Choosing to study abroad is a major decision. It involves a commitment for a year or even 3-4 years in a new country where you will navigate a new system of education, and a different culture and will need to build a new community of friends and associates. It also requires a considerable financial investment.
There is also another important point to consider. Think of the journey from the time you decide to study abroad to the time you arrive at your dream university. This journey involves many stages: choosing the geographical location and appropriate study program, finalizing the list of universities to which you will apply and then the complex process of completing and submitting the application!
Even after application submission, the study abroad journey is not over. As an applicant, you await the decisions from the universities and if you get more than one admits, a quick decision is required to make the final choice. And the process of visa and education loans awaits after all these academic formalities are in place.
So, as you can see from this detailed outlining of the process, study abroad students need support at multiple stages. The academic part requires the guidance of counsellors and coaches. The other stages dealing with immigration, visa and education loans need the backing of an efficient organization which can support your entire study abroad journey. For all these reasons you must choose your overseas consultant wisely. In this Blog, I am providing a few quick strategies to help you make the best choice for a study abroad consultant or service.
This Blog Includes:
What are the Essential Qualities of a Good Study Abroad Consultant or Service?
Basically, it should be:
- Reputed and well-established.
- Reliable in responding to student requirements and meeting deadlines.
- Trustworthy in providing timely advice/ reminders on university deadlines, education loans and visa applications.
How can you Pick the Right Study Abroad Consultant?
Following is the procedure on how to pick the right study abroad consultant:
Step 1: Do Your Research
- Read about the consultant service on all online platforms. Find published articles (by them and about them).
- Check social media sites for information about their offices and leadership.
- Reviews are important. Read them, but reviews can also be fake!
- Sometimes they are also ‘planted’ by rival services. So, read extensively and use your judgement.
- Student/ customer testimonials are more reliable. Go a step further and try to verify if those are actual students.
Step 2: Reach Out to the Company
- Call them!
- Use the query session well: Ask about their expertise areas (Undergraduate? MBA? MSc. etc).
- Enquire which geographical locations they specialise in. Ask for a list of their ‘Partner Universities’ (this usually means that your acceptance chances are very high and sometimes a discounted fee may also be possible).
- Ask about the consultant fees.
- Is there a cap on how many universities they will apply to within their fee?
- After your coach is assigned will there be flexi-time availability for you to consult them?
- How will you access your coaches in the following months? Through a portal? WhatsApp?
- Can they help you to find scholarships or education loans?
- What about visa facilitation?
- Do they have services to help you with university accommodation at your destination? This is VERY important because many studies abroad have reported difficulties in finding reasonably priced accommodation if they have not been able to reserve it many months in advance.
Choosing a good study abroad consultant is key to the success of your study abroad journey until you reach your dream university. Therefore, ask as many questions as you can about what you think your requirements will be.
You should ensure that the consultant service you choose has the human capital as well as the infrastructure to support you – especially if you are already working or studying while you apply to study abroad. Therefore, choose a ‘Full-stack’ or ‘End-to-End’ consultant. This will ensure that you are supported through the entire process from the planning stage to reaching the campus of your dream university!
We will be back next Friday with another amazing blog from Dr Maina Chawla Singh. Till then, if you have any questions or suggestions, just drop us a comment and we will get back to you. Want to study abroad? Our Leverage Edu experts are ready to assist you in narrowing down the best course and university options according to your interests and preferences.