Truth About US College Admission Agents and Their Business Model

Raghuram Sukumar Admission 67 Comments

Note: This blog post was initially published in 2011 and till date (2017) nothing has changed. Here’s a comment from the Facebook posted recently:

Do the right thing, do it the right way. Every single greedy offense done elsewhere affects each and every immigrant and  non immigrant’s life’s in the USA. Change of rules, laws etc. Doesn’t get better but just get worse. Hence be aware  and Spread the awareness.

The above comment was in response to the how the U.S. Admission agents are offering false promises to send students to low quality universities, which in turn is having ripple effects. Poor quality students need a way to find jobs and they end up faking resumes by joining Desi Consultancies. Which in turn impacts how laws are changed.

This is the first article discussing the U.S. Admission agent’s role in U.S. Admission process (from India).

Following a series of posts about US admission consultancies was inspired from the following comment:

I belong to Pharma faculty (M. Pharm) and going to appear for GRE in June month, applying for spring semester. Now seriously, I have a great doubt regarding my admission, because some private GRE coaching centers tell that they will guarantee admission at any cost if we pay them the required amount. Seriously now, is there any problem for all the other students applying for admission, so that individually applying student quota may become reduced, because of these private sectors?

U.S. Education Consultancies Business Model

First, you have to understand US admission consultancies (or Education Agents) are just a business like any other companies. They are people and they have to make profits and they are there to make money. What differentiates good companies from bad is based on the type of service they provide and their business model.

  • Everyone admission consultancies guarantee 100% admissions to the university, but how can they?

If you have scored say 300 in GRE and applying, to schools that require 280 in GRE pretty much get you admission. When there are universities that admits pretty much everyone with any scores, it’s easy for agents to get your admission. You are unlikely to get a list of universities they would apply before you ay them the fees. Once you pay them, you will be given a list of universities that’s way below what you can get admit from.

  • Education agents have an agreement for recruiting students with universities.

For example, University X in USA will have an exclusive agreement with Agent X in India. Agent X can have sub-agents in different cities. Students applying via those agents may get Application Fee waiver. It’s hard to find quality/good ranked universities working with agents.

  • Education Agents get paid for recruiting students to universities have commission based agreements.

If Student X approaches Agent X about getting admission for his profile in the USA. Let’s assume Agent X applies to 4 universities and student gets admission from all 4 universities (including University X).

If student X decides to attend University X (gets a visa and pays the first semester fees), Agent X gets paid like 5 to 20% of first year fees. Sometimes, they get fixed amount like $1000 to $5000 per student.

Think Logically: Would they ask you nicely (or force you to attend an university that pays them $4000 or $800), if you are admitted from both schools?

So, you would really have to question the agents:

  • If they have tie-ups  with any universities they are providing you
  • What sort of deal they have with the university
  • Are they applying for, only to universities where they have tie-ups?
  • You can ask the university if you have doubts

Above all, they are taking away the learning opportunities from you. Applying to Study Abroad program is a problem and you want to solve on your own. If you chicken out with this problem (at the very first step) on your study abroad journey, how will you grow and gain to solve bigger problems while you are studying abroad or in the future?

Over to you

Before I continue to post additional details about US Education agents, I would like you to post your experience about agents. If you got admission through agents or visited US Admission consultancies recently, what kind of package did they offer and how much do they charge?

Based on your questions and comments, part 2 of this Truth about US Education Agents can be shaped.

Also, how many of you know US Admission consultancies have agreed with Universities (USA, UK, Australia) and get paid from universities if you apply through them?

Series of Articles About Admission Agents:

  1. Part 1: Truth About US College Admission Agents and Their Business Model (this article)
  2. Part 2: US College Admission Agents Intimidate Naive Students To Make a Quick Buck
  3. Part 3: True Story: Agent: Pay $5000 or You Can’t Study in the U.S.
  4. Part 4: Students Using Admission Agents In USA Are Academically Unprepared (Research Article)
  5. Part 5: The Role of Consultancies in the Admission Process 

 

Comments

  1. i know that when i applied for us university i must have i20. and its cost around 100$ and college admission fee is extra. its told by agents so what is truth about it.

