$220,000 to ensure you go to Oxford Cambridge? The truth about the "guarantee admission" of study abroad agencies is this
Sino-Singapore Jingwei Client, August 13 (Luo Kun intern Tang Xiaoyu) "Surely get an offer from a prestigious British school", "Zero-conditional admission, easily achieve curve overtaking"...Recently, a Sino-Singapore Jingwei reporter learned during an investigation that some With the gimmick of "guaranteed admission", the study abroad agency claims that even if the applicant does not meet the enrollment requirements of a prestigious overseas school, as long as they pay enough money, they can go to the prestigious school of their choice.
Low-profile version guarantee admission: spend money to enter the "water project"
This 30-year-old Wu Xu studied in a foreign language university for undergraduate studies. In his senior year, he successfully went to the UK to study with the help of a study abroad institution.
In recent years, driven by the upsurge of studying abroad, study abroad agencies have sprung up. According to data released by the Ministry of Education in 2019, the total number of Chinese students studying abroad in 2018 was 662,100, an increase of 53,700 compared with 2017.
There are not a few students who choose study abroad agents like Wu Xu. For many students applying for overseas schools, intermediaries can help choose schools, write essays, etc. After all, the application requirements and time of each school are different. A well-known intermediary can save themselves a lot of time and energy. More importantly, many intermediaries will provide students with a guaranteed option. As long as students pay the intermediary fees, they will definitely be able to study abroad. If there is no school admission, they can refund part or all of the intermediary fees. a good choice.
“I first looked for an agency because I didn’t understand anything and didn’t want to study it myself. I thought it was too troublesome.” Lin Yang, 24, is currently studying film in the United States and came to the present through an overseas study agency a few years ago. His school is the guaranteed school that the intermediary provided him.
Liu Xin, a senior industry professional who has been engaged in studying abroad services for a long time, introduced to the Sino-Singapore Jingwei client that this is actually a low-profile version of guaranteed admission. By charging students a certain fee, they promise to push students into some projects in prestigious schools. It requires students to meet certain grades. However, this kind of project is called "water project" in the industry. It has a high possibility of admission but low gold content, and there may be a phenomenon of defrauding student service fees.
According to the Sino-Singapore Jingwei Client, the current fees for study abroad agencies on the market vary. The fees for small workshops for three to five people are relatively low, and the intermediary fees can be as low as several thousand yuan, while the fees for relatively large study abroad agencies are even higher. , Generally starting at 20,000, depending on the school and the students’ qualifications, as many as 100,000.
Wu Xu said that in order to achieve the effect of guaranteeing admission, some intermediaries will deliberately lower students' expectations. "I later learned that I could apply to a better school, but the agent told me that I could only apply to the top 50 schools at this level."
After Lin Yang studied in Baodi school for a period of time, he finally decided to transfer. This time, he did not choose an intermediary, but went to his dream school (ideal school) through his own efforts.
High-profile version guarantee admission: $220,000 to Oxford and Cambridge?
Compared with the low-profile version guarantee admission fees, the high-profile version guarantee admission fees are staggering.
According to Liu Xin, high-profile enrollment refers to opening up relationships through donations, referrals, etc., so as to promote students to prestigious schools, but most institutions do not have corresponding strengths, and the number of donations and referrals provided by schools is limited, so Many so-called large institutions will have a large number of refunds when doing this type of guaranteed admission service.
Zhang Cheng is an agency consultant who is engaged in high-profile admissions guarantees. According to him, currently G5 schools in the UK can guarantee admissions, and some schools can even exempt IELTS scores. G5 is the collective name of five elite schools in the UK, including Cambridge University, Oxford University, Imperial College London, University College London, and London School of Economics. After learning about the colleges and grade points of the China-Singapore Jingwei reporters, Zhang Cheng sent a list of schools that can guarantee admission.
List of guaranteed admission schools provided by Zhang Cheng
Zhang Cheng said that the school shown in the picture can basically be admitted with zero conditions, even if the results are not up to the standard, but the price will be relatively higher. Zhang Cheng said that unlike ordinary intermediary agencies, their institution cooperates with the school admissions officer, so they can get admissions. In addition, the guaranteed schools are all prestigious schools, and the prices are high, basically around RMB 400,000 or 500 thousand. However, the price of top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge starts at US$220,000, and there is only one place in Oxford a year, and bidding is required. And whoever has good grades and who pays more can get this place.
In addition, the price of other G5 schools is around 600,000 yuan, of which UCL (University College London) has more places. If you confirm the contract, you need to pay a 30% deposit first, and then pay the full amount after you get the offer. At the same time, Zhang Cheng also promised that if he did not receive the Offer, he would refund the full amount.
Chat history between reporter and agency
According to Zhang Cheng, the clerical teachers in the organization are all graduated from the American Ivy League school. Ivy League refers to the Ivy League, including eight well-known universities in the northeastern United States including Harvard. But for the document case, Zhang Cheng said that it can only be provided after signing a contract. When a reporter from Zhongxin Jingwei asked to look at the content of the contract first, Zhang Cheng said that the company's internal information should not be casually leaked to prevent colleagues from obtaining information and refused to provide it.
Another consultant, Wang Ming, who also provides high-end guarantee admission services, revealed to a reporter from China-Singapore Jingwei that all G5 schools in the UK except Oxford and Cambridge need about 1 million yuan. After all, "you get what you pay for."
"Cheap institutions are all fake materials, otherwise it will help you get to school at a loss. Enrollment is to go through the relationship of admissions officers and managers, donating more money, and most people are not willing or unable to donate." Wang Ming Say.
In order to prove that his organization has strong connections, Wang Ming sent many photos with celebrities such as Obama and Buffett. Not only that, Wang Ming also took the initiative to expose the insider information of other admission guarantee institutions. For example, the intermediary will declare many schools and guarantee the bottom of the school with the lowest ranking. Wang Ming promised that his admission service will only report one school. . Subsequently, Wang Ming took the initiative to send tweets and other information about "revealing secrets and guaranteeing admissions" for several days, and urged reporters to sign with him as soon as possible.
The reporter sent a letter of inquiry to the admissions office of Oxford University, Cambridge University and other schools to verify whether he knew of the admission guarantees promoted by some intermediaries, but as of press time, no response has been received.
Insiders: Black box operation is extremely risky
Is this kind of guaranteed admission really reliable? Liu Xin pointed out that this kind of high-profile guarantee admission is called a high certainty item abroad, that is, through trying to go through internal channels to enter a prestigious school, but it does not guarantee that students will be successfully admitted. This program requires higher resources for the institution itself. . When some institutions provide such guaranteed admission services, they often mislead students under the banner of "admissions officers", thereby attracting students to sign up for services, but in fact, this admissions officer may not exist at all; or intermediary agencies and foreign companies Cooperation, recruiting former admissions officers of various universities, and using their predecessors to induce students to believe that they have internal channels.
Liu Zhenfeng, general manager of MaxEDU, pointed out to the Sino-Singapore Jingwei client that many institutions that provide guaranteed admission services claim that they are recommended by school managers, but the number of school managers is limited and their status is extremely high, and many school managers He is the helm of a listed company.
"I don't believe that there are school managers who are willing to ignore their reputation just because they are more than one million yuan. Moreover, a large part of the one million yuan is taken away by intermediary companies, so I don't recommend students to go wrong." Liu Zhenfeng Said that this model itself is extremely risky, and there are many uncertainties in the black-box operation. Even after the success, the student's own abilities are not up to the standard, and the school will still be ordered to withdraw from school, and the gain will not be worth the loss.
In fact, there have been such precedents before. Some Chinese students were asked to drop out after being discovered by overseas universities that the application materials were false, even if the students claimed that they were unaware of the intermediary fraud.
In 2018, Hong Kong Baptist University and other universities called on students and parents to be vigilant and not to be fooled. In an interview with the media, the University of Hong Kong and others stated that it has never entrusted any agency or individual in the Mainland to enroll students, nor has it cooperated with any intermediary agency for interview training. The school reminds parents and candidates that it is best to call the applicant institution for verification before paying the fees. .
Lawyer: Intermediary or false propaganda
Li Min, a senior partner at Shanghai Hansheng Law Firm, pointed out that the existence of an overseas study agency is inherently legal, but when an agency recommends students to study abroad, because foreign prestigious schools normally rely on donations, internal referrals, etc., the number of admissions is limited, and the agency cannot do it. 100% guarantee that the student is successfully admitted, so the intermediary may have some false propaganda behaviors, and the contract between the student and the intermediary may be deemed to be fraudulent, which leads to the cancellation of the contract.
Regarding the “opening up relationship” mentioned by the intermediary, Li Min believes that if the intermediary has committed bribery to the school and the student is aware of the intermediary's bribery, then the student may also have problems and it is difficult to hold the intermediary responsible; Without knowing it, and the contract or the intermediary itself cannot prove that the student knows, then the intermediary agency did not accept the intention of the client and indicated that it would do some entrusted behavior, causing the student to be dropped out, which constitutes a tort. In this case, the student can request the intermediary for compensation after being dropped out of school, but the specifics still need to see the contract. If a student fails to enter a prestigious school, the student can only compensate for the intermediary service in the contract.
Regarding the current study abroad industry, Liu Xin suggested that when choosing an intermediary, students can first learn about the company through some business information query websites, such as what economic disputes the company has in previous years, and the disputes between the company and its customers. In addition, students should also have a detailed understanding of the disadvantages of the guaranteed admission program. Usually, in the promotion process, the organization will grasp the student's psychology of wanting to enter a prestigious school. Therefore, students need to understand the success rate of the institution's guaranteed admissions in previous years, and cannot listen to the words of the agency.
Li Min reminded students that in the process of signing an intermediary contract, students must read the terms clearly and clarify the rights and obligations of both parties. "What services does Intermediate provide? What are the payment terms? If it is not reached, what responsibilities should Intermediate assume? These require reasonable negotiation and confirmation by both parties, and a clear contractual agreement.” (Zhongxin Jingwei APP)
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(At the request of the interviewee, Wu Xu, Liu Xin, Lin Yang, Zhang Cheng, and Wang Ming in the article are all pseudonyms)