An effective education agent strategy can be a great way to create an international student pipeline for your university, college or school.
Your education agent network – well supported by you – can give you access to international markets that may otherwise be beyond your reach.
In life and business – as always – with the potential rewards, comes the risk.
An unprofessional, unethical, or downright dishonest agent can do huge damage to your students and your brand.
The effects of a bad incident are almost certain to set back your international recruitment efforts and can last a long time.
What can you do?
Well, there are basically two options:
- Don’t use education agents – it’s an option but it might make it hard for you to recruit international students.
- Manage the risk.
We’re going to assume that you want to pursue an education agent strategy, and want to find out more about how to manage the risk.
Information is insurance
Information is your best insurance against the risk of unprofessional, unethical, or dishonest education agents.
Like almost all universities, colleges and schools you probably collect information when you are recruiting education agents by asking them to complete an education agent application form.
Your agent application form probably tries to seek information that will give you confidence that the agent is professional, ethical and honest. It particular, your agent application form may:
- ask whether the agent holds any agent certifications, or is a member of any education agent associations; and
- ask the agent to provide references from other clients.
That’s the right information to ask for, but there are a couple of problems:
- An application form is ‘point-in-time’ it gives you a snapshot of an agent at a given time. What if something changes? What if the agent, or one of its employees, is called out for dishonesty a couple of months after you start working with them? How will you know?
- The agent controls the information that they give you. Sure they may have provided a reference from a client, but what if something bad has happened since the time of the reference, or the referee didn’t even know about it?
It’s critical that you do ongoing monitoring of your education agents – not just at the beginning and end of the agency agreement or contract.
Student reviews are critical
Seeking a review of agent performance from students who used an agent to support their enrollment is a great way to monitor agent performance. But student reviews are only effective if they are done consistently as part of the post enrollment process.
AgentBee member agents are committed to professionalism, integrity and transparency in international student recruitment. That includes providing an independently verified review from each student placed.
Click here to find out more about building a professional education agent network, or strengthening your existing agent network.
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