    1. Hashit..I20 is the form which you get from the University once you get an admit into that University..Which means that you don't need to have an I20 to apply for an Univrsity and what do you mean by '100$ and college admission fee'..

      1. LOL! 😀 … He is confused… Anyway, I think the agent is charging(or the university(NOT CLEAR!!!) ) for the application of I-20. If the university does ask you, then pay it without hesitation! But if its the agent, then do hesitate and "DO NOT PAY HIM AT ALL".

  2. hi…
    i came across a program called AUAC (AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES APPLICATION CENTRE).
    as per this, they have 100 universities connected to them and if we apply through this AUAC..they promise 1/3 rd fees ( 2/3 rd waived) and accommodation in university itself. they have an eligibility criteria. i am interested in it.
    but i was worried if this is authorized. anyone has any info about this AUAC.
    its website is auac.in.

    1. Hi Punit,

      You can check the affiliation & accreditation of Universities by refering VFS web site. If University name will be there, go for that.

      All the best.

      1. This AUAC is not any university. Some sort of consultancy agency. Does anyone know it is fraud or not?

        1. Just get to know what are those 100 universities this so called "AUAC" will be offering and check for the accreditation of those universities.. If all of them are well and good, proceed with it, else do not consider it and apply on your own. You should be fine with the second option. 🙂

  3. Education agents act like they know everything, they always try to convince us they will give their best , all you need to do is some research(by research I read blogs and community forums like HSB and many more If you some slight insinuation then confirm by various means like Facebook, Orkut or even university itself) I mean on the internet for 1 hour each day for a week or a month is enough If you have a pal then the effort and outcome put in is two times.

    DON’T SPEND MONEY ON AGENTS INSTEAD A SPEND THAT MONEY ON THE APPLICATION PROCESS

      1. I agree with vaibhav. People shud consult an agent only when they r dead busy.

        Whats the point of going abroad and studying, when a student cant even do a little research on univ's and application procedure?

        So, spending money on agents is a waste. They can't influence the decision of admission committee…. only a student can(through his credentials).

        a consultant is guarantees an admission in univ X… It only means that he/she has seen stud with similar profile getting an admit in X.

    1. Everyone cant and should not be painted with the same brush!!
      I write this as one of the so called “agents:” interestingly we have partnerships but we also place the students based on his subject ,fee affordability and test scores.
      Yet students become wary-so let me tell you the story from the other side of the fence
      First most students have no clue what they want to study;MS-yes,Computer Science-ok;what do you want to specialize in?mmmmm?…dead silence ;do this, you suggest and the immediate response is…no…ok here is the list- choose;you tell me what is good and this cyclic process can go for three months and more
      Second,they go around shopping;checking up details is different-you have to make informed choices and decisions but instead they will go around asking people who know nothing about the US about the university!!!you know the outcome
      Third,they want to be close to someone-an uncle.friend.relative anyone.They dont choose the university that is good for them
      Fourth-they fall for the size of the office,the sweet talking counselor; the six figure is a joke-because a student will pay that but if you ask for a small sum they look at you with suspicion.
      I could go on …
      We work with Chinese students too and believe me .. the difference is amazing
      Problem is huge in India…they neither know the process well nor will they listen
      Last but not the least-very few want to cut the dress according to the cloth available: they want to go the top 25 colleges when they have no test scores ,they have below average academics and cant afford the fee.And they think we are cheating !!
      And the second last-no one can ” fix” the fee for you because you will get a fee discount only after you have applied and no one can “promise” you admission unless it is somewhere at the bottom of the 4000 strong list
      and the third last point-there is no true list of rankings of US institutions.So dont go around asking what rank is this institution?
      Look at what is really important for you-decide,draw up a list and then do your homework matching your performance with the university
      and if no one has heard the name before before its ok;and all lakh and a hundred students applying cant get into the same college in the US
      Go out where one one went before and open up a new world for yourself
      Yet we have had plenty of wonderful kids in top schools ,who followed directions and have had an excellent smooth onwards to the USA
      I write this as someone who is part of an organisation that has had three decades of experience in higher education in the US and am willing to answer any questions on the issues raised here
      Gowri

