March 8, 2024

How Universities Use Chatbots In 2024

Are you interested in how universities use chatbots in 2024? Our article covers all solutions, including admission chatbots and student engagement products, and discusses institutions that successfully use these applications.

Written by
Yuriy Pulyaev
CTO

Conversational AI solutions are becoming an integral part of the educational process. This trend goes deeper than the surface use of chatbots like Perplexity, Writesonic, and Koala AI to get educational content. Universities and colleges worldwide invest in building applications for a more streamlined and accessible learning process.

The rise of generative AI solutions has made the practice of universities using chatbots more common. Institutions see that these technologies can automate various processes and make education more comfortable for students and educators. This guide is about the modern use of chatbots in this setting and the best examples of their effective integration.

Table Of Contents:

Which Types of AI Chatbots Universities Use 

In plain terms, chatbots are software solutions that answer questions on different topics. In the academic sphere, they make life easier for website visitors, faculty members, and students. These solutions can also be found on social media platforms and dedicated apps offered by higher education institutions. Currently, they work with several types of these products:

  • Career advice chatbots. Universities offer tools that help learners explore career options and make more thoughtful decisions. Students access these chatbots to search for internships, connect with alumni networks, and prepare for job interviews.
  • Enrollment and admission chatbots. These tools help successfully manage the application process. They offer information about required documents, deadlines, scholarships, and tuition fees.
  • Faculty and staff aid chatbots. Many colleges use chatbots to handle daily administrative tasks, answer HR questions, and improve communications between staff members.
  • Mental well-being chatbots. Students often turn to these solutions to cope with mental health conditions. Such tools offer self-help materials and counseling without direct content with the school’s psychiatrists.
  • Student assistance chatbots. The most common type of chatbot helps learners with course registration, locating library resources, and getting information about on-campus events. These are available 24/7, answering student questions when the staff isn’t available.

5 Use Cases of Chatbots In Universities

Recent years saw a wider adoption of AI chatbots in universities among organizations. Universities from Australia, the UK and the US have found ways of using this technology to their advantage. There are several everyday use cases for these organizations in higher education institutions.

  1. 24/7 Support

Higher education institutions use chatbots to support visitors and learners. These solutions respond to user requests without live agent input, offering cost-effective support to all schools. Each year, colleges save sizable sums on this expense while providing an excellent service.

Chatbots are always there during different stages of the educational journey. They help applicants gather the proper documents, students find the best content, and alumni build their careers. Due to their affordability and relatively low development costs, chatbots have become a highly thought-after technology among educational organizations.

  1. Appointment Management

Many universities use AI-based chatbots to automate appointment booking. They can be integrated with scheduling tools used by institutions to handle appointments and bookings. This practice streamlines appointments with faculty members or university counselors during or outside standard work hours.

Chatbots also let students book library study rooms or public access computers. Using these products is more natural than filling out student forms. Since these solutions are always available, learners better manage their schedules and make plans without being too anxious.

  1. Fast Issue Resolution

Advanced chatbots allow a more streamlined way for students to find the right individuals to handle their questions. Many solutions have direct access to shared knowledge about different facets of educational institutions. But, sometimes, chatbots must direct learners to the right professionals who’ll handle their requests.

AI-based products do this by asking several questions at the start of conversations. If these requests are beyond their capacity, chatbots promptly direct students to someone who can help. For example, they can point learners to appropriate counselors or professors with a deep understanding of particular topics.

  1. Personalized Experience

Modern developers offer AI chatbots that universities use to make education individual for all learners. Advanced technologies in these solutions provide educational materials based on student academic performance on assignments, tests, and quizzes. They work as study aids, improving understanding of different disciplines and subjects.

This approach allows universities to improve student engagement rates and decrease the risk of dropouts. Learners also get additional assistance with their academic assignments beyond using AI chatbots in writing essays. These solutions can be programmed to explain complex notions and phenomena to individual students.

  1. Seamless Self-Service

One of the most popular use cases for chatbots in colleges and universities is turning them into personal self-service assistants. These solutions offer better and faster access to resources and content provided by educational institutions. This approach also improves the educational process for learners since many Gen Z students prefer using chatbots as a primary method of interacting with content.

Colleges integrate chatbots into existing systems and databases to provide seamless access to various learning content. Modern applications work with more than text, offering videos, images, and lecture content links. This provides easy access to educational materials and gives educators more time to answer the most nuanced questions.

Actual Examples of Universities Using Chatbots

Currently, several educational institutions are actively using chatbots in their daily work. Here’s how they utilize these solutions and what their results are.

  1. Georgia State University

The institution uses a chatbot called Pounce to combat summer melt and reduce attrition rates. This university’s solution also explains the tuition fees, registration process, and life on campus grounds. According to Georgia State University representatives, student performance has improved since introducing Pounce.

This information comes from a 2021 study conducted by Lindsay Page, the Annenberg Associate Professor of Education Policy at Brown University. The research showed that learners who received messages from the solution earned grades B or above at a 16% higher rate than those who didn’t use the chatbot.

  1. Leeds Beckett University

The UK-based university introduced its Becky assistant in 2017. Since then, the application has been helping users with different aspects of the learning process. Individuals use the admission chatbot to learn about entry requirements, fees, scholarships, and accommodations. The Facebook Messenger app learns about their credentials before assessing if they qualify or not.

According to the Director of University Recruitment at Leeds Beckett, Chris Watts, this decision was made to capitalize on the fact that many applicants contact institutions on social media platforms before deciding where to enroll. The organization claims to have raised application rates but gave no solid figures.

  1. Staffordshire University

This school uses the Beacon solution that covers different aspects of being a student. Beacon provides information about the schedule, access to the staff directory, information on clubs and societies, and directions to different locations around the campus. In general, the chatbot has access to over 400 frequently asked questions.

The chatbot can be accessed on Staffordshire University’s website, as well as Android and iOS devices. This solution has been around since 2019 and is one of the first AI tools to be introduced among the UK’s educational institutions. 

  1. Thompson Rivers University

The organization uses a chatbot to handle 83% of application requests. This solution made by Comm100 was introduced in 2020. Initially, its purpose was to help students connect and improve application rates to the institution. Now, the chatbot is integrated into five departments at Thompson Rivers University.

The organization uses this product to meet support expectations, improve the learning experience for students, and better locate potential applicants. This approach has led to better enrolment and engagement rates. The solution also provides emotional and social support to learners, leading to personalized study experiences.

  1. California State University, Northridge

Those studying at this higher education institution ask questions about applying for scholarships, gathering application documents, and different aspects of college life. The CSUNNY tool is available around the clock on the institution’s website. If students can’t find the necessary information, they are redirected to one of the institution's consultants.

The Future Of Chatbots In Universities

The continuous adoption of these solutions has the potential to transform the way universities and students interact. In 2023, 58% of institutions that have adopted chatbots claim to have improved their services with chatbots. The latest developments in AI products show that future students will have even more personalized learning experiences. 

The added bonus of reduced support costs and streamlined application will also let institutions save funds, better find talented applicants and turn them into successful graduates. In general, using chatbots in this setting will benefit both sides of the educational process.

Conclusion

Universities in the US and other parts of the world understand the benefits of automating daily work. Advances in artificial intelligence show the future where these solutions will handle 99% of questions students and applicants have about the learning process. This will save institutions millions of dollars yearly on student consultants and support specialists.

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What’s the ideal customer retention rate?

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Next steps to increase your customer retention

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