So, as I was going through my daily quora feed, I noticed a lot of people asking questions about which were the best overseas study abroad consultants. Being curious, I did two google searches. One was for “Study Abroad Consultants – Bangalore (my city)” and another one was for “Best Overseas Study Consultants”. It came up with 80+ different search results. The map itself showed 20 different overseas study consultants just in the MG Road / Commercial Street area, which is an area in the city (see picture).
Now, the reason they exist is because of the huge demand for information on overseas study programs. A large segment of the population sees an education overseas as a way to a better life. With India’s large educated youth population looking for information on overseas study programs and a large number of global universities looking for international students, the overseas study consultants are the perfect middle man. They have the knowledge about the Indian student population that the foreign universities do not, and they have the knowledge about overseas study program that the Indian students do not. That is how it is supposed to work in theory.
Being curious, I did ask a few of my friends what their experience was with the best overseas study consultants. Since most of my friends who wanted to leave India had already left India, the remaining ones did not really have much interest in leaving India nor did they know much about these overseas study consultants.
Then I contacted a few of the other overseas study consultants on the list and asked them basic questions about top overseas study programs. The overseas study consultants knew how to apply for the programs and how to ask for money, but none of them had any knowledge on which programs were good, which universities had the best programs. It was obvious that they had never studied abroad nor worked as a professional in those fields. Their only incentive was to make money off people going abroad. They paint a pretty enough picture to get you to sign a very expensive check. So they are incentivized to tell you that the program is good or that there are plenty of jobs abroad.
Ok, so am I saying that all 80+ overseas study consultants are worthless? Probably not. Just by the law of probability, there should be a few of them that are good. Here are a few questions that you should ask them to figure out their worth:
Do a background check on the people giving you advice.
- Have they studied abroad or worked in a profession where they would have firsthand information? If not, where are they getting their information from? You can use LinkedIn or Quora to do the background check.
A lot of them would recommend certain universities for you. Ask them questions about why the programs in these universities are good for you, and ask them for student references from these programs.
Ask them questions about the subject/major and which companies hire in the field.
- You can verify the info that they are talking about through online searches.
Ask them about employment sponsorship opportunities for graduates from the university.
- You can again verify the same by talking to former students from that university.
Ask the overseas study consultants for positive references to their programs.
- Check out these references in LinkedIn and check out their career path. If they have not landed a job abroad, then they are not a good reference.
While it may not seem enticing to move around from study abroad consultant to study abroad consultant to find one that can answer all your questions, it is the right approach. Or you can talk to professionals in the field, and people who have actually studied abroad.
These overseas study consultants scammed one of my friends. They contacted him through a job portal and asked him to spend 1800 rupees on an eligibility test for Canadian immigration. This was the first red flag. Then, they said he would interview a few companies in Canada and be selected to fly over to Canada. He would stay there for 3 years on free room and board. Then they asked him to wire 60000 rupees for Canadian visa processing. Needless to say, he has yet to get a job in Canada. I did a Google search on the company name and there were several others who made the same complaint about the overseas study consultant.
I hope you find the information in this blog useful. If you are interested in getting a free guide on tips to apply to scholarships for higher education abroad, please click here.