      1. That is true. All the consultants are not the same. But how do we know that which one should we trust?

      2. Dear gowri, —-read and answer my queries.

        Its true that all consultancies r not the same. There are few, like ur's, "all good" consultancies among 100's. I don't blame you in particular. I suggest you to do a field examination and find out a way to pick up the very best consultancies, like ur's, among many.

        90% of agents try their level best to register a student by sweet talk (most of them match the student type u described in ur 1st point).

        Y Shouldn't I say this,"If u r able to register such dumb students with u, is it not ur problem to deal with them".

        If u r not one of those worthless agents, y do you have dumb students………… Don't u do sweet talks and trap them? I think it is a basic business strategy. Yet u ppl create a scenario tht u r doin some extra good 4m ur pocket.

        u could have explained them abt their situation first so tht they wud hav listened to u like a goat(Ur agency has got some good exp).

        How Could u support this statement?

        "Look at what is really important for you-decide,draw up a list and then do your homework matching your performance with the university"………

        *What is ur role then? U will give the list of univ and fillout applications!*

        Y shud anyone pay thousands for such a simple work.

        How would u support this statement?

        "Go out where one one went before and open up a new world for yourself"

        It sounds like u r forcing a particular list of univ on students irrespective their choice. Also, it sounds like you don't have a complete knowledge abt all the possible univ abroad.(yet u mention 3o yrs exp)

        @HSB members: The thing which cud influence admission committee the most is ur sop. Not the consultants. They will only guide you. Join a consultancy only if ur schedule is very tight or u dont have internet facility in ur village.

        @Gowri: ppl r paying you thousands for the little work u do. So, you should be ready to clarify their doubts. Instead u r showing us the other side of fence. Else, it would be a free loading job.

        Thanking you,

        No offense,

        HSB reader.

        1. Rightly said Munna, @ all aspirants you all are Engineer and you want to study abroad

          Answer this question did you in the college paid any one for writing your assignment;if you did you need Consultancies for writing your SOP else use your Engineering skills remember what you had learned (I'm talking about what you had Learned not studied in the Engineering) IF you in the past needed to answer any question in the assignment efficiently you looked for many example answers before answering main question(of course this applies to Eggheads); others aspirants did what regulars do in Engineering

          If you live in Village and do not have Internet facility and you have to travel 25 KM on foot for Internet sure join consultancy;but as an engineer you might have spended more times downloading movies,songs and chatting on yahoo or hooking your self on Facebook than studying; now good use of Facebook is , you can contact the interested university students related to your course about curriculum;acceptance rate or regarding Financial aid believe me Current stuents tell you whats ok and whats not ok at the university;

          Spend Money wisely, because money is Liquid and a fool would never able to transfer liquid from one bottle to another without spilling a major portion of money

  4. Thanks for your valuable comment HSB!
    But the thing is, so definitely, regarding admission, we will be affected to some extent when comparing to students admitted through consultansies, eventhough when we have profiles similar to them. Correct?

  5. Educational Consultancies, whether they are in India or U.S.A. have to be good in delivering the job entrusted to them. They have to ensure that they are not there only to make quick money.
    They must be registered with the Authorities so that some kind of accountability
    & monitoring be exercised on them.
    If they deliver their positive results to the Student Community they can be justified in charging a reasonable fee. After all they too have to meet their business expenses. In short they do act as Catalytic Agents…if they are not fake
    and know thei job well.

