a phone showing a student using the assistant

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), in collaboration with AdmitHub, is providing prospective students and their families with instant, 24/7 access to information through Winston, an artificial intelligence (AI) virtual assistant.

In August, WSSU became the first HBCU and first college in North Carolina, to employ an AI virtual assistant to help prospective students successfully apply and enroll in college.

“We know that many of our students use texting as a primary form of communication and are moving away from email, so we want to meet them where they are and provide a communication platform that fits their lives and preferences,” said Joel Lee, WSSU’s assistant vice chancellor for Enrollment Management.

The text-based service launched on Aug. 1. During the first two weeks leading up to the start of classes, more than 1,500 first-time students communicated with Winston on a number of subjects. Questions about housing, orientation and financial aid were the most popular. The most common reply to the assistant is “thank you.”

This service is part of the university's holistic approach to communication and works in conjunction with phone outreach, letters, emails, social media, campus staff, and a newly redesigned website to provide students with more communication options than ever before, Lee said.

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Originally published Sept. 12, 2017

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