No other country on the African continent sends more students abroad than Nigeria. Data from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics reports that the number of Nigerian students abroad shot up by 164 per cent in the ten years between 2005 and 2015 alone. It went from 26,997 to a whopping 71,351 students to be precise. With this huge number of students going outside the shores of Nigeria to study, there’s a steady demand for admission agents in the country. Aware of this huge demand, some opportunistic characters pose as admission agents to cheat unsuspecting students out of their hard-earned money. This article will point out some steps to take before hiring study abroad agents in Nigeria.
What you should know before hiring study abroad agents in Nigeria
The following are things to verify before you begin working with study abroad agents in Nigeria.
Ask if they are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission
Registering with the Corporate Affairs Commission and other authorities legitimizes their existence to some extent. So before you hire an agent, find out if they are accredited agents. Ask if they are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and other bodies like International Consultants for Education and Fairs, Association of Agents for Overseas Studies Recruitment of Nigeria, British Council, and The Quality International Study Abroad Network.
Check for identifiers and operating office
Check to be sure that the agency you’re hiring has an operating office and official email identifiers. Don’t settle for an agency that operates with emails that bear personal names and have no known operating offices. For instance, Maple Education has offices in Lagos, Ikeja, Abuja, and Port-Harcourt. You can reach each of these offices through a different official email that carries the name of the organisation and the location of that particular office. The Lagos office can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org, while the Ikeja office can be reached through email@example.com. The offices in Abuja and Port-Harcourt can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com respectively.
Check their testimonials
There is no better way to know how an agent goes about the services they offer than checking to see what others who have used their services are saying about them. Go to their website and dig out their testimonial page. You may need to be careful if they don’t have any testimonials on their website. Or if they don’t even have a website at all.
How to identify fake study abroad agents
When choosing an admission agent, below are ways to spot untrustworthy agents.
They promise you a visa
No agent or agency has the power to guarantee you any visa. Only the embassy in Nigeria has the authority to issue a visa to you. Don’t readily believe any agent who tells you that they have contacts at the embassy who can guarantee your visa. Can agents assist you with your visa application? Of course, they can. But that’s as far as they go. At Maple Education, we can guide you on which of the immigration pathways to Canada you are eligible for. We also help you to track if you have the necessary documents to gain admission and scholarships to Universities in Canada.
They want to help you send fake documents to the embassy
If your agent or agency encourages you to send fake documents to the embassy, whether tacitly or directly, that immediately calls their legitimacy into question. A trustworthy agent would do their best to assist you without advising you to do something fraudulent. This is because they know that this can get you blacklisted.
They assure you of admission
The only institution capable of giving you admission is the university or college you are applying to. The agent has no hand whatsoever in offering you admission into the school of your choice. If an admission agent has affiliate schools, they can fasten the admission process which is a legal perk but not offer admission if you don’t meet requirements. An agent might assure you of admission as a way to wring more money out of you. Most university websites let you check the status of your admission.
They inflate the fees
Don’t just hang on to every word an agent tells you. Some agents inflate the tuition or accommodation fees in an attempt to get a cut from it. Also, make sure you go to the university website to verify the information before going ahead with paying. Anything you don’t understand on the site, there are usually email addresses to contact on the site and ask questions.
They may send you to an unaccredited university
Whichever university you’re applying to, make sure they are recognised by both the Nigerian authorities and the authorities in that country as well. An agent can send you to an unknown, unaccredited university. Stay on top of the situation by verifying information about your school of choice.
Maple Education is affiliated with over 60 prestigious universities in Canada. We like to tell the story of how we began, “Can you help find a good Canadian school for my child?” If you are an international student looking for trustworthy admission consultants that will guide you into getting into your dream school, you need our services. We’ve gone on to place our clients in their dream schools over the last decade, and you can be one of them.