  6. Hi HSB members
    I am aspiring for MS in US, would be hopefully joining fall session.
    The post mentioned one line that ‘…it depends how good the company service is’. When I started aspiring for MS I had no idea about number of steps involved. I went over 5-6 educational companies as I had nobody to guide. When meeting concentrate how practical they are (bad companies won’t mind making lofty promises!), judge them, ask for universities recommend by them for some score (give them possible score range), ask around for their reputation, take a friend who’s good with judging people. Post on local blogs to check reputation as well. Beware if some agent stresses on particular universities. While looking for these, I had all kinda experiences (fake, bad and good companies). If no one is there to guide you, choose your coaching/counselor as cautiously as you would choose your university. One bad decision might land you in totally different university.
    (I am not trying to scare you but presenting the ground reality how this business is)
    Post if you have any questions, may be I could help you friends.
    Good luck!

    Regards

  7. Great, I like the invention brought by the Happy School. please my comment is that kudos to you people and great job, but what about the less privilege can they participate in this US Admission?

  8. Dear Sir,

    Your intention for the article is good and best for students to understand to judge the agents in better way.

    Getting paid from any University is not question as everybody here for Business. Top 10 University from any country never pay anything to any agents but at the same time, if student insist for any such university, agent should guide him in proper way by giving them details of web site, admission criteria, tuition cost etc.

    Question arise when agent misguide the students for misleading advt, misleading information, confirmation of visa of any country etc. These kind of activities done by some agents but student has to be careful for selecting any agent by way of reference, Uni feed-back, web site etc.

    There is not a problem arise from agents side only. In India, I have heard about some agents who ask for the money even for confirm I-20 (so called small or un-known Uni) and once student get the visa; they charge in 6-7 figure as agency charge. Here, I would like to mention that they get such STUDENTS also.

    If any comments or feed-back from student or agent or yourself, most welcome.

    Warm regards,

    Rajesh Patel

    1. Rajesh, perfectly said– I guess the idea of article is that agents try to mis-guide students. Everyone want’s to earn and is here to do business but engaging into unethical things is not preferred.

      Students also share the equal responsibility for the growth of these type of agents who engage in mis-guiding. Agents charge for I-20 because students are careless, pay the charges and don’t question the motive of agent, and also avoid doing some basic research online. Agents cannot be blamed completely. Everyone has to share the responsibility.

  9. My story goes like this:

    I've met a consultancy company namely "STEP TO ABROAD".

    My case was not the same as it will/has/had with other ones. Mine guaranteed an I-20 (Which he failed as I've applied only for TAMU). My application rejected due to late delivery of documents which was not my fault. I contacted TAMU a day back and am waiting for their reply as it was Saturday & Sunday.

    Here's the deal with my agent:

    I must only pay him Rs. 30,000/- only if he gets me an I-20 from the university that "I WANT"(Not the one he chooses)… It was pretty simple. But, as of now he was not able to work with my application well and my application being REJECTED, I'm going to work on it on my own and get and I-20 for sure… And as far as I'm concerned, he has no deals with TAMU(To the best of my knowledge!).

    How cool was that… I won't pay him anything now and start working on my own on my APPLICATION and tell them the genuine reason that there was a problem with the mail delivery system and that I've posted my application credentials well before in time. 😀 That's it. But I'm sad that this happened after all the pain I've taken!! 🙁

  10. well, I recently applied through a consultancy in hyderabad… they charge just 4000/- for the services excluding application fee and courier charges to the univ’s
    I found that even though they do have tie-ups with the univ’s… its not they send people to that univ only but instead they suggest which univ’s are best for the course ur applying for… im very happy with their services and the kind of attention and pains they take to guarantee that ur happy with the univ… furthermore. some people dont want to use the services of a consultancy but for me since i started applying late and didnt know much about how to organize the application materials, i needed their help. Some people who have the guidance of their friends or seniors who have already applied could actually go ahead without wasting money on them but for me it made things simpler…

  11. then if we have low gre and toefl also we can get admission in universities through theses agents

  12. The above article should be read in broader perspective. One should seriously feel this to be equally true with many education institutions like colleges and universities all over the world. Whether they directly market or market through agents, as it is true with every service and commodity that exist in the market with education as no exception, all marketing promises will never be fulfilled and no service or commodity will have all satisfied customers. Cultural variations and language sophistication is definitely adding more ambiguity to this marketing.

