Education and counseling services are a commonly used resource for international students from many countries around the world. In the US, there are few such services, but they are growing in popularity. While they mostly specialize in test preparation and essay coaching now, they could evolve as many of the international companies have done.
There is a big difference in what a services are provided to students from different kinds of educational consultancies around the world however. It is also true that there are a great many services offered within a given country and students should exercise caution about engaging an educational consultant for their services.
Ethical Training and Consultancy services
It is entirely ok to seek help in completing your applications to American universities. Indeed, the processes vary so much that a little help goes a long way. For many kinds of professional tests and certifications, there are test preparation services that will help you pass. I expect students to put forward their strongest application for admission and hope the do not submit one that hasn’t been reviewed by a second person. It is entirely ethical to use outside services to help:
- Evaluate your writing
- Prepare you for an interview
- Prepare you for the GRE, GMAT, or TOEFL
- Make sure you have filled out the forms in English – properly
Unethical application consulting
I once met an education agent in China that told me they were the ones writing a student’s reference letters for graduate applications to America. Another time a Turkish student told me he about a consulting service that had written his essays, including the “personal statement”. I consider these situations unethical because the student did not write the essay themselves and the references were bough and not provided from actual academic or professional sources, as required in nearly all American degree programs.
When you are asked to write an essay – write it yourself and have others give you feedback. When you are asked for a reference, don’t buy one. These activities may be hard for an admissions committee to uncover, but they are entirely unethical. Future ethical breaches while at university could cause you to be expelled and you certainly wouldn’t want that. Establish an ethical position for yourself and do the work necessary to earn admission. You will eventually have to do the work to succeed in life anyway.