I occasionally receive inquiries from colleagues asking me how many students will I refer to their institutions by a certain term, i.e., semester or quarter. The assumption behind the question is that the company I work for, Capstone Vietnam, a full-service educational consulting company, follows the traditional agent model of student recruitment.
In fact, we have our own unique model that views students and parents as clients not partner institutions that happen to pay a per head commission. This means we don’t drive, or pressure, students to attend a partner school but rather look for “best fit” schools, regardless of their status.
If a student ends up attending a partner institution, we refund our fee to the parents because we receive a commission later. If s/he enrolls in a non-partner school, we retain the fee because that’s how we get paid for the service. It’s an ethical approach to educational advising that also makes financial sense.
That’s part of the answer.
Another is that growing numbers of Vietnamese students are applying directly to certain types of educational institutions, thereby bypassing educational consulting companies. This is a positive trend that I applaud. (It includes students who attend Capstone events.) More power to them, in my opinion. It reminds me of a slogan from a now defunct US discount retail clothing store chain, SYMS, that was ingrained in my memory, thanks to persistent and pervasive marketing: An Educated Consumer is our Best Customer.