Trusted Sources: Seeking Advice on Applying to Universities in Another Country

​Are you a student who would like to apply to a university in another country? Researching and applying to universities in another country, and selecting an institution to attend can be both exciting and overwhelming. This guide describes the advisors who can help you through the admission process.  

Trusted Sources
View the Flipbook or Download a PDF​

This publication is available in Chinese.


What is expected of students through the admission process?

Remember that no matter who is helping you through this process, universities have certain expectations of you. You have the responsibility to:  
  • ​Research, understand, and ​comply with the admission policies and procedures of each university. 
  • Be the sole author of your applications.
  • Be aware of and abide by the student visa regulations for the country where you will study. 

Who can h​elp?

Use the tabs below to find out more about high school-based counselors, university admission officers, government-supported resources, independent educational consultants, and agents.  ​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​



High School-Based Counselor or University Advisor

  • A qualified professional employed and paid by a high school to help guide your university search and application process. 
  • Provides unbiased advice about university options and admission processes, including those in other countries.
  • Typically students’ best advocate during the admission process.
  • Often serves as the designated individual for sending official academic records to universities. 
Tip:  If your school does not have a counselor, consider working with one of the other professionals described on this website. Your school principal or an academic administrator should be able to help you send official academic records and complete school forms required as part of the university application process.
High School Counselor Competencies:
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) believes there is a basic body of knowledge and fundamental skills one must possess to be effective in counseling students as they progress through school (elementary through university education) and make decisions regarding their choices after high school. Read NACAC's Statement on Counselor Competencies

 Admission Officer


University Recruitment or Admission Officer

  • A salaried employee of a university who advises and recruits international students and reviews applications. 
  • Provides specific and accurate information about the university they work for, and details about the institution's application requirements and admission process. 
  • Can reliably help you gauge your qualification for admission based on the academic profile of previously admitted students. 
Tip: University websites are another good source of reliable information for prospective students. Many universities have a dedicated section for international students on their websites. 

College Admission Counselor Competencies:
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) believes there is a basic body of knowledge and fundamental skills one must possess to be effective in counseling students as they progress through school (elementary through university education) and make decisions regarding their choices after high school. Read NACAC's Statement on Counselor Competencies.​

International Student Ambassadors

Current international students at a university can serve as a great resource for you as you endeavor to learn more about the institution. Ask the admission officers at the universities that you are applying to about the possibility of communicating with a current student from your home country or region of the world. 



​​Government-Supported Advising Resources

  • National government-supported advisors or websites that promote the country's universities. 
  • Services include helping you research university options, hosting visits by traveling representatives of universities, and running education fairs. 
Tip: Start by contacting the consulate or embassy of the country where you want to study. Consulates and embassies may have a department, office or employee dedicated to education matters. 

Resources: The following countries are top hosts of international students. Click on your intended destination country below for the government-supported website. 




​​Independent Educational Consultant

  • ​A professional hired and paid only by students and their parents for personalized advice on the university admission process, financial aid, and career possibilities. An option for student who may not have a school-based counselor or are seeking additional assistance. 
  • Independent from high schools and universities; they are not contracted or paid by these institutions. 
  • Exposes you to a full range of higher education options so you can identify the universities that meet your academic and personal goals. 
Tip: Many Independent Education Consultants belong to professional organizations, such as the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), or Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA)​. Membership requires consultants to demonstrate an advanced level of education and relevant experience, and to strictly adhere to a set of professional standards and ethical principles. 

How do I find a qualified independent educational consultant? 
The membership associations can help you identify a consultant based on specialty or geographic location. 




​​International Student Recruitment Agency or Agent

  • ​A company (agency) or individual (agent) contracted and paid by universities in other countries to advise and recruit students to those institutions. 
  • Usually, the agency/agent is paid by its partner university only if and after a referred student enrolls and begins taking classes. This payment is often a percentage of a student's tuition fees, or a flat rate, and is called commission. 
  • Most likely to recommend universities they represent. May also be able to help you apply to universities that are not their partners. 
Tip: If you are considering an agent's services, ask to see a list of their partner universities. It is important to choose an agent who represents a diverse set of regionally accredited or recognized universities. This will help ensure that you find a university that meets your academic and personal goals. 

Agent Quality Assurance

The following are examples of organization and efforts aimed at agent quality assurance. This may take the form of training, certification, membership eligibility verification, and other assessments. 
Important to note: There is currently no independent corroboration of the effectiveness of such efforts that claim to monitor quality. 

The information presented above is presented as is and without warranty of any kind. NACAC shall not in any event be liable to any user or any third party for any direct or indirect loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused by the information contained herein and referenced.​​