High school students have more options than ever, and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 will have lasting effects on higher education enrollment. The push toward online education and the changing student experience on campus is creating a situation for incoming (and current) students where they are deciding if the traditional college experience is the right choice.
With these increased options and decisions, how does a higher education institution encourage students to enroll at their school instead of the competition? And how does a school with limited staff working traditional “business hours” communicate and engage with these students when they are available, which is often not during those normal hours?
Incoming students are encouraged to apply to between three and eight different schools. Chances are if they’ve been accepted into your institution, they also were accepted into several others. How do you ensure that those accepted students choose your campus over the other options they may have? Higher education institutions have been battling “summer melt” for years, and with fewer resources available to admissions departments, automation enables schools to stay in touch with students and ensure yield rates move in the right direction.
An autonomous chatbot can easily keep the conversation going with students after they have been accepted, keeping their interest levels high while reminding them of key upcoming deadlines or things they need to know as they prepare to enroll. The data is clear, generation Z students prefer to engage with a chatbot over speaking to someone in person or on the phone, and often students are unavailable during the “normal business hours” that admissions and financial aid staff are in the office.
The conversational nature of a chatbot fits perfectly with the communication preferences of today’s student. Through a chatbot, students can learn about academic programs or get instant answers to financial aid questions.
There are also have a lot of concerns about how campus, student life, and academic programs are being affected by COVID-19. With information changing on a weekly or even daily basis, keeping your entire staff updated on the latest details can be impossible. With a chatbot, every student can receive consistent, predictable answers to their questions. By putting information at the fingertips of your students, 24 hours a day, you are able to improve the entire student experience and ensure more students choose to matriculate at your institution over all other options.