    If education is considered purely noble and not commercial, then historically why entry requirements and fees for similar courses vary across the globe for every university and why ‘privileged few’ gets access to good education despite of their poor performance in academics. If all others are not making money, why the examination fees for exams like TOEFL or IELTS are so high and why certain consular posts increase their visa fees in regular intervals?

    In my opinion, it all depends on how we look at this issue. I think we all must hold a broader view to discuss trivial topics like this exposing the involvement and commercialization of each of the elements rather than making the agent community solely responsible for the entire image credit. The success and contribution of the agent community to the education industry cannot be just denied because of few dissatisfied customers or few agents who abuse the policies and provide misleading information. Surely understandable by drawing parallels, the entire doctor community or lawyer community cannot be blamed just because the media exposed few doctors or lawyers abusing the profession.

    I wish the aspiring students a great success and a bright career and want them to choose right agents if they are preferring one.

  13. One of my friend works in a foreign education consultancy and what HSB said is correct that selected US Universities have tie up with these agents and agents are paid based on number of students they send. And agents normally send profile to those – not so good institutes- where getting an admission is easy and no big deal. It’s a win – win- win benefit for Student – University and Agent- but loss for student, once after reaching university he/she realizes that they have ended up at wrong place.

    And what Vaibhav said is perfect, guys take some pain and efforts to do some research before you apply and may whatever- don’t trust the words of agents as if they are God and their words are final. Always question them and their intentions. You are paying them so you have right to question them and don’t get influenced by their sweet talk.

    And if possible avoid hiring services of these agents.

    Thanks

  14. hi hsb…'

    yu ar really awesome.. yu ar usefull a lot

    im also going through a consutancy

    they charge me 50000 .. this inludes application charge for 6 univ and also courier charges for sending my documents for the same…

    they ha assured me admission

    1. Hi Siva?

      You have not mentioned as to where you are placed?

      You must have negotiated with the Consultants.

      The charges for the kind of service they have promised should not be more than 2000/-. unless of-course they are coaching you for GRE & toefl.

      1. courier charge for 1 univ wil be like 1200, and application charge will be around 50-60 $ … so for six univ it comes around 21000 (approx) … Now Decide urself

      2. @ Sumant Kapoor: Hi Brother Could you please tell me how you know that It is only 2000/- for that kind of service.

  15. Hi HSB Friends!!!
    Hi i have given GRE(1320) and TOEFL(88).I m going toapply for MS in pharmacy for fall 2011.My agent is advising me to apply to private universities.According to them my profile does not match to apply in public uni.I m confused bcoz few of my seniors were insisting me to apply in public uni.So plz advice me.
    Thanks

    1. Dear Krupa, I have frnds with profile same as yours in pub uni'v. A gre score of 1300+, 70+ acads and a toefl around 90 will safely land you in a public univ's ranking around 40's and 50's (check usnews for ranking).

      Your agent, like any other, is obviously fooling you. I lost my chance in spring 2011 intake bcoz of errors done by consultants. Do not believe a consultant blindly. They will always look 4 the profit by dumping u in their tie up univ.

      U'r consultant might have prepared a list of notsogood univ which might contain LIU, Farleigh dickinson etc….. Chek d univ b4 u apply.

      Also, checkout public Vs Private topic in this blog.

      ** We rarely see pharmacy institutes having tie ups with consultants.

      Do ur own research on univ.

  16. Hi Hsb

    I have applied to 5 universities in USA through a consultancy they have charged 39,000 for application and courier charge and they have assured that i will get in to one those university.

  17. Hi HSB and HSB fans,

    I contacted a consultancy called Impel Overseas where they said that they are going to charge Rs 9,000. But they said that they are going to give 2 lists of universities as safe and reachable one’s through which I have to select they are going to give the two lists based on our profile and we could select the universities we want and only the courier and application charges are to be paid extra by us except the 9,000Rs paid for them as their charge, Do you think that I am going with a wrong consultancy.

