Research has always been a part of our DNA at AdmitHub. It was never enough for us to put a chatbot into a student’s hands – we needed to know if a bot could actually make a positive impact on that student’s life. That’s why we’ve put ourselves and our chatbots under the microscope starting with our very first chatbot, Pounce, at Georgia State University. In 2016, we partnered with Dr. Lindsay Page and Dr. Hunter Gehlbach to run a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) on GSU’s incoming class to rigorously examine whether admitted students who engaged with our bots were more likely to successfully enroll. The short story: with Pounce’s support, GSU reduced summer melt by 21% and boosted enrollment by 3.3% that summer.
Since our initial research study, we’ve continued to build our knowledge around how to drive meaningful student impact. We’ve run more Randomized Controlled Trials on summer melt to understand whether our chatbot could be just as effective with a different student population on a different campus. We’ve partnered with behavioral science research organizations to design very specific interventions for students. As we have expanded, we are fortunate to be in a position to learn alongside our forward-thinking partners, who share the results they’ve seen after implementing our bots – from near-perfect rates of on-time enrollment at Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus to opening the doors for a more diverse class at Wayne State University.
These initial results affirm for us that our chatbots’ proactive nudging and responsiveness to students is a powerful way to shift student behavior, but our work is far from finished. The higher education landscape is constantly changing, with doors opening to more students of all backgrounds. And now, we are collectively faced with the challenge of ensuring that every student, once enrolled, will succeed in college and beyond.
We are challenging ourselves to think about how we might harness the power of our bots to better support students. Can we encourage students to adopt positive behaviors like going to office hours or taking advantage of tutoring? Can we help them feel more motivated? How might we utilize our bots to help students feel more socially connected to each other? We certainly don’t have all the answers yet, but we remain curious and committed to honing our craft, and sharing what we learn along the way.