Types of international agencies

There are a few, usually government-funded, agencies which act as impartial providers of free information about education in the UK, and may help students with the application process in general terms, for example The British Council.

On the other hand, there are many agencies around the world which make their money by making the connection between a potential student and a university course.  In the vast majority of cases, the agents make their money because they have a formal agreement with the university whose courses they promote, and they receive a commission from the university for every student who joins the course. Others charge the students a fee, and they may act as an admission agent for the university, checking the students' application, helping them with their personal statement and making sure that the students possess the qualifications required for joining the course. Another approach used by agents is to charge the student applicant for help getting their visa - such help is not required, as the International Student Support team offer a full visa support service and plenty of information to the applicant regarding the visa application process.

Imperial College London's policy on working with agents

Imperial College London does not have any formal or informal arrangements with any agents or counsellors anywhere in the world.

We will not pay anyone commission for sending us a student, nor would we want anyone to charge a student for processing an application to Imperial College London on their behalf.

We unequivocally disapprove of (and reserve the right to take legal action against) agents who claim to be operating on our behalf, or to have a 'special relationship' with us, and charge students for an application on the grounds that the student will have a better chance of getting into Imperial College London through them than if the student had applied directly themselves.