UBC Graduate Research

The Role of Education Consulting in the Internationalization of Higher Education Tian, Jie


With the internationalization of higher education, the significant role education agents play has been increasingly recognized by educational institutions. A majority of education agents related research discussed the role of education agents in international recruitment from the perspective of educational institutions. Little research is conducted to examine the broader role education consulting plays and the contribution education consulting could make to students’ experience from the perspective of education consultants. Thus, this study examined education consultants’ perspectives regarding the changes in the consulting services provided by education consulting companies (ECCs) to Chinese students wishing to study in the U.S. higher education since 2010 and the concrete feedback education consultants receive from students. The purpose of this study is to better understand the role of education consulting and their impact on students’ post-enrolment experience in U.S. higher education institutions from the perspectives of education consultants. Qualitative interviews are used as the primary method to collect the insights of experienced consultants and managers of ECCs. The official websites of 15 ECCs are also investigated in order to find the current consulting services ECCs provide. This study finds ECCs are extending their traditional services that focus on applications and visas to a longer-term and wider range of services. More prestige institutions graduates and native English-speakers are entering the education consulting industry of China and greater stratification among education consultants is occurring. According to the students’ feedback education consultants have received, the consultants of ECCs have a positive impact on students’ post-enrolment experience in U.S. educational institutions. This study suggests the role ECCs play in the internationalization of higher education should be reconceptualised in a broader context. Recommendations for ECCs and educational institutions are provided to prompt students’ post-enrolment experience and to address the issue of inequality.

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