Using an Education Agent
Education agents assist international students to secure a place in an Australian school. While institutions can enrol students directly, they also work with the global student agent network. You may choose to use an agent (also known as a student counsellor, academic adviser, or student recruiter) in your home country, or one based in Australia, to guide you through the process of choosing a school and enrolling.
Education agents help reduce the stress of choosing a school in another country. Understanding your options, with someone who speaks your language, can be very reassuring. It is important through that that your agent is knowledgeable, up-to-date on student visa and curriculum changes, and has your best interest at heart. We hear stories of students who arrive for their first day of class to find out that the school has never heard of them. The education agent industry can attract unethical people, so do your research to make sure you are working with a good agent! In this section, we provide guidance on using agents. Our education partner, Drake Student Recruitment, can assist you with the enrolment process 100% free of charge.
Benefits of using an education agent
A good education agent will:
- conduct an interview to understand your needs and goals
- make suggestions for the best institutions and programs to help you reach your goals
- assist you to collect all of the documents you will need for your application
- guide you through the application process
- guide you through the visa process once you have been accepted by an institution
- help you prepare for the move and your arrival in Australia
- organisation of airport pick-up and accommodation (depends on the agent)
- assistance in finding a job (specialised agents)
How education agents operate
When working with an agent, is very important to understand how the agent makes money. You will find that most agents offer counselling and the enrolment process free of charge. You may or may not be charged for any application fees that arise such as the school assessment (the schools charge the agent for this service). You will most likely be charged for the visa application fee which is paid to the government of Australia.
How an agent gets paid
So how does an education agent make money? Education agents are extremely important to institutions because they help schools find and process international students. In exchange for the hard work an agent does to counsel and assist students, the institution pays a commission to be agent. This commission is generally a small portion of your tuition fees. This does not affect the amount of tuition you pay the school - that will not change.
For this reason, it is extremely important that your agent offers a choice of schools that suit your needs, and that you are picking the best one. Of course, there will be occasions where just 1 institution offers the program you want, or that there is only 1 institution you would like to attend. However, for almost all other situations you should expect your agent to suggest a minimum of 2-3 institutions. The choice may be based on price (cheapest to most expensive), different curriculums, or reputation. If your agent is only offering 1 institution - be careful! In this case, you may want to get a second opinion from another education agent. Find out how our partner Drake will help you with your international education in Australia.
Best agent location – in your home country or in Australia?
Should you use an agent in your country, or one based in Australia? There are benefits and drawbacks to each option.
Using an education agent based in your country
When using an agent in your country, you are dealing with somebody who is local and understand your education system. This person should also be very knowledgeable about visas for nationals of your country. However, once you move to Australia, you often lose contact with your education agent, and have no further benefit from the service.
Some overseas agents work with ’sub-agents’ who are based in Australia. If this is the case, you should have representation when you arrive. For the most part, your institution will assist you with any problems you may have, but it helps if you have your agent nearby to assist with any unexpected issues.
An education agent based in Australia
When using an education agent located in Australia, you have representation when you arrive, and can expect very good relationships with, and knowledge about, Australian education providers.
Even though you are overseas, it is very easy to work with an Australian-based agent. The interview process can take place over the phone or skype, and all the paperwork and applications can be processed via email. Your agent can assist with airport pickup, accommodation, and in some cases even help you get a job while you are studying. Learn more about working while you are a student in Australia.
Should like to work with an education agent based in Australia, please contact us through this form.
How do I know if an agent is knowledgeable?
The migration agent system is regulated by the Australian government. Registered migration agents can counsel on migration visas, student visas, or both. If you are working with a migration agent who is also a student agent, we suggest you use one who is registered with the Office of the MARA to ensure they are up-to-date on visa rules. In addition, you can also find out whether a night and overseas agent has been banned from working in migration.
PLEASE NOTE: an agent does not have to be registered with the Office of the MARA, especially if they are proceeds, but we suggest you look for an agent in your country was completed their registration. Annual online courses ensure they are up-to-date on visa rules.
At this time, the Australian government does not regulate education agents. However, the PIER Education Agent Training Course ensures an agent understands student visas and regulation, especially if you are working with an education agent in your country. The qualification is not mandatory, but it can be a good indication of the quality of the agent. See if your agent has completed the PIER qualification.
When choosing an agent we also suggest you ask for references. If other students are happy with the service, chances are you will be as well.
If you would like to work with our preferred partner education agent based in Australia, please contact them.