Should You Use a University Agency to Apply to Universities?
28 August, 2023
6 mins read
Starting off your study abroad journey can be tough, albeit exciting. There is always the thrill of trying something new, embarking on new adventures, and unlocking new experiences. However, this comes hand in hand with the anxiety of choosing a country to go to, applying to a university, filling out paperwork, handling finances, and finding accommodation. All these worries are normal and can be thoroughly handled and navigated through, starting with choosing a university.
While searching for an opportunity to study abroad, there are two ways to apply to your chosen university. You can either self-apply to the university through the university website or use an education agency to help you through the application process. The two options might seem appealing to you as you start a new journey in your life, but the question remains: which one is better? Here is a breakdown of both options to help you choose between them!
To help you better choose which way you’re going to apply to your dream university, let’s first try to understand what a university agency is and how using one can help you secure a spot in your programme of choice!
What is A University Agency?
A university agency, simply put, is a middleman. University agents basically help students enrol at their desired schools, colleges, and universities and in turn, earn a certain amount of money as commission from the educational institution for the leads or enrollments they deliver.
Pros of Using an Agency
Now that you know what an agency is, what good would it do you to use one? Here are the pros we can think of off the top of our heads!
Helping you Make the Right Decision
With the multiple options available around the world, the process of applying to university is now more confusing than ever, especially if you are not sure which country you wish to study in. Your agent can help you narrow down your choices by converting your grades to match the systems of different countries and selecting the best option for you. Additionally, agents will also help you narrow down the universities in a specific country and help you choose the programme that best aligns with your goals and interests.
Experience on Your Side
When you choose to apply through a university agency, you are guaranteed to have experience on your side. Almost all education agents have close relationships with most universities. Also, they are familiar with the difficulties most students experience while choosing their majors, so they can guide you towards the perfect choice to match your dreams. Therefore, if you decide to apply through an agency, clearly state your expectations while studying abroad. Things like what type of life you wish to live abroad, your interests and your goals are essential to guide your agent the right way.
Also, keep in mind that your advisor can only help you apply to universities that fit with your grades and language abilities, so ensure you satisfy the basic requirements for your chosen university before you ask your consultant to help you apply to this university. Due to their close relationship with universities, agents can also help you negotiate with the university if you do not like your course of choice so you can transfer to a different course. Some education agencies also provide continuous support while you are studying, so they’ll accompany you along the way.
Providing You with Visa Support
If you are travelling abroad for the first time, you probably never applied for a visa; experienced education agencies can help with your visa application. Education agencies are always involved in everything related to student life, including any change to visa policies in most countries. Ask the agency for interview tips before you head to your visa interview; most of the time, they know all about the questions you could get asked and will even prep you with mock interviews beforehand.
Offering Accommodation Support
Agencies have a variety of contacts when it comes to helping students, including accommodation marketplaces like Casita, which means they always have ways to reach out to experts who can get you a room wherever you are heading. Your agent is not a magician, though. So if you only have a couple of weeks till your start date, chances are you are too late to book the perfect student accommodation. Most accommodations are booked early by students already in the country, so ensure you ask your agent for help way in advance to get the perfect room.
Cons of Using an Agency
While it might seem like using an agency is the answer to all your problems, it goes without saying that there might be hiccups along the way and a couple of drawbacks that make people consider applying directly to a university. The most notable drawback is money. While using an agency saves you a lot of time and hassle that you’d otherwise be spending on research and such, it does cost you quite a bit of money. Eventually, it all comes down to whether or not you think it’s worth it at the end of the day!
Applying Directly to a University
If you decide that an agency isn’t it for you, don’t worry, you can still apply on your own! Almost all universities have their own websites through which you can browse through all the requirements and the offered programmes and fields of study and choose the one you wish to apply for. The process might sound like a lot, costing you quite a bit of research, time, and energy, but there are definitely positives to applying on your own.
Here are some guides to follow if you are applying on your own to universities in countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and the United States as well as some interview tips and easy degrees to consider!
Pros of Self-Applying to University
As you keep your options open and consider applying for a university yourself, here are some of the pros of doing that!
Saving You a Lot of Money
Agencies do provide quality service, but they are not cheap to hire. Typically, the more experienced an agency is, the higher the amount you pay for its services. If you opt for the self-application process to apply to your chosen university, you will save quite a bit of money. However, keep in mind you will have to go through tons of information alone.
Providing You With Confidence
Researching all the possible options on your own and contacting universities will help you gain a lot of confidence in your abilities, especially if you get a good response from one of them. You will also have to check all the visa requirements and book your interview appointment, which is not easy for a student right after high school. Overall, you will become the master of Google search as you search for everything from universities that match your requirements to visa requirements and interview questions and even accommodation and where to find it. Still, it won’t be easy to gather the best choices through Google alone, so you might miss a university that fits you more than any other.
Cons of Self-Applying to University
The main con of choosing to apply on your own instead of through a university agency will definitely have to be the amount of time you spend on this process. Applying to a university, especially abroad, is not an easy task whatsoever, it requires a lot of time, effort, energy, and dedication. Without the experience of a university agency on your side, you might find yourself buried under mountains of research and paperwork and with little to no help on your side. However, if you think this will give you enough experience and the push to depend on yourself, then maybe do not rule this out as an option completely.
Overall, an agency can help you a lot with the application process because agents have all the experience and knowledge that would take you months to gather. All that knowledge is available to you for a certain amount of money. Whether you feel that alone is worth your money is, of course, your personal preference. If you have your mind set on a university and are familiar with all the data you need about it, you might not need to consider an education agency. If not, we suggest you choose a trustworthy agency and ask for help to save yourself the hustle.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
Is it better to apply to UK universities through agents?
Applying to UK universities through agents saves time and ensures that you do not make mistakes. Agents are more likely to know all the administrative and legal requirements for someone to attend a UK university. They will also be up to date with all the relevant visa and UCAS regulations.
Can I apply to UK universities directly?
Yes, a lot of UK universities accept direct applications to their programmes.
Can you apply to UCL directly?
No, applications to UCL are made through UCAS.