    Waiting for replies.

    1. I have register in impel a month ago, they gave me some list of university and asked me to select among them but i had my own list and gave them for application process. They din force me to select from their list, use them as just a guide dnt depend fully on them.

    2. And Ya one more thing they clear my doubts, like when should i take my GRE if I need to get a scholarship or any sort of things and they never hesitated to do that and They never call me unnecessarily just to ask when I am going to register to their consultancy. But they do clear all my doubt’s about anything I ask even a silly doubt(for them but may be eating my head from long time).

    3. Dear if you do not have the capability of trusting people you have met and spent time with I guess you dont deserve to go to a foreign country because you are heading for something you have not even seen

  18. I am in 2nd yr of Computer Engg(B.E.) from mumbai. I am also interested in studying in usa for MS and I follow posts of HSB. I am doing research(inquiry) about many such agents and would like to share my experiences. Firstly, social networking is the best way to get aware of such agencies through students. If agent is not fraud, then it might have some proof showing that it is genuine like: ISO certification, registration with ukba(in case of uk) etc. Some of the genuine agencies are: Geebee, Edwise, Jamboree etc.. Just 2 days ago I went to an agency called F.A.C.T. who claims that it has sent 1000s of students to US and that too 85% of students holding scholarships(obviously might have some tie-ups). But in that, they ask you to pay fees of 25,500/- within which they will do all your stuff like SOP, Recco, Application to uni., GRE/TOEFL preparation as well. For more info. about FACT goto: http://www.gurukulonweb.com Most important thing I have personally checked their ISO certificate. I guess this should be helpful to find out whether an agency/agent is genuine or not.

    If anybody knows anything about the above mentioned agencies and would like share to some info. please, u are welcome.

  19. Hi HSB

    I am going to have my gre exam on 2nd may and i am going to apply for JAN intake 2012 .Can u plz suggest me the appropriate time for applying in 2011 ? Is aug-sept , 2011 appropriate time to aplly for visas (ie after gettin the admissions confirmed) ? .. I am worried just because i came to know that there is a specific quota of visas for a particular intake .. so just want to know the appropriate time of application . Waiting for a reply.

  20. can u suggest me some engineering graduate universities (for Masters) with average or low tuition fee and high scholarships in US

  21. Recently one of my friend told me that the consultancies actually have tie up with few universities where they get paid for sending a student. Here what i was told was that, the money that they paying the consultancies is usually the scholarship fee which actually the student should have got , is it true??? i may be wrong but since i heard this i just put forward….

  22. dear HSB

    I've taken up a renowned counselor who's helping me with the applications. They charged me Rs. 20,000 for applying to 6 universities and visa procedures and the package doesn't include application fee of all universities and courier fee.. i'm yet to receive any confirmation from the universities. Although i've not found them of much help coz what all they've done till now, i might have done it on my own…

  23. Please suggest me best universities for doing MS.I completed my Btech in civil engineering in 2010.

  24. dear this industry has been existing even before you were born and believe me you too in a way are a consultant. You may not be promoting X but you do enforce your views and perception and make your articles interesting so that people log in and get addicted. I am currently working with an NGO but for past ten years I have assisted close to 3000 students and each one of them has thanked me and till day remember me and love me and they repeatedly approach me for guidance. Just because you want to sound like GOD dont show the others down try and prove you are the best. I am a fan of your but you disappoint me this time. for details kindly contact me because I have been a consultant for 10 long years and I am proud of it.

    1. 1) No one is trying to be GOD here. That's something you have assumed. Everyone has right to give their opinion, just like your comment and I have posted mine about Agents here.

      2) I have just posted 2 TRUE Facts about agents. Can you deny deny any of the 2 facts?

      3) Nothing controversial is discussed in the above post about agents.

      4) As with any business there are companies/people who try to cheat and game the system. Which can be seen from TriValley and other comments below. If students thank you for the service you have provided, then its good for you.

