We’ve noticed a gap in almost every education agent application form we look at here at AgentBee (and we look at a lot!)
Before we get in to the detail let’s be clear what we are talking about. An education agent application form is the form that many educational institutions have on their website which is designed to help them recruit new education agents.
Most education agent application forms ask for basically the same information, give or take:
- Name of the applicant
- Business/agency name
- Agency website
- Business address
- Details of key directors and employees – name, position, background and experience.
- Details on performance – i.e the number of students they have recruited into your market
- Description of how they intend to market your institution/courses
- Professional Association memberships
- Referees from current educational institution clients
The standard practice is that a prospective agent completes the form and sends it to the educational institution. The institution then makes a decision on whether it wants to enter into a contract or agreement with the education agent for the recruitment of international students.
This process is quite inefficient, but that’s another issue which we covered in an earlier post – Recruiting Education Agents – you’re doing it wrong. For the time being lets focus on the nature of the information being requested.
There is one big gap.
Where it the request for feedback , testimonials or reviews from students?
Ultimately it is all about the students so student feedback on an agent’s performance should be a key element in deciding whether to enter into an agreement with a new education agent. Very few educational institutions ask for that information in their education agent application form. In fact the AgentBee team is yet to see a single one that does.
(If your education agent application form does ask for information on student perceptions of education agent performance contact us and we’ll include it here as an example of best practice.)
Asking for evidence of student perception of agent performance at before engaging a new agent should assist you to make a more informed decision about which agents you work with.
It’s also logical when considered in the context of best practice education agent management. It is well accepted that ongoing monitoring of agent performance, including by seeking student reviews, is an important part of managing your relationship with your agents. If student feedback will become a key data point over the life of your agreement with an education agent, shouldn’t it be equally important to inform your initial decision whether or not to enter in to an agreement with the agent?
To play devil’s advocate for a moment, if you’re an international student recruitment professional working in-house for an educational institution you may argue that you don’t ask for the information because it doesn’t exist. And you would be partially right.
Some education agents have built up a body of Google and Facebook reviews, but many haven’t. Even if an agent has got a critical mass of social media reviews in place it can be hard to determine the value they offer. Many review feeds end up filled with spam.
Some education agents also post student testimonials on their websites. They are not of much value for an educational institution because (a) what gets posted is controlled by the agent, and (b) it’s difficult to access them systematically as part of an agent monitoring process.
Something has to change
Educational institutions and students should be able to get reliable information about education agent performance from the student’s perspective.
AgentBee is tackling the problem by partnering with education agents who share our commitment to professionalism, integrity and transparency. Students can visit AgentBee and submit a review on the performance of an education agent they have worked with (whether or not they were ultimately assisted by the agent to enrol in an educational institution.) We verify that information and make it publicly available to educational institutions and students.
We think it is a useful step towards a more open and transparent international education market in which educational institutions and students have the information needed to make informed decisions on the agents they work with.
Educational Institutions – work with us
AgentBee offers a free solution that supports educational institutions to build, monitor and manage their education agent networks based on professionalism, integrity and transparency.
Protect your institution and students by ensuring that you have a clear view of your education agents and how they are performing.
Education Agents – work with us
Education agents who share our commitment to professionalism, integrity and transparency can join AgentBee as an education agent member.
The key benefits of membership are:
- Apply easily to directly represent any of our partner institutions (no need to fill out multiple application forms)
- Easily manage your new partner agent applications and current agreements in a workflow board.
- Build your reputation with verified student reviews.
- Embed verified student reviews on your website.
- Display an AgentBee member badge on your website.