Agents of Educational Recruitment

Marilyn Gardner Milton’s Latest Blog Post

When people think of agents recruiting for a cause they usually think of profession or college athletic teams, military branches, or some sort of occupation where people need to be coerced into joining. What many people don’t think of is actually one of the most common uses for agents, to recruit students from other countries to join higher education institutes as students. While this has been very common in other countries, US universities have traditionally been against this sort of recruitment and preferred to rely on word of mouth and reputation to draw students from other countries. However as colleges and universities find themselves with smaller class sizes and less money, they have recently opened up to using agents to find willing students and convince them to come over.

Even with colleges and universities now being allowed, as well as being more open to it in an institutional sense, to use agents, they are going to find that there’s a lot of international competition and that they are going to be starting in a difficult position. Countries such as Australia and Malaysia get over half of their international students through the use of agents. Others such as Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and the UK get anywhere from 20%-just under 50% of their international students through agents as well. Clearly there is going to be a lot of competition for the best students who are looking to study abroad.

While the US might have more expensive schools and a lack of presence in the agent-dominated international student recruitment scene, it does have one thing that not many other countries have. Even to this day, as our country and it’s economy and reputation lie in balance, our universities and institutes of higher education are still thought of as the best in the world. With names such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and many others to our name, our colleges and universities are still amongst the top in the world and are popular destinations for students.

The allowing and tacit acceptance of agents has opened up a whole new world of students for US colleges and universities. We will finally be on equal footing to try to tempt all of the most intelligent international students to our shores. While we are definitely coming from a place of weakness in terms of our presence, the sterling reputation that our universities have combined with the opportunities our country offers means that there’s a very good chance of seeing the number of international applicants rising in the future.


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from Marilyn Gardner Milton and Education


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