Studying abroad is an excellent way to jump-start a global career, develop cross-cultural thinking and gain independence. But how do you prepare to become an international student? Organising your move to Australia can be a complicated process when it comes to visa applications, finding the perfect institution or course, and preparing for your new life abroad. If you are looking for extra support in your international student journey, you might want to consider seeking help from a study abroad consultant.
Think of a study abroad consultant (also known as an ‘education agent’) as a helping hand on your journey to becoming an international student. Depending on the agency you go through, study abroad consultants may be able to help you with things like:
In Australia, many education providers will accept applications from international students directly. If you know what and where you want to study, and do not require any help when it comes to visa applications, then you may not require the services of a study abroad consultant.
If you are feeling a little unsure about your options, you can contact a study abroad consultant in your home country for extra support. It can be overwhelming trying to find the perfect Australian institution and course for you. Study abroad consultants can help you work through your options, will pay attention to what you want from your international education, and will assist in finding the right spot for you. Plus, because they work with some education providers directly, this may make the application process easier.
Qualified study abroad consultants are experts in the Australian education industry and will be able to accurately and confidently advise you on the application process, the requirements of an international student, and what it’s like studying in Australia.
The services of study abroad consultants are generally free! Study abroad consultants work on commission, meaning that universities and other education providers will pay the consultant if a student decides to enroll at their institution.
Before proceeding with a study abroad consultant, make sure to check there are no hidden costs in using the consultant’s services. Also, remember that you will still need to pay an application fee to your chosen institution, along with any of the fees relating to other requirements such as health insurance or English tests.
A study abroad consultant can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to the visa application process, as they can help you make sure you meet all of the requirements and have all of the necessary supporting documentation.
However, it’s important to remember that a consultant cannot submit or process a visa application for you. Only a migration agent can. Some consultant agencies have partnerships with migration agents, so you will be able to utilise their services if required. It is important that the migration agent is registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). On their website, you can search the Register of Migration Agents to make sure the migration agent is registered.
There is a wide range of study abroad consultants out there to help you. Using a service like PIER, you can search who is available in your home country.
If you have a specific university or education provider in mind that you would like to apply to, try and find a study abroad consultant that represents that institution. Under Australian law, every Australian education institution that uses the services of study abroad consultants must keep a list of consultants who work on their behalf, and must have a formal contract with them to help monitor their work. So, simply try searching the name of your chosen institution along with ‘study abroad consultant’ or ‘education agent’ and you should find a list of consultants or agencies that represent that institution.
Institutions will usually have more than one study abroad consultant representing them in each country, so there will generally be an education agent available nearby.
Try and find a consultant who has visited Australia, or even studied there themselves. They will be able to offer a more accurate view of life and education in Australia.
Understand the services that the study abroad consultant will provide. For example, do they offer visa support? Will they help with English language tests and coaching? Can they help you with your travel plans and finding accommodation? Ideally, a study abroad consultant will be able to help you with all of these things.
Make sure your consultant is honest about the application process. Study abroad consultants cannot guarantee an approved student visa or jobs in Australia once you arrive, so ensure they are not making promises like this. However, consultants can help you understand the visa process and assist with your application. They are there to support and assist you.
Check that the study abroad consultant is reputable. Do they have good and honest reviews? Do you know anyone who has used them before? Do they have an official website? If you don’t feel comfortable about a certain consultant, you can always find another.