USC Aiken Taps AI to Help Students Transition to College

Staff Report From Aiken CEO

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

The University of South Carolina Aiken announced the launch of a new, artificially intelligent chatbot designed to provide prospective students with personalized, on-demand support throughout the admissions and enrollment process. The conversational AI tool was developed in partnership with AdmitHub, which partners with colleges and universities around the country to help students navigate the transition to college. 

"Today's college students communicate differently, and when we saw email responsiveness begin to decline, we knew we needed a solution that could meet students where they are," said Daniel Robb, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management at USC Aiken. "This cutting-edge AI technology has enabled us to communicate directly with students in real-time via text message -- helping ensure a smooth start to the college experience and giving more students across the United States the chance to pursue a college education."

USC Aiken, recently ranked the #1 public regional college in the South by U.S. News & World Report, launched the chatbot to help address persistent gaps in college access. Across the country, one in five accepted students never arrive on campus, often due to challenges navigating a maze of paperwork and financial aid requirements. Recent research, however, has shown that chatbots can reduce so-called "summer melt" by more than 20 percent. To date, since the launch of USC Aiken's chatbot, 28% more students have committed to enrolling and 58% more have signed up for first-year orientation in fall 2019 compared with fall 2018.

"Preparing for college is about more than academics -- and it's often the non-academic factors, from financial aid paperwork to unexpected deadlines, that create the most significant barriers for students," said Drew Magliozzi, Co-Founder and CEO of AdmitHub. "AI can help colleges not only respond to students' questions at the moment of need -- but also learn from thousands of interactions to better anticipate and address common challenges."

AdmitHub's popular conversational AI solutions are used by a cross-section of higher education institutions across North America to provide on-demand student assistance via text message and through Facebook Messenger, answering questions in real time and connecting students to appropriate advisors and resources.