“Student Insight: Why Students Use Agents” focuses on how students around the world view education agents when pursuing overseas study, and how expectations for services vary from region to region
Why do international students use education agents when making the decision to study overseas? What are the services they seek and what are the informational needs that are currently going unmet? The boom in international higher education has prompted increased demand for education agents, and the nature of that demand is studied in a report by Education Intelligence, the British Council’s global service.
Student Insight: Why Students Use Agents – Demand and Supply examines the global use of education agents through the perspective of prospective students who seek professional advice and guidance when considering overseas study. Without a doubt, the role of agents is controversial -- some in the international education sector view agents as neutral advisors while others see them as profit-seeking middlemen. However, despite the pros and cons, there is value in simply understanding the geographic nuances behind what is being mistakenly viewed as a monolithic trend.
“No matter the controversy, the fact that education agents have become a global industry is undeniable,” says Elizabeth Shepherd, Research Manager at Education Intelligence and author of the report. “We must step away from the debate and understand how differently prospective students and their parents view agents, depending on where in the world they live.”
Some highlights from Student Insight: Why Students Use Agents:
· Due to a lack of reliable internet access, African students may pursue an agent’s services simply to get information
· In South Asia, the service most sought after from agents is information on obtaining a visa
· Europe shows the lowest percentage of respondents who might use agents, likely due to relative standardization of education environment
· In China, foundation course and English language students are more likely to use agents
· Indian students who have previously studied overseas are less likely to use an education agent
· Students interviewed in Beijing viewed agents as responsible and quick to react
· In Guangzhou, students interviewed said agents did not provide adequate information on the visa application process
STUDENT INSIGHT is a series of research reports produced by Education Intelligence which provides an unprecedented look into the process of a student’s decision-making based on data collected from 130,000 prospective student survey responses around the world over the past four years.
Student Insight: Agents, as well country-specific reports, are available for purchase via the Education Intelligence website at: http://ihe.britishcouncil.org/.