The ABCs of education advising: a call for industry transparency

Words by Quintessentially Education

22 January 2024

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Families must be fully informed when choosing to work with an education agent or consultant. Here’s why – and how – we adopt an ethical approach to education advising.

UK universities are more dependent than ever on the income generated by international students (the Observer). So, it’s no surprise that the student recruitment industry has grown rapidly, and education agents are being generously paid for international student referrals.

In the 2022/23 admissions cycle alone, The University of Greenwich paid 230 education agencies over £28.7 million (an average of £8,235 per student).

This commercialisation of the recruitment process has had a knock-on effect, with some families reportedly feeling misled when seeking educational advice. That’s why we’re here to set the record straight. And understanding the difference between agents and consultants is the key to unlocking the full picture.

So, as in the world of education, let’s start with the ABCs.

What is an education agent?

A is for… agent – someone who typically works on behalf of an educational institution or a third-party affiliate to support student recruitment. Education agents are often compensated on a per-student basis and therefore incentivised to encourage enrolment at their affiliated institutes.

Whilst an agent can help explain the admissions process and ensure a smooth transition, the lack of transparency about the relationship between educational institutes and agents often leaves many students and families in the dark about their motives.

So, how do we achieve transparency in the education industry?

B is for… better transparency. Because – whether you choose to work with an agent or consultant – families must be fully informed during the decision process. That’s why we believe in ethical education advising through better transparency. And this is how we practice what we preach…

Group of men in a room with a bookshelf, round at a desk with laptops, laughing Group of men in a room with a bookshelf, round at a desk with laptops, laughing

We’re student-centric

Empowering students is at the forefront of everything we do. Our goal is to assist students and families in making informed decisions about their future. We help them explore their options and navigate the complexities of the application process.

We’re proudly independent

Through continuous first-hand exposure, our support is professional, impartial, and rooted in genuine experience. We are proudly independent and do not affiliate with specific schools or universities.

A woman wearing a blue dress and hijab sat at a desk with her Macbook laptop A woman wearing a blue dress and hijab sat at a desk with her Macbook laptop
Two women sat together on a laptop Two women sat together on a laptop

We provide bespoke solutions

We provide an enhanced experience beyond the classroom through personalised strategies that help each candidate prepare for their individual journey. Our support and mentorship complements each student’s schedule and is built around academic ability and natural disposition.

What is an education consultant?

C is for… consultants – that’s us. And by now, you’ve probably worked out that the secret to distinguishing the difference between education agents and consultants lies in impartial independence. But let’s dive into the details.

As education consultants, we work solely for our students and families, with no hidden agenda or financial affiliation. Much like a good teacher, a good consultant provides advice and guides families on various educational pathways whilst instilling best practices for future success. Together, consultants and students explore a full spectrum of options – always putting the student first and acting independently of any school-related biases.

In essence, we urge our peers in the education agency space to ensure visibility when commercial arrangements are in place, whilst also leading by example for those who position themselves as consultants to truly uphold the standards expected of an independent advisor.

For us, we know our student-centric, independent, and bespoke approach helps our candidates explore, prepare, and succeed – both throughout the admissions process and in their future educational journey.

Want to harness the help of a consultant to better your child’s chances in their educational environments? Contact us at [email protected] or +44 (0)20 3073 6839.


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