New Tool Helps Combat Summer Melt

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Can artificial intelligence prevent summer melt?

Georgia State University is testing this theory and, so far, the results have been promising.

A new article in the Harvard Business Review outlined how the school’s new conversational AI system, Pounce, has been interacting with students and how effective the strategy has been.

Pounce, named for the university’s mascot, is completely customized. Data about each incoming student is loaded into the system and updated as students reach critical milestones, such as completing a financial aid application or submitting a final transcript. That way only students who need prompting on particular tasks receive the messages.

Pounce also learns over time the topics each student might be most interested in or have the most questions about as they prepare to start their first semester of college. Students can ask Pounce questions 24/7 and work to complete the necessarily tasks on their own time.

Pounce reduced GSU’s summer melt by 21 percent, according to HBR. This is similar to past efforts such as individual counselor outreach or text message outreach, but it asks much less of the school’s counseling staff.

GSU also found that Pounce made students more proactive. The personalized outreach seemed to remind students of questions that were already on their mind.

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at adobson@nacacnet.org.

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