Pros and cons of using an agent to apply to a UK university?

Pros and cons of using an agent to apply to a UK university?

This article was written by the Great British Mag editorial team on 19 January 2021.

If you’re thinking of applying to a UK university then you have two options. The first is to apply yourself. This is done via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) for an undergraduate course, or directly to the university for a postgraduate level course.

The second option is to use an agent or counsellor in your home country, who will help you find a course that matches your requirements and also give you a hand with the application process. In this article, we look at the pros and cons of using this route.

Pros of using an agent 

1. It will make the application process less stressful

As well as having up-to-date information and insider knowledge, a good agent will use their experience to add value to your application. They understand what the university is looking for and have experience of what makes a successful application, so will certainly be able to offer advice on how to write the tricky personal statement section of your application.

2. You are less likely to make mistakes

Doing anything for the first time can seem tricky and you might make mistakes. However, the agent will be up to date with all the relevant visa and UCAS regulations. They also know all the administrative and legal requirements for someone in your country to attend a UK university, which is invaluable and will ensure your application is done correctly.

3. It will save you time

If you are researching and applying to multiple universities, possibly in different countries, it can become very time-consuming. However, by having an agent you can save lots of time and be confident that the agent has found all the courses you are interested in. This is especially helpful if you already have a demanding schedule with your current studies. 

Cons of using an agent

1. Agents earn commission from universities

In most cases, agents are paid commission by universities for every successful student application, and that could mean the agent may recommend a university that pays the most, rather than the best choice for you. If you’re looking for unbiased guidance on all the courses available to you, you should use a consulting agency that has no university affiliations. Ask if they have any connections or affiliations before signing the contract. However, be aware that if the agent is not earning money from the universities, they will charge you a higher fee.

2. You might not hear about all the options

When you sign up for the services of an educational agent, you hand over all the responsibility for submitting your course application to the agent. That includes the research, which is an important part of knowing what options are available to you. Furthermore, you are handing over the success or failure of your application to someone that doesn’t know you very well and thus might not be able to communicate the passion you have for your chosen subject.

3. The cost of hiring an agent can be high

Some agents will charge you a fee to guide you through the process of choosing a course and help you complete the application process. This fee can be quite high so you will need to weigh up the benefits of using an agent versus doing it yourself.

How to find a good agent

Before you hire an agent, do your research. Ask your school or college for recommendations and ask students who have studied abroad which agent they used, if any. You can also find a reputable agent through the British Council’s Global Agents List.

You might want to read:

How to apply to the University of Oxford

How to apply to Cambridge University

Are universities in the UK expensive?