A Strategic Approach
Georgia State took a systematic approach to address summer melt, which refers to the group of students who accept offers of admissions but subsequently do not show up for fall enrollment. As many as 20 percent of the students from urban school districts who graduate from high school, successfully get admitted to college and confirm their intent to enroll never end up attending any post-secondary institution. To help these students, the university identified the common obstacles to enrollment that students face between graduating high school and the start of college, including financial aid applications and documents, immunization records, placement exams and class registration, among others. Georgia State developed an approach that would help at-risk students through these obstacles by instituting a combination of a new student portal to guide students through the steps needed to be ready for the first day of classes and an artificial-intelligence-enhanced chatbot, “Pounce,” to answer thousands of questions from incoming students 24/7 via text messages on their smart devices. In the first summer of implementation, Pounce delivered more than 200,000 answers to questions asked by incoming freshmen, and the university reduced summer melt by 22 percent. This translated into an additional 324 students sitting in their seats for the first day of classes at Georgia State rather than sitting out the college experience.
Students and Parents
The “Pounce” chatbot and the new student portal are available to all incoming freshmen, and will be introduced after they receive their acceptance.
How It Works
Georgia State is addressing the number of students who are accepted to the institution but do not enroll. In a randomized control trial, the university saw a four percent overall decrease in the percent of the confirmed freshman class who did not enroll. The gains came specifically from those students who had had access to Pounce.
In addition, Georgia State’s new student portal provides timely information, relevant to each student’s specific situation, on what steps to take next in order to be able to start school in the fall.
“Every interaction was tailored to the specific student’s enrollment task,” says Scott Burke, assistant vice president of undergraduate admissions. “We would have had to hire 10 full-time staff members to handle that volume of messaging without Pounce.”
Helping Students Overcome The Hidden Obstacles To Enrollment
Engagement With Pounce
Allowing Counselors To Better Manage Student Needs
- Messages Sent To Pounce
- Messages Sent To Counselors