Study in Ukraine agents and consultants have almost become synonymous with Ukraine’s university admission process for international students. Not sure if that’s good or bad, but we’ll find out.
They are very instrumental for the commercialization of the international students’ university enrollment and education in Ukraine, now an economic sector.
Whether or not you realize it, if you have ever performed some online search about studying in Ukraine or related searches, then you most likely have passed through the resources of one or multiple Ukraine university admission agents/consultants. You’re reading from one right now. 🙂
Surprisingly, it wasn’t always like this in the past. So, how did they suddenly become an integral part of Ukraine’s university admission vertical for international students? What role(s) do these admission consultants play? Are they a necessity, inevitable or just optional?
We’ll explore all of these in this publication, so you can comfortably make an informed decision.
To begin, let us try and give a clear definition to study in Ukraine agents or consultants.
Ukraine university admission consultant/agents comprise of any registered legal entity, whether owned privately or by government subsidiary, that offers paid / profit-oriented international students recruitment services to Ukraine, on behalf of one or more of its partner universities.
They basically act as the middleman between the candidate and the university, just as the dictionary definition of an agent.
To qualify as a university recruitment agent in Ukraine, the entity must be registered to render international students’ recruitment services, and have a recruitment/partnership contract with at least, one university in Ukraine.
It is also important to note that the entity doesn’t necessarily have to be registered in Ukraine, but must have a recruitment/partnership contract with at least, one university in Ukraine.
The most important thing to note here is that it is a commercial service, that is profit-oriented, and offered by registered legal entities in Ukraine or outside Ukraine, which could be owned either privately or by a government subsidiary.
So basically, transactions between prospective international candidates and study in Ukraine agents or consultants qualify as business transactions, where value is exchanged for a cost, and should, therefore, follow ethical business principles and consequence(s) for violations by any of the parties involved.
Brief Historical Origin Of University Admission Agents In Ukraine
To fully understand Ukraine university admission agencies and their services, a brief history of how they appeared will help clear the air.
Ukraine, while a member of the Soviet Union, participated in the scholarship program offered by the Soviet Union to its friendly countries. As a result, the educational infrastructures in most of the former Soviet countries were expanded to accommodate the foreign students.
At the time, the Soviet Union had a system in place for both students recruitment and distribution among the Soviet states.
The breakup of the Soviet Union meant that the Soviet recruitment and distribution system also crumbled along with it. However, the physical infrastructures already established stayed in place in the different former Soviet member states.
Not having any organized system for recruiting international students, Ukraine, like most former Soviet member states struggled with recruiting international students to fill up the existing vast learning infrastructures.
Identifying this gap, some international students, at the time, seized the opportunity to start offering international student’s recruitment services. This solved a big problem for the universities and eventually led to what we now know as study in Ukraine agents.
Types Of University Admission Agents In Ukraine
For simplicity, we will classify the Ukraine university admission agents/consultants using operational geolocations, which leaves us with two distinct categories:
- Registered & Operating From Ukraine;
- Registered & Operating From Outside Ukraine.
1. The first category comprises of admission consultants and agencies that are registered in Ukraine and operate primarily from Ukraine. They mostly interact and recruit students through their web resources, as well as partnerships from other companies that are neither registered nor operate from Ukraine.
Examples of this kind of companies are tostudyinukraine.org, studyinukraine.org, and many other similar companies that operate primarily from Ukraine. Most of them utilize their websites, social media and other online resources to advertise and recruit international students.
2. The second category comprises of companies that are registered outside Ukraine, but have existing recruitment/partnership contracts with one or more universities in Ukraine.
Most of these kinds of companies are owned by former international students that graduated and relocated back to their home countries. With both education and living experience in Ukraine, they set up agencies in their home country for rendering admission services.
Examples of this kind of companies are: study in Ukraine agents in Nigeria; study in Ukraine agents in Ghana; study in Ukraine agents in India, etc. These companies usually operate from within close proximity to the candidates’ physical location.
Usually, most of these kinds of companies will have a representative or a partner company in Ukraine to liaise with, for managing the students.
However, in some cases, some companies may not have any representative in Ukraine, a situation that should be of concern to the prospective candidate. This is actually a negative signal.
The Major Role Of Study In Ukraine Agents
Many prospective candidates incorrectly think that processing university admission/invitation letter is the primary job of Ukraine university admission agents/consultants. Far from it.
That is not even considered as one of the main functions of admission consultants.
If processing university admission was all that’s required, then the services of admission consultants might not even be as necessary because candidates can process university admission directly from the university.
The major function of an admission agent is the role it plays from the arrival of the student and during the student’s study period in Ukraine.
From the moment the candidate(s) arrives Ukraine, someone needs to meet them at the port of entry, convey them to the university, undergo the lengthy university registration/enrollment process and help the student in the early integration and adaptation period, into a society that is still alien to the student.
Unfortunately, most universities in Ukraine do not have the capacity to provide such assistance to hundreds or even thousands of new students, which is where the agents become inevitable.
This is why it is extremely important when choosing an agent, to make sure that such agent either has a representative in Ukraine or operates from Ukraine, in the same city where the candidate will be studying.
That’s the place where the student will spend most of the academic life, and the consultant will play the role of an immediate guardian to the student, especially in the early period.
