How can institutions be intentional in the way they recruit, engage, and retain students for the fall semester--and beyond? Emerging technologies can help.

3 ways emerging technologies support student recruitment and enrollment

How can institutions be intentional in the way they recruit, engage, and retain students for the fall semester--and beyond?

By using artificial intelligence to build a picture of the student’s academic and non-academic interests, institutions will be able to assess the applicant’s preferences when considering schools, programs, and extracurriculars. In-depth analysis of student data through artificial intelligence will arm institutions with the tools to better target the right students for their programs.

Become accessible to everyone, all the time

Customer service is no longer limited to human interactions. Online chatbots equipped with sophisticated natural language processing (NLP) can help provide answers to prospective students through the eligibility assessment and application process. A digital assistant’s 24/7 availability provides greater convenience for students and families who are unable to call during business hours and reduces the time spent by staff answering admissions inquiries. These conversational interfaces adapt through machine learning to create a personalized and supportive environment to field students’ questions.

The University of Adelaide, for example, created a chatbot that enabled prospective students to quickly access their ATAR scores in just three minutes, rather than the usual 40-minute wait to obtain that information by phone. Implementing services like chatbots will be essential for making the college experience more accessible to students.

Reduce the headache of financial aid

For many students pursuing a degree, the first concern is finances. When applications flood the financial aid office, universities shouldn’t be caught unprepared. Schools that can quickly and clearly communicate what amount of aid students are eligible for help their likelihood of attracting new students and retaining existing ones. Instead of expecting institutional staff to manually process aid forms on an archaic IT system, institutions must modernize to a more transparent, efficient, and user-friendly experience. Cloud-first automated systems allow students to easily submit necessary documents, receive alerts for discrepancies, and test how changes in their application might affect their financial status. This increases operational efficiencies and gives valuable time back to staff, which can be spent interacting directly with students. Student-centric platforms like these will streamline the recruitment process and ease headaches both for students and financial aid staff.

Over the past year and a half, many institutions have realized the limits of their legacy systems as they look to improve their outreach with prospective students and their engagement with current students. By using artificial intelligence, automation, and other emerging technologies, colleges and universities will pave the way toward a more engaging and efficient start to the student journey.

eSchool Media Contributors