  25. DON'T FOLLOW BLINDLY WHAT CONSULTANT SAID .I REQUEST TO TELL PLEASE REVIEW YOUR ADMISSIONS IN UNIVERSITES BY CHECKING DIRECTLY THEIR WEBSITES AND STUDENTS WHICH IS CORRECT OR NOT

  26. I am the Director of International Students and Scholar Services at a U. S. college. NO U. S. COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY REQUIRES YOU TO USE AN AGENT. The reason we employ agents ia that they can help students to understand and prepare then necessary information to apply to our school. But if a student thinking of our college reads our website carefully, all the critical information is there. And we get many emails each week from students seeking more details. My advice is to select an agent carefully based on how much help they will give you — and how much help you need — to apply. RARELY they will also be able to offer you a small scholarship — the colleges sometimes (we do NOT) give this ability to the agent to help the agent to recruit students for the school. But most scholarships are based on YOU, and a quick email to the school can often tell you if you are eligible for anything.

    Dr. Ward Deutschman

    Dowling College

  27. i completed my b.pharmacy in sep2010 . i wanna do m.s in pharmacy in usa . my gre score is 1180(v-450, q-730). my toefl score is 85. my b.pharmacy aggregate is 68% with one backlog. i am doing my own research., but please suggest me some good universities of my profile range which wil helpful to ease mywork.

    THANK YOU

    1. with ur profile it is very difficult to get into pharmacology, toxicology and pharmaceutics. (m8t get if ur SOP, research and reco’s are good). Do not take chances. I suggest u 2 retake GRE and toefl becoz ur % is low. A 100 point increment in gre and a 10 point increment in toefl m8t help u.

  28. But the fact is that there are some very genuine experienced consultants who get exactly what you want… We have one in Cochin, Global Education (www.globaledu.in) If your priority is ranking they focus on ranking, it is funding…they focus on funding… my priority was a decent rated university with some funding, they got me one with out of state tuition fee waiver… My friend wanted TOP 20 and they got him top 20 in spite of the fat that his score was not better than mine.. The negative side is there fees are bit in the higher side 50k for 5 university package… But in my experience it was really worth. They had another package for 5K..but only those universities pays them recruitment fees…

  29. i got my gre 810 and my toefl 90 . . i m planning to apply for spring semester in usa . . could you plz suggest me some universities .

      1. Well thats a good idea to improve the score, but if you want to get a MS admission in Maths, let me know I have some connections….

  30. The basic method for most consultants is that they use to charge for a package (like 5 universities application can cost you 38000 – 50000). And they would tell us the requirements for the course that we have to take(like GRE, GMAT, TOEFL). You will get the universities according to your score from them. Virtually, you can apply to any university if you want (even Harvard), they pay your application fee (but you must have paid package cost mentioned above). normally, the consultants will give you a list of universities that you can select (you can also opt your choices). But, they have one university of the consultant’s choice ‘according to  your credentials’ that you cannot opt against. So at the end of the day, you will be definitely getting admission from consultant’s choice university, even if you did not get any admit from the other 4 you applied. So that way, they guarantee admission (just admission no one can guarantee your visa). Nowadays, most consultants is giving money back guarantee as they are sure that you will be getting admission to their ally university. For some extreme poor credential cases, they won’t guarantee money back.

    This package cost they charge may not include gre application and score reporting charges, VISA MRV, SEVIS etc., they just apply and courier our applications (of course you don’t have to pay the college application fee). They would even provide counseling for VISA.

    So question to our readers!
    5 college application can cost us Rs. 20000, but you will be paying the consultant nearly double. Is it worth? If you can do ‘some homework’ with the help of HSB and all the other forums of course, you  will be saving a lot of money. 🙂

  31. Its really heartening to see that students are now more aware of the whole process including how to select a consultant. Ofcourse i also see only one sided view wrt consultancies and how they exist only to make money etc, etc.

    I am an educational consultant and let me add without hesitation that my organizationis based in hyderabad. We have been in this business for eleven long years . We send about 1000 students every year . We do not guarantee admits, we do not advertise . We have only relied on word of mouth marketing.well it has worked wonders for us and for our students. I am not claiming that we have satisfied each and every student . Of course all our students have received admits. Some have not received visas which is not in our hands unfortunately.

    I am sorry to say but students get more carried away by talkong to their seniors , friends and relatives who are in the US. When we ask students not to fake documents for the applications especially the financial documents , 90% of them say that their seniors have done the same thing. When we tell students that do not indulge in getting toefl written by others, we hear the same story. Basically the attitude is that when others are not caught then i will also not be caught . Unfortunately this is not going to be the case anymore.

    Students …you have to be prudent, try and think on your own. Use consultants as sounding board , as a mentor, rather than means to just enter a foreign country. Try not be desperate . The minute you show desperation then you can be taken for a ride. The idea is not throw money to a consultant and get things done. The idea is also to learn from the process so that you benefit at the end of the process. If you search hard i am sure you will find decently good consultants even in Hyderabad!

  32. Hey Guys/Gals,

    I regularly follow this blog but after reading I was really tempted to post some of my thoughts. I have been in US for the past 5 years and when I applied to US I did every thing from top to bottom by myself. US system ( visa and education ) is designed in such a way that you can do things your self. If you dont know anything then there is a great gift to mankind from Larry Page i.e. google. Google anything you want to know about for example this blog is really helpful. I filled my visa form all by myself sitting in an internet cafe for hours figuring out things. In my time we used to fill 3 forms instead of one.
    You should use the money that you plan to spend on consultant , to apply to some more univs or donate it to some charitable trust or much better give it to me 😛 ( just kidding ). The whole point is that you are capable enough of doing it. I bang my fist and say that no consultant can guarantee you any aid. If they then do it by following some sort of trend but that is also successful every time. This I filled the visa application for my parents and I did all my self. I was pretty simple. I asked my Dad just for the heck of it to try to ask a consultant that how much they charge. To my surprise they are charging close to 1000 INR. I think I should come back to India and open a consultancy myself. What say guys ?
    To all US aspirants I would suggest sit down and do some research about which univ to apply and all. Post your doubts and hesitations in this blog. Then there are 1000 other blogs also and websites too which you people can refer. So best of luck for your future and stay away from consultant.

  33. Hello friends . . !! I got 74% in B.tech C.S.E and i am looking forward to study Masters (fall 2013 intake) in a very good university in USA. I am taking the G.R.E exam in the August,2012. I have got an internship from iCarnegie (C.S.E dept. of C.M.U) and also a membership in the Computer Society of India(C.S.I). I even know german language. Also planning to learn spanish. Would these things be of any help in my admission process in the best school i could possibly get into??

    I am dreaming of getting an I-20 from top 20 universities. Can anyone suggest me the best universities for Computer Science in top 20 ?? And i also wanna know if i can have my dream come true ?? I also need guidance in the process of contacting the professors of my dream universities. And also need suggestions about taking help from a consultancy. .

    HOPING TO GET SOME SPEEDY HELPING REPLY. . . 🙂

    THANK YOU. . !!

    1. Hey Karthik,

      Here is my two cents. You must understand that top 20 univs look into a lot of things I will list them one by one:

      1) From which school you have done your undergrad (reputation IITs etc)

      2) Your undergrad % ( which in your case is little bit above average)

      3) Your GRE score ( which you have not taken yet)

      4) SOP

      5) Research experience as an undergrad

      I am not trying to discourage you but you have to realistic. If you can impress some of the profs in top 20s who is ready to push your app forward then there are chances. I have seen cases people from bottom rung univs getting into Yale. But they had very high GRE and very good acads, but ended up paying 30 lakhs per year. If you have that kind of money then you may try.Hope this helps.

      Anirvan

  34. hi….
    Yesterday i took gre and pretty disappointed by score of 291[out of 340 revised one].I opted for university of south alabama.I am not sure that my score will be accepted.If i want to join in that university,is there any situation to pay donation to get admitted into that university.please let me know.Thanking you…….

  35. Hello Students!

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