Pros & Cons Of Ukraine University Admission Agents / Consultants
Advantages Of Ukraine University Admission Agents
Below are some of the main advantages of using an admission consultant:
- Prompt Feedback & Guidance: most universities in Ukraine do not have ready systems and enough English-speaking personnel dedicated to promptly handle the flood of inquiries from prospective students. This causes delayed responses to inquiries, or most times, totally unanswered. Admission consultants are much more responsive and provide timely feedback to inquiries.
- University Selection Guidance: admission consultant assists candidates in choosing the most appropriate university that matches their course and budget.
- Airport Reception: many students’ frustrations start from the airport upon arrival only to realize that there’s nobody to guide them to the university, and nobody to ask for directions considering that Ukraine is not an English speaking country. This is among the very vital reason for using admission agents.
- University Registration Process: the university enrollment process in Ukraine is lengthy, with time limits. Most schools, unfortunately, don’t have the capacity to effectively manage it. Admission agents make this a pain-free process for their candidates.
- Integration Into The Society: considering that Ukraine is not a native English-speaking country, the first periods are usually the most difficult for most international students. Admission agents play a vital role in helping new students get over this period and easily integrate into society.
Disadvantages & Shortcomings Of Ukraine University Admission Agents
- Cost: as a profit-oriented activity, the services of admission consultants do have a price tag, which may not be affordable for some candidates, especially those on a tight budget.
- Shady Characters: unfortunately, some agents are not as straightforward and transparent as should be. Some of them can come up with some hidden fees, that was never explained from the beginning, especially when they realize that the candidate no longer has no alternative option.
- Unprofessionalism: some agents also act unprofessionally by rendering poor quality services. This usually happens when some of these agents recruit way more students than manageable and ends up providing poor quality services.
- Tacit Deception: This is typical among the seemingly governmental agencies. Such an agency can create the impression of a regulatory government structure. In reality, however, it is a profit-oriented commercial agency, which ends up not providing full-scale agency services for the unsuspecting candidate.For instance, when needed most, a new student might realize that there is no agent/consultant to turn to, because the seeming government subsidiary which processed the student’s university invitation has no more obligations to the student, and could be physically very far from the student’s academic location.
- Fraud: there is also the issue of outright fraudulent actions. Some agents may take tuition from the student, but end up not making payment to the university. Sometimes, the agent becomes untraceable. Students must always check that their fees are paid.
5 Guidelines For Choosing An Ukraine University Admission Agent
If you eventually decide to engage the services of a university admission agent/consultant in Ukraine, follow these guidelines:
- You can use any of the two types of admission consultant, whether based in Ukraine or based in your local vicinity;
- If using a consultant that is based in your local vicinity, make sure the company has a representative in Ukraine, in the city where you plan to study;
- Always verify “2” above by requesting for the contact details of the representative. Reach out and confirm the physical presence of the agent in that city, where you plan to study.
- If “2” above cannot be verified, then make alternative arrangements for an agent in Ukraine or an acquaintance to assist with airport meetup and university enrollment.
- Make sure to have a contract with your admission agent, where all conditions and services provided are explicitly spelt out.
In summary, you probably already figured out that the services of Study in Ukraine agents and consultants were borne out of a gap in the Ukraine university admission process for international students.
While it is true that they do offer vital services, the question is whether or not their services constitute a necessity or not?
The candid answer to that question, while we may appear biased, is that the services are indeed a necessity, but not mandatory.
For candidates that can afford the services of university admission agents, there are lots of benefits, both immediate and in the long run.
However, for those that may not be able to afford the cost, there is no obligation to use the admission services of agencies, with the exception of a few universities that are monopolized by a few agents.
Such candidates can go the route of self-processing their university admission but should have a concrete plan for post-arrival activities such as airport reception, university registration, enrollment, etc.
For a candidate that ends up using the services of an admission agent, make sure to get value for your money’s worth, and this starts by having an explicitly defined contract in place.
What's The Duration Of The Agent's Services After Enrollment?
Most study in Ukraine agents and consultants will continue an overseer role for the first academic year of the student. Typically, after one year, the student would’ve properly integrated into the system, but can always contact the agent should the need arise.
Are Study In Ukraine Agents Compensated By The University?
It depends on the kind of partnership agreement between the university and the agent. Some schools do, while some don’t.
Can A Government Subsidiary Be An Admission Agent?
Once a government subsidiary starts offering commercial students recruitment services that are purely profit-oriented, then it qualifies as an admission agent, within that context of those services.
So yes, a government subsidiary can also be among study in Ukraine agents.
How Can I Identify A Fake Study In Ukraine Agent?
It may be difficult to pinpoint, but there are signs to watch out for, such as:
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is a warning sign. Let’s assume you want to study medicine in Ukraine, and the tuition proposal is too suspiciously low, you should be wary.
- If the agent is offering some supposedly paid services for free, without explaining the trade-off, it is also a caution sign.
- If the agent doesn’t provide you with applicable university tuition and other fees as well as its service contract, then you might want to switch on your alert mode.
Those are some of the things to watch out for, but above all, trust your own instincts, gut feelings and your inbuilt alarm system.
Can I Switch To Another Agent?
Once the consultant has started executing the task paid for or has processed the university admission, then switching to another study in Ukraine agent will only be at the discretion of that agent. However, if there are strong and legitimate reasons to change to another agent, then there are procedures for doing that, upon mutual agreement by all parties.
Can I Hold An Agent Liable For Non / Partial Fulfilment?
Yes, you definitely can, which is why you should make sure to have a working contract with your study in Ukraine agent.