Students who are planning to study abroad may have a lot of questions regarding the new education system, study environment and many other things. And this is where overseas education consultants come in handy.
Overseas education counseling centers work to give students a clear view of the options that are best for them. With their guidance, students can choose which university they want to apply to and how to proceed with the application process.
Some overseas education consultants also provide end-to-end solutions for students, such as currency exchange, accommodation, study abroad insurance, visa processing and airfare. These consulting companies play an important role, helping those in need find the answers to the above questions in the fastest and most appropriate way.
Commissions from the universities
One of the main sources of income for overseas education counseling companies is commissions from foreign universities.
When a student registers and officially receives an admission letter from a university through the center’s consultation, a commission will be charged on each successful application. Success here will be based on the following criteria:
- Student successfully enrolls in the university
- Completed payment of school fees (at least one semester or one academic year)
- Student’s Visa application is approved by the Consulate/Embassy.
Usually, for the education system in the US, UK and Australia, overseas education counseling centers have signed cooperation contracts with universities, either in the form of partnerships or through an authorized representative in Vietnam. As a result, the cost of counseling for students is often low, while tuition and enrollment fees will be high.
As for European universities, typically Germany and Finland, the cost of counseling for students will be high, while the admission fee is usually low or free. This leads to the consulting centers making money by the upselling techniques listed below.
Selling foreign language learning courses
First and foremost, students need to know the language before enrolling in a foreign school. Therefore, counseling centers do not simply sell consulting packages, but will often offer additional academic learning packages. The most typical examples are the IELTS test preparation packages (for countries requiring English proficiency), DELF or DALF (French proficiency diplomas).
In addition, depending on the country and school, students also need to take the SAT exam — entrance exam for university admissions in the US and some European schools, or GMAT exam — examination to assess academic ability for graduate admission.
When students buy these exam preparation packages along with consulting packages, the fee will be reduced. This can be seen as an upselling technique of overseas education counseling centers.
In the Vietnamese market, IDP is not only an international educational organization that organizes the IELTS exam, but also has its own overseas education counseling center. When registering for a consultation with IDP, students have the opportunity to receive preferential packages to support IELTS exam fees and test preparation programs.
Small and medium-sized centers in Vietnam like Deow or Ivy Prep also apply offers that come with academic courses for students who register for study abroad consultation.
Commissions from translation companies
In the paperwork processing, all the required documents need to be translated into the language of the country you’re aiming to study there, so the international education counseling center will link with a translation center to help you with the process.
The counseling center then will receive a commission fee of 5-10% per set from the translation company when the work is done.
To help you have a clearer idea, during the enrollment season, the consultancy center could represent around 100 applications and the average translation fee for each set of documents is 5 million VND. So with the commission of 5% from the translation services, the center will earn 25 million VND in total.
Visa extension service fee
One more utterly important issue to bear in mind when you study abroad is to extend your student visa before the current one expires. For example, for students studying in the U.S, their visa may be eligible for 12 months, thereby they must fly back to Vietnam once a year to renew it.
Considering that inconvenience and the hassle of administrative procedures, many parents and students entrust the international education counseling center to assist them with visa extension, which is one of their additional services.
Education is a type of business trading knowledge, and so is an overseas education consultancy service. This business not only relies on cooperation with universities, translation centers and additional services, but also requires a team of consultants with in-depth knowledge to support the students.
You could return a defective product and buy a new one, but that’s not the case for your education, your dreams and future. So, before starting your overseas education journey with any consultancy company, make sure you do all the necessary research to find out what services you need.
Besides, ask other international students who used the consultancy service in the past and at the present for more information. This would provide you with a more objective look into which overseas education counseling center is the best fit for you.
Translated by Thao Van and Bich Tram