Choosing a Right “Study Abroad” Consultant
With the increasing number of students aspiring to study abroad, the competition among study abroad consultants has increased and students have many options to choose from. This makes it difficult for a student to decide which consultant to choose. Here are some key points which might help you make this crucial decision:
Do you really need a consultant?
The first thing you should be asking yourself is whether you really need a consultant. It is important for a student to know that studies abroad is not just about preparing for entrance exams but has many other concerns like selecting the proper course/university, visa documentation, visa approval and so on. If you think you can single-handedly take care of all these things without any prior knowledge of the dynamics of it, chances of which are really low, then you are good to go. There are professionals who have been working in the studies abroad industry for several years and have valuable insights about the coaching and admissions. One can consult them and get the necessary guidance rather than taking chances.
What do they do?
Study abroad consultants have a myriad of services which they offer with regard to studies overseas. Following are the list of services being offered by the overseas consultants:
- Career Counseling: This service can be availed if the students need help in choosing their courses as well as universities. The professional counselors help you in deciding your university and course keeping in mind your financial constraints, your academic profile, work experience, test scores etc.
- University Representations: Overseas consultants have representations of famous universities from various countries like USA, UK, and Canada etc. If a student wants to go to a specific university then they should check with the consultants if they have tie-ups with those universities or not. There are few overseas consultants which offer their other services like coaching etc. devoid of having a tie-up with the University of the Students Choice.
- Coaching: Study abroad consultants offer coaching services for students for exams like GRE, GMAT, SAT, TOEFL, IELTS etc. They have classroom sessions, mock tests, and practice tests etc. which help the student to prepare for the exams accordingly.
- Visa assistance: Overseas consultants also provide guidance for visa application and arrange mock interviews which help them when they actually appear in the visa interviews.
- Travel assistance: Students are also provided with travel related assistance like booking the tickets for them in discounted rates, choosing the proper dates and routes etc.
Which consultant to choose?
Once you get the prior knowledge of how the overseas consultants can help you, you can choose from the available options. Since it is an important decision of your career you need to be careful while choosing your consultant. Following are some important guidelines that might help you make this decision:
Background Check: You need to check the previous records of the consultants that you would be approaching. If their records are consistent and convincing then there is a fair chance that you will benefit out of their services.
International exposure and past experience: Before making a choice one must get to know about what kind of experience they have and whether or not they have visited any universities abroad. One must do all the research and try to find out the details.
Universities and tie-ups: You must get acquainted with the kind of universities which are represented by these consultants. They should be among the top ranked universities and from well-known countries.
Services and charges: One should be aware of the services provided such as coaching, writing SOPs, LORs, visa assistance etc. They should also enquire about the cost of these services. There should be no surprises regarding the charges.
Asking previous clients: The student can find out more about the consultants by interacting with the previous students and getting to know about their experience. This is one of the best ways of decision making because genuine reviews always come in handy.
Duration of program: The students should see if the time constraints match the duration of course. This also depends on which intake is being targeted by the student. It should be well planned.