I was meaning to write this post for very long period of time. In fact, I believe, not getting this post out sooner already made lots of students get scammed aiming to study in Canada or anywhere abroad.
However, let me defend myself saying “better late than never”.
This post is gonna highlight all my experiences when I was doing my study in Canada process in India. And, this is happening all over the world where these study abroad consultants exist.
Be it Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, UAE, Middle East or wherever you are located. It’s happening with everyone and it can happen with you. Only few people know about it and it needs to go out as much as possible.
I am gonna tell you everything about all those so called “expert study abroad consultants” trying to scam the hell out of my parents’ hard earned money.
The chances are, you are already going through all that I am gonna share here and you are on time to save yourself from the mess by reading this article.
A Little Background
I came here in Canada in 2016 to study Master’s in Computer Science. Graduated in 2018 with Master’s degree and an awesome (paid) internship from Blackberry. Now, I am on work permit visa and working full-time as Software Engineer in Toronto. Lastly, it’s not related but I also do have my own black Ford Focus SE sports car which I drive almost daily. I love the car. And, yes you are right. I need to be better at giving introductions. Sorry about that!
However, all this could not have happened if I did not keep making wise decisions when I was doing my whole study in Canada process back in India. Man! If you are at the same place right now, I feel you. I know how frustrating it is to do back and forth trips to your college/university to get documents, go to banks to pay the fees, look for the flight tickets and on top off all these, there are these gems to deal with called by various names like STUDY ABROAD CONSULTANTS, STUDY ABROAD COUNSELORS, STUDY IN CANADA EXPERT ADVISORS, STUDY IN AUSTRALIA WITH NO IELTS, STUDY IN USA WITH FULL SCHOLARSHIP, AND WHAT NOT!
For some reasons, I felt to make them bold and caps because that’s how they pretend to be while talking when you visit them. Bold & Caps!
Motivation Behind This Post
Well! I feel sad. Yes I do. I will tell you why.
Running a genuine “study in Canada help provided by students and for students” website, I get contacted by people around the globe looking for healthy suggestions. Some people contact me right on time at the very beginning of the process. Some, however, contact me when it’s late to save them from the mess they created already.
I will give you a scenario what happens each time an aspiring student contacts me.
The first thing I ask them is their chosen course and program.
If their reply is some Master’s program at some awesome university, I feel great. If this is the reply, I ask them whatever further help they want in terms of visa application or whatsoever and provide them with best suggestions I possibly could.
If their reply is Diploma, Post Graduate Diploma, Certificate or some other course at college name I never heard of, I ask more questions.
The next thing I ask is their academic and work experience profile.
If the guy or girl has completed bachelors or in some cases Masters as well, has awesome CGPA/percentage, no backlogs, more than 6.5 or more than 7.5 IELTS bands, some work experience along with some more good things, I start feeling concerned.
Way too much concerned.
The last thing I ask, for which I already know the answer is, “Did you hire any study in Canada consultant OR are you doing the whole study in Canada process on your own?”
In 95% cases, their reply is positive meaning, yes, they hired those “self-proclaimed expert” consultants or study abroad help gurus.
Trust me! This is where my blood literally starts boiling. And, it kept boiling at certain level for so many months that, I finally had to jump on my website and write this article.
I won’t insist you much, but if you are seriously serious about your career in Canada or possibly anywhere abroad, you better DIGEST this article. If I were you, I would definitely read this multiple times to save myself from big troubles.
A wise man once said very wisely:
“I rarely make any decisions in my life, but when I do, I make sure I make wise ones.”
You might be thinking why am I making big fuss about people contacting and telling me they are going for Diploma courses at the “colleges I never heard of”.
Well. Pretty soon, you will get to know why.
Buddy! I will also show you how those colleges look like in real as compared to how those consultants show you in those templates. Some pictures are clicked by me roaming around in Ontario and other provinces in Canada. When I said “dark truth about colleges in Canada” in my article title, I one-hundred-percent meant that!
Revealing the Dark Truth About Studying in Canada Help Consultants
I don’t want to tease you much. It would be better if I tell you the dark truth first and then ponder upon the whole topic later. Here you go.
If I had to put the whole study in Canada scam in just one word, it would be “commission”.
You might be thinking. Woah! What’s that!
Let me explain.
Imagine someone has 30,000$. Canadian Dollars.
How cool? Right.
Imagine 10%, 20%, 30% as well as 40% of that 30,000$.
If you are not a math junkie, it’s 3000$, 6000$, 9000$ and 12000$ respectively.
Imagine that person just randomly decides to give you 10% share.
It would be 3000$. That’s cool.
Imagine that person just randomly decides to give you 20% share.
It would be 6000$. That’s super cool.
Imagine that person just randomly decides to give you 30% share.
It would be 9000$. That’s mega cool. Like Canada’s winter level cool.
Imagine that person just randomly decides to give you 40% share.
It would be 12000$. In this case, you have struck a lottery! Right?
What if I tell you to turn the wheels?
What if you are that person who has 30,000 CAD?
What if you (forcefully) need to give away the mentioned percentage amount of share to somebody?
Well. Like it or not but, that’s what happening between you, your future career, the college/program you are supposedly taking and those “expert” consultants.
Yes. It’s legit right.
In this scenario, 30,000 CAD is the fees you are supposed to pay to the college and consultant gets to keep hefty amount of money from your fees to his pocket.
Many colleges here in Canada are more than happy to give away those percentage amount to anybody who would provide them with “a constant supply of students” every year.
You are just that. A part of that supply.
Why these scheme happens?
You see the education industry is billion dollar business. These reckless colleges don’t care about quality of education, classrooms, faculties or anything.
They don’t care about you.
For them, it’s just that. Business!
There are numbers of colleges in Canada running 1 hour classes per one batch from 7 AM in the morning to 10 PM in the night. Same classes for same programs because they can’t accommodate more than 100 students in one class.
Imagine having 500 students in the same program you are studying at the same college for the same field. Just studying from the same faculty but different time. Imagine being that poor exhausted faculty who needs to teach same class, 6 times a day. Or imagine studying from that faculty in last class of the day. Ok. I will stop now.
But, that’s what literally happens.
These colleges want to get as many students as they possibly can. Because providing education is not a concern to them since no quality control is involved.
What they have in place is process and capacity.
The real thing is nobody knows about them.
Ask yourself this question. Why would someone know a good college or university?
It can only happen if students graduating from those colleges and universities spread some good news.
It can only happen if graduated students get high paying jobs and world gets to see the outcome.
In the case of such bad colleges, this never happens. Students graduating from them barely get field job let alone high paying ones. In worst cases, they don’t even finish their studies and return back to their country mid studies just because what they are experiencing is not something what they have been promised. It’s sheer frustration to go through all that.
The only hope for such colleges to get students in pool is nasty marketing. As the only hope available, they need to rely on education consultants available all over the world.
It’s a business partnership among them which ruins your career. Sad but reality.
Psychology & Scare Tactics Consultants Use to Brainwash Your Mind
The another problem that I encounter on regular basis is, to explain all these things to an already brainwashed-by-consultant student. I also believe it’s hard to let someone ruin the beautiful pictures you have in your mind. If you are already thinking you are going to own a house tomorrow and I come and tell, you are not going to own anything, it’s gonna be hard for you to believe for sure.
If you never visited those consultants, I guess it’s my lucky day.
If you visited them and got yourself brainwashed, just think that thing never happened in first place.
Let me tell you my own story first.
As mentioned before, I am a Master’s in Computer Science graduate from University of Windsor now.
My program started in January 2017 and I finished in April 2018.
But, let’s rewind the movie all the way back to somewhere in June-July 2016 when I was doing all my process for studying in Canada.
When I decided I want to go to Canada, I knew nothing about it. I had no relatives here. Not many friends. And, I also didn’t know any senior who could help me.
I was all on my own.
I was insecure. Just like you are right now. Super scared while making any decision but mindful at the same time. Mostly scared though.
My whole family was with me in terms of doing research and analysis. One day my Dad told me he knows someone whose son is also planning for Canada. How about I and that guy get in touch with each other? To which, I said yeah sure. Why not!
At the very next day, we both got in contact and discussed few things focused around studying in Canada. It’s safe to say that guy was super novice and had no clue what he was speaking. However, during conversation, he mentioned this “Sir” on whom he is relying heavily for his whole process. He thinks that “Sir” is expert in this field just because he visited many countries. Especially Canada many a times. For this article’s purpose, we will call that “Sir”, Jack Sir.
Man! Even after 4 years, I clearly remember the enthusiasm he showed while telling me to visit Jack Sir’s office for my whole study in Canada process. Jack Sir was probably God-alike human to my new friend. I was convinced.
Next thing you know I was sitting in Jack Sir’s office.
Glass floor. Glassed wall. Air-conditioned. Located at top floor in city’s most expensive building in super Porsche area. That was Jack Sir’s office. Honestly, I was flabbergasted!
After around one hour of giving our names to receptionist, Jack Sir calls us inside.
We both sit facing Jack Sir wearing a black suit amidst a mid of Indian summer.
Wow! My inner-self shouted. Super excited.
Here’s the exact dialogue that happened on that day.
Jack Sir: So, what are you guys planning for?
My friend: Sir, I am already doing my process with you. Today, we are here for my friend who is planning for Canada.
Jack Sir gives a look he barely knows my friend who technically sings praises about him daily.
Me: Yes. I am dreaming to study in Canada. Possibly a Master’s degree.
Jack Sir (while grabbing pen & paper from his drawer): I see. What field? And, what’s your profile?
Me: Computer Science. I studied Bachelors in Computer Science from (put very good university here). I don’t have any experience other than industry based project I did.
Jack Sir (writes it down on paper. circles it): What about IELTS?
Me: I didn’t give it yet. I am about to take it next week.
Jack Sir: What’s your percentage and do you have any backlogs?
Me: 70%. I do have one backlog that I cleared in first try.
(Note: This is where Jack Sir figured what he needs to hold strong throughout our conversation. He didn’t make it up. He made me to spit it out for him. Yes. My backlog. My insecurity. He knows, that’s my insecurity. Partly because of the way I expressed it and mostly because, hey! Experience, my friend! Years of experience figuring out people’s insecurity!)
Jack Sir: Ammm! That’s tough! To be honest, 70% is bit low to get accepted for Masters program. And, especially that one backlog makes it even harder if not impossible.
I get bit nervous. He just said something I wasn’t prepared to hear. He scared me. There you go. Scare tactics working like charm! Nothing comes out of my mind except…
(Note: This is where Jack Sir accomplished his first goal. To scare me. His next mission is to cool me down and tell me good things. He starts rambling false positive and false negative things at the same time. False negatives for Masters programs. False positives for the Diploma and certificate programs. The programs from where he gets to make those big banks and afford an office like that.)
Jack Sir: However. There’s nothing to worry about. In fact, most Masters programs are theoretical and don’t focus on practical knowledge. All you do is read big books and pass exams. Also, you need to go to university everyday for around 8 hours. You can’t get a job after you graduate. Companies don’t hire Master’s graduates. They want practical knowledge. There’s this course called “Diploma in Mobile Application Development” at a no-named college. Our firm has sent 15 students for this course two years ago and most of them work for Canadian banks and few work for companies like Google and Facebook. Also, only two days studies and rest of the things are practical that you will have to do from home.
(The next thing is where consultants like Jack Sir focus more and hit hard. This is more sensitive if your mom or dad are with you in their office. If that’s the case, for the next part, they will stop talking with you for a while and start talking with your parents.)
Jack Sir: The most important thing is, fees in colleges are almost half than the fees for universities. Also, the jobs that you will be getting after completing diploma in mobile application development would be more than 8000$ per month while the Masters degree will barely fetch you 3000$ per month jobs.
(Random crap continues for what seemed like an endless time. All hearing good, positive things. My current-self genuinely laughs for my in-that-office-self.)
I feel a lot relieved now. I was hearing lot of good things. I was seeing that light at the end of the tunnel. And, the person showing me that light was none other than Jack Sir.
I was believing everything he said.
Why wouldn’t I? I mean just look at the place I was sitting. Look at the person explaining me everything. Look at that shelf full of awards. He also has the picture of himself receiving an award from chief minister of the state.
Man! I must believe him. He is an “expert” in this field. I am nobody. I know nothing in terms of Canada. He has been there. He knows everything.
At this moment, it’s not only Jack Sir who is convincing me but, I am also convincing myself with all these thoughts.
He proceeds to tell the last thing which is music to everyone’s ear and perhaps the most highest selling point for all these consultants.
Jack Sir: Lastly, if you decide to go for this college course, we would do the whole process for you for absolutely free. In the case you try to apply for University, the charges for that is 30,000 INR. Nearly 500 CAD.
I get much happier. The 30,000 INR got removed just like that from my overall expenses for study in Canada process. The truth is, it never existed there at the first place. Jack Sir just added it and then removed it. There goes the psychology.
Me: I will have to think about it.
Jack Sir: You will have to hurry as the seats are getting full and you might need to apply for next intake if you don’t hurry.
(Note: It’s called creating scarcity. Take that like an online shopping site continuously prompting to buy before the sell ends.)
The dark truth is there are hundreds if not thousands of Jack Sirs located all over the world in similarly structured offices. They claim themselves as experts in study abroad counselling. Truth is they know nothing. It’s a business for them. Your career means nothing to them. There’s one thing which matters to them most one way or another. Money!
Once you give them your documents and agree to let them do the whole process, you are pretty much stuck. They keep you in that circle of false positive things.
By the time you realize everything, it would be very late. I mean it’s the process. Right? And, the process continues.
You might realize it after paying the fees.
You might realize it after applying for visa.
You might realize it after booking a flight.
You might realize it after actually coming in Canada and attending your first class.
Truth is you will realize it at some point. And, the regret won’t be a good feeling.
How do you save yourself from such brainwashing consultants?
I managed to save myself from that trap. Many of my friends who had more amazing profile than me, couldn’t.
It took me days and nights of research that I did on my own by checking college websites, university websites, course descriptions, side by side comparisons, actually contacting real people studying in University and talking with them about future opportunities after graduation.
I am a man of internet and I know where to explore good stuff. I went at the level where I went on LinkedIn, searched for people graduating from certain college, certain university and certain program and created a huge spreadsheet of their background, their current job, whether I talked with them through messages and what not.
I then did in-depth analysis comparing the jobs and internships that university graduate fetched versus the jobs that college diploma graduates fetched.
I also compared the tuition fees for college programs and university programs side by side. I made a spreadsheet for that as well. To be honest, there’s no difference at all in terms of fees for colleges and universities. Not even slight.
I came up with my own truth. Realizing what is better for me and what is worst.
At this point, you might be asking, why am I so pro-university and anti-college guy?
To be honest, I have so much to tell that it deserves another article. I don’t want to bore you guys with two contextually different thing in the same article. I will post a link here once I write it or you can contact our group at TeamAbroadHero@gmail.com if you want to know more. We would love to help.
However, for now, just keep in mind that if you have decent enough profile to get Master’s programs at some university, then go for it. Don’t even think about colleges. Trust me the difference is same as day and night. Put it like what everything that consultant told me about colleges apply for universities and master degree and vice versa.
Master’s degree means higher credibility. Better reputation. Strong resume. Better jobs. More opportunities. More respect.
I am not bragging but there’s a reason why Master’s degree is called Master’s and Diploma a Diploma.
Is Diploma Level Courses and Programs at Colleges that Bad?
Not at all. I feel like I talked too much bad about Diploma programs as well as colleges. I am sorry about that. My point was to feel too much bad and sad about consultants dragging me for something I don’t deserve. And, not the Diploma programs and colleges in general.
In fact, many of my friends graduated with Diploma from good colleges and they are doing pretty decent in terms of job and way of living.
For sure, there exists awesome colleges and decent quality programs.
So, don’t take me in wrong way.
My focus was to talk about what’s comparatively more good in terms of Masters level programs and Diploma level programs.
At the end, I would say only one thing. Make wise decisions. Meaning, if you worked hard in your bachelor’s and managed to get good grades and awesome profile, you managed to get overall 6.5 or more bands and carry an above average profile, absolutely go for Master’s courses. If not, then only settle with something less desirable but decent enough to make yourself in better positions. Never ever believe those consultants. Stay away from them as much as you can. Try to do your own research.
You are gonna do everything just for one single time, in terms of your study in Canada process. Why not do it right?