Higher education recruiting has always been a competitive field, and COVID has only increased the competition between higher education institutions. It is important for any college or university to be available to any prospective student in 2021 at any hour of the day. Having a live autonomous chatbot on your site 24/7 is critical for institutions to effectively communicate with a digital-first student throughout their journey; from inquiry to graduation.
The old way of communicating with students through the mail or on the phone is no longer effective. A survey of generation Z students shows 60 percent prefer texting to talking on the phone. Not only that, but a full 50% of respondents still have their parents make appointments for them. In another survey, 75% say they’d rather lose the ability to talk than text. Having a chatbot is an absolute necessity for the younger generations as traditional phone calling becomes less common, and texting becomes the standard method of communication.
The incredible popularity of the Common App among high school students is helping applications rise around the country. However, this rise is primarily helping the larger, more prominent universities, and leaving smaller, less-competitive institutions in trouble. Along with the battle for incoming students during the pandemic, institutions were forced to make tough decisions by reducing their recruiting and marketing staff.
With limited staff, it is important to make every possible effort to increase opportunities for prospective students to apply to your university. How can higher ed institutions do this, with limited staff and team members? In a case study with Purdue University, 52% of their accepted applications came from their chatbot, and 88% of all chatbot conversations were handled completely by the chatbot, without the need for any human staff involvement. This ability for universities to meet the information demands of students 24 hours a day can give them an incredible advantage and provide a more positive student experience, while also increasing yield and retention rates across the board.