The distaste was quite evident, “We actually tell students to stay away from people like you” he told me. To his credit though, once he had expressed this rather strong opinion, the admissions executive did actually go on to answer my questions. Every single one of them. In a fairly civil tone I might add.

I got the information I wanted but the scorn definitely rankled.

It still does at times.

Of course, I would be lying if I said that this reaction was completely unexpected. After all, “education agents” are often viewed with a certain level of suspicion, in India and abroad.

With good reason.

Pay enough attention, and you will notice a news story every now and then about how a hapless student, or two, was “duped” by an education agent, one who usually guarantees admissions in a “reputed” university. The moneys involved are massive (I can only imagine how much Mr. Saini made before being arrested) with profits generated from the exploitation of ignorance and fear.

A bit like lawyers perhaps?

And the repercussions are being felt around the world. In Australia, for instance, a parliamentary report has suggested “more stringent agent requirements”. The unexpected shutting down of an education agency in Brazil has affected students in Ireland.

And in America, well America.

Of course, just like the legal industry, there are several well-meaning, highly professional education counsellors and agents in the country. They are good at what they do, and more importantly, are solely led by the best interests of their clients.

However, and this is my final reference to lawyers, I do think we could do with some sort of regulation as well. Or perhaps an earlier step could be increasing general awareness and knowledge. Universities could, perhaps, publish a list of recognized agents, their commission rates, and what the agent can and cannot do.

Perhaps.

To be honest, I have little doubt that I will continue to face suspicion and mistrust at the education fairs that I must attend, at the “meet and greet” events that are so crucial for networking, and during e-mail exchanges with law schools across the world.

I don’t think this is going to change overnight. I really don’t.

And I can see why.

It still rankles though. It really does.

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