Following blog post was posted as a comment by Radhika Jalan at Truth About US Admission Agents. Her experience is a learning lessons for students who are using Consultant for applying for admission to U.S. Universities. There’s absolutely no need to apply for admission via Admission Agents. Several blog posts have been published here comparing the advantages of self-application to U.S. Universities.
I wish to post my experiences of applying to U.S. for a PhD (I did it with the help of my uncle who is experienced in this field) and at the same time I want to share the experiences of a close friend who visited a very famous U.S. admission consulting agency which has its franchise all over the country.
I was initially confused as to whether I should take some classes for my GRE and TOEFL, but fortunately I knew my uncle is great with this so I visited him and got trained. I secured a 1460 in GRE and 106 in TOEFL.
What I understood in this entire process of GRE and TOEFL preparation is that no amount of classes can help.
There are very good study materials and online sites which are of greater help. At the same time this close friend of mine joined a GRE preparation class by paying 30,000 Indian Rupees.
They offered her only fixed number of classes and their study material which I borrowed from her and I realized that it was basically copied from past GRE test papers which is anyway available otherwise. Her queries were dealt with but not thoroughly.
The only advantage she had was to give KAPLAN and other Online tests. But, those are anyway available at American Libraries in cities like Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai.
U.S. College Application Shortlisting
Now comes the application and shortlisting. I was encouraged by my uncle to apply to top ranking universities considering my GRE scores.
However, my friend who had scored almost similarly was discouraged by this educational consultant to do so.
She had to pay another 30,000 rupees to these admission consultant. The services offered by them are as follows:
Helping in writing Statement of Purpose
- Shortlisting universities (6 Universities)
- Help in filling up applications
- Mailing the application package
Each extra application done with their help would be charged additionally.
The universities they shortlisted for her were all poorly ranked (which I guess explains that they get commissions from these universities). From her side she applied to some of the good universities and is now a graduate student in one of those.
The educational consultant made almost no effort to help her in the SOP. It was not edited even 10% and still had sentence construction errors even after having gone through the hands of a “professional editor”. They made no efforts to modify her CV. Basically, her money spent was a total waste and was of no help to her.
One of my present batch mates at Graduate school also consulted the same Admission consultants at another city in India and she had similar experiences. I am sure most of you all can guess which consultant am I talking about.
My advice to all future applicants, please follow guidelines online, read blogs and application process would be much simpler. So will the VISA process be.
These consultants make it sound difficult and intimidate naive students.
It isn’t so actually. It just requires some additional hard work from our side rather than depending on these consultants and wasting our parents money.
Fact or Fiction?
The universities they shortlisted for her were all poorly ranked ( which I guess explains that they get commissions from these universities).
Exactly, for the same reason, U.S. Universities are reluctant to work with US Admission Agents (or Student Recruiting Agents).
Universities can set and establish strict guidelines for education agent for recruiting students, but enforcing them is difficult.
- Students don’t know the list of schools agents have commission based agreement.
- Universities don’t know how admission consulting was provided to students.
Have you visited any education agent recently, what was your experience like? I’m sure several HSB readers are working with agent admission. How would you rate your experience?
Series of Articles About Admission Agents:
- Part 1: Truth About US College Admission Agents and Their Business Model
- Part 2: US College Admission Agents Intimidate Naive Students To Make a Quick Buck
- Part 3: True Story: Agent: Pay $5000 or You Can’t Study in the U.S.
- Part 4: Students Using Admission Agents In USA Are Academically Unprepared (Research)
- Part 5: The Role of Consultancies in the Admission Process