August 4, 2011
There’s been a flurry of on-line discussions, reports and articles on the pros and cons of working with international student recruiters and commission-based agents. The discussion has been passionate and robust to say the least!
According to an August 3, 2011 article* by Alan Ruby, a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, “…an agent, is usually somebody who officially represents somebody else in business or who provides a particular service for another person.” In some cases, the agent representing the business may even make contractual decisions on behalf of the business. And this is where the discussion on the role of agents and/or recruiters representing an academic institution has become heated. Is the agent qualified to make decisions concerning the admissibility of an international student on behalf of the U.S. college/university? Mr. Ruby continues “admissions is a rationing decision – it involves privileging one person over others… admissions is also a gate keeping decision to ensure that those who enter are able to benefit from and contribute to memberships of the institution…the decision on who is to be admitted is made by the institution, not by individual agents acting independently of each other.”
As I, along with my colleagues in international credential evaluation, sit on the sidelines and listen to the on-going banter on the relationship between agents/international student recruiters and U.S. admissions officers, one important ingredient we believe will improve this recipe is to partner with experienced professionals knowledgeable of world education systems and the U.S. academic equivalence of international credentials. By utilizing the services of a reputable and professional international credential evaluation service, both the agent/recruiter and U.S. college admissions officers can have a better and clearer understanding of the potential international student’s academic achievements. Students not meeting the admission standards of the U.S. institution can be declined at an early stage of the process, before they are offered any promises of admissibility. Selecting a professional credential evaluation service that is a member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE) guarantees that all parties will receive accurate U.S. academic equivalence of the international studies.
On more than one occasion, I have seen documents of an international student who is referred to my company for a credential evaluation, only after he/she has been admitted to the U.S. college/university. Needless to say, all parties involved are highly disappointed when the academic equivalence recommended determines that the potential international student’s achievements fall below the admissions criteria of the U.S. institution. Agents, recruiters, U.S. institutions and the international student can avoid pitfalls and disappointments based on unreasonable expectations by first obtaining an academic credential evaluation. Agents and recruiters can continue to properly and accurately represent an institution and its mission while an evaluation by an independent credential agency can help maintain standards and ensure the recruitment of qualified international students.
*NAFSA “Trends & Insights”
Jasmin S. Kuehnert
President & CEO ACEI, Inc.