Happy New Year! I’ve always loved the week leading up to Labor Day. The dog days of summer are nearing their end, the sun is setting earlier, nights are cooler, and at home here in northern New England, the water just got warm enough to swim in.
What I really get excited about this time of year, however, is pumpkin spice everything. Haha, joking, but only half. Seriously, what I really get excited about is that this week annually signals the commencement of another academic year. For those of us in education (and I’d wager to say many others), September is for all intents and purposes the unofficial start of the new year. Everything seems to sparkle, opportunities abound. There’s so much to do, to learn, to experience.
Here at AdmitHub, we’re chomping at the bit for the 2016-17 season to kick off. We’ve partnered with a number of diverse universities, from Georgia State to The Cooper Union, which means that we’re poised to assist thousands of students in navigating their own unique educational paths. Without further ado, let's dig in to the latest edition of Founders' Keepers.
AdmitHub Bringin' "Thunder" to West Texas A&M
Our most recent partnership is with West Texas A&M University, located in the little-known geological gem of Canyon, Texas. You may not know that Canyon is home to “The Grand Canyon of Texas.” Yep, sure ‘nough. Canyon’s ravine may not be as cavernous as that other big gorge (how many words for canyon can I sneak into this sentence?), but it’s also spectacular once you take the time to really appreciate its spirit:
Our primary focus with West Texas A&M will be on student success. Mike Knox, WTAMU’s Vice President for Student Affairs, wants to do more to positively impact each and every student’s life while on campus.
“Retention is about individual students,” Mike recently told me, “and if we’re going to move the needle, we have to change the trajectory of the individual student’s experience.”
He added, “I’m excited about the possibilities with AdmitHub because I’m envisioning ways to intervene directly with students based on their own unique interactions with the university, and also engaging them when it matters most.”
As students chat with “Thunder,” WT’s virtual assistant, they’ll receive individualized guidance to help them stay on track throughout their freshman year, which hopefully will result in more of them sticking around to complete their education.
Georgia State University, AdmitHub taking research project to next level
In a similar vein regarding student persistence and success, we’ve also extended our research partnership with Georgia State University, and we’ll be helping Professors Lindsay Page and Hunter Gehlbach expand their important studies on the positive impacts of messaging interventions, this season with currently enrolled students at GSU.
Our ongoing work with GSU has really blown all of our minds. In our current randomized control trial (RCT), we’re seeing an 88 percent student engagement rate and upticks in many areas of intervention, from intent to enroll forms filed to orientation attendance to immunization records cleared.
Students have also reported a 4.1 (out of 5) approval rating for their interaction with Pounce, to the point where they’ve asked for more! Hmm, what else could these virtual assistants do to help students??? We’ve got lots of ideas, but what do you think? Let us know here.
The future is wide open
This is what’s most exciting to all of us. There are so many possibilities for this technology to help students, and to do it in a fun way that encourages them to want to keep coming back. Meanwhile, the more students interact, the smarter the tech gets, and the more we help university staff in maximizing their own human resources in directly reaching every student.
We haven’t even scratched the surface of how students and university staff alike will be positively impacted with the implementation of virtual assistants like Thunder or Pounce, but as I said before, September is a time for possibilities. It’s like in that Bonnie Raitt song, "Angel from Montgomery," when she sings “if dreams were Thunder…” Don’t worry about the rest of the song, or even the rest of that lyric… it’s really just that part I’m talkin’ about. Dream with us. The new year is upon us, and we can’t wait to see what this season will bring.