in your country. Agents listed here have passed the British Council’s Agent Training Certificate within the last two years, meaning they have a good knowledge of the UK’s education system.

5.  Ask your family, friends and teachers if they can recommend a good education agent to you.

Before you use an agent’s services

6.  Ask the agent for references or testimonials from students they have assisted in the past.

7.  If possible, speak to more than one agent – this will give you the opportunity to compare the information you are given. 

8.  Always ask for a summary of costs – make sure you know what you are paying for, and compare prices. If an agent doesn’t charge you a fee, this is because they receive a commission from the education institution they represent. 

9.  Be aware that your CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) is normally sent directly to you from the university, college or school, and not to the agent, unless you have arranged this with your CAS provider.

10.  Finally, read any documents carefully before you sign them.

Visit the British Council’s Global Agents List to find agents now.