In the past century, we have seen countless industries where traditional business models have been disrupted and the competitive landscapes transformed beyond recognition. From the challenge self-driving cars are posing to the automobile industry to the disruption Amazon and e-books are presenting to the traditional publishing industry, rare is an industry that has escaped unscathed. The Chinese study abroad industry is no exception. China is the biggest country of origin for international students globally and the number of students studying overseas looks set to be on an upward trajectory in the near future. However, it has been the historical model that Chinese students looking to study abroad to utilize study abroad agents, who hand-hold students through every step of the process, from school selection to essay tutoring to visa applications. That model may be about to change.
In order to understand how that might be so, let’s dig a little deeper into how a digital online platform in China holds up as compared to a traditional Chinese study abroad agent
Online platforms work to keep costs affordable on all ends of the spectrum so as to prioritize partnering with universities in order to assist students to their fullest capacity. Typically, a small fixed fee for schools on an annual basis, which is much lower than a standard commission fee study-abroad agents charge to schools.
Agents charge a certain commission per applicant, which usually amounts to a percentage of the tuition fee for an entire semester.
Partner schools have their own profile page on the platform, which showcases their customized value proposition to Chinese applicants. Moreover, an online platform can help schools reach out to Chinese students nation-wide.
Unlike an online platform, study abroad agencies have limited resources and reach. Agents are only able to reach out to a small percentage of their local student population in China. Schools who depend on agents thereby run the risk of missing out on brilliant students with the right fit but who may not be in the geographical reach of the agents they are using.
All users on an online platform can connect with one another via direct messaging and any party online can view their profiles. Students and schools can connect with each other directly on the platform from the very beginning and there is no coyness or mystery as to the identity of either party.
Throughout the entire process of applying to schools, it’s usually the agent who communicates with schools on behalf of students. Students do not get to communicate with schools until the very last step or interview. This increases the risk of information misalignment. With customer guarantees and KPIs to live up to, the risk of falsifying student applications or completing them on the behalf of students in order to ensure admission is higher.
Online platforms are typically free for student users, thereby enabling students to apply to universities that best fit their needs and circumstances, regardless of their economic / financial circumstances.
Driven by societal and parental pressure, Chinese students usually pay a sizeable commission fee to agents.
As more and more Chinese students continue to pursue their education overseas, the ultimate question for both students and universities boils down to this: Is this the best fit for both the applicant and the university? Foreign universities looking to succeed in the China market need to figure out the best way to market their value propositions to potential Millennial Generation student applicants from China.
Stellour is an innovative online platform, which connects Chinese student applicants with foreign universities. Stellour believes that every student has the right to higher education and we provide comprehensive resources that make this possible. The Stellour Platform is a first in the China market and will be the wave of the future in the Chinese study abroad market.
At Stellour, we have a broad database of student users that is increasing exponentially every month. These students are interested in studying abroad and are engaged through a series of seminars, webinars and other fun activities. These students will be graduating from foreign universities with an international outlook and a distinctive mindset. Through our third party service providers such as career counselors and interview coaches, we will continue to engage these students. Not only can these students interact directly with foreign universities and third party service providers, they can also network among themselves, even after they return to their home country. As such, these students will have a unique identity and a sense of community among themselves.
Stellour’s transparent and neutral online platform enables students to choose schools according to their preferences and needs, rather than according to which school offers the higher commission to the agent. Our Platform also decreases the risk of application fraud and cheating. Students who use the Stellour Platform to enroll in universities overseas are more likely to be a great fit for both student and school as well as be a success in his or her chosen university.