General Guidelines for International Student Admission: Self-Apply versus Using Agents


A lot of international students shared horror stories about agents. It is time to shed light on this topic.

Myths about applying for college through agents

* Myth: Applying through agents provide better chances for admission.

* Truth: FALSE. It is unethical for schools to treat students especially because of agent referrals.  Many public schools have policies to prohibit the use of agents in admission. They are not allowed to endorse any agents.


* Myth: Agents provide valuable information for Visa Interviews.

* Truth: TRUE and FALSE.  The truth is most of these information is posted on the Consulate’s website and blog.  Majority of all agents do not have resources to attend important meetings and updates with the Department of State. They do not even want to invest in these conferences such as the (NAFSA). Information coming from them is inaccurate at times and therefore not reliable.


When are agents useful?

* Some agents provide beneficial advice to international students.  Decent agents supply valuable information about universities appropriate for students’ needs. 

* Some agents may offer to “help” you with financial paperwork.  These may be dubious personalities. This is not to say that you should not think of studying in the US if you are poor.  However, an agent who will advise you to evade the law will most likely give you unethical advice.

* The good agent is reputable and does not make commissions from both students and universities. They only work with regionally-accredited institutions.


General Admission Guide for US Universities

You do not need an agent to be admitted to any university!

Here are the steps in applying for a reputable US university:

* Find a good US university.

* Apply for admission!

* Provide a copy of your financial document (bank statement within the last 6 to12 months), amount in your bank account must tally with minimum amount for the annual cost of attendance from the school (I-20 price).  This normally includes tuition, miscellaneous fees, health insurance, books, room, and board.

* Submit official academic credentials, transcript and school diploma as required by the school.

* English proficiency document (This is for non-native English speakers)

* Provide a copy of passport information page.

* Provide a copy of your current i-20 if you are transferring from other schools.

This is a minimum list.  Most schools will require an official English translation for non-English papers.  Many banks use English as official business language so this will not be a problem for you. Other required documents are resume, personal statement (essay), professional license (medical/nursing schools), SAT/ACT test results, and GRE/GMAT/LSAT/PCAT/MCAT (graduate and professional schools).

It is not costly to apply in universities. Some schools like community colleges even waive application fees.

The best an agent can do to help is find a school that fits your goals, needs, and budget. They can assist with application forms and documentation. They cannot influence school admission decisions or consulate interviews.  Paying an agent does not mean being accepted in college. It will depend more on the student’s capabilities.

Marian Moore – Social Media Manager

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