How did USC-Aiken make new students' lives easier? Through artificial intelligence.

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News 12 this Morning
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Starting college can be a scary time. That's why the University of South Carolina Aiken is hoping to make it easier for prospective students by taking texting to new levels.

"Instead of trying to bring students to where we were, we decided to go to where they were," Daniel Robb, vice president of admissions said. "Everyone has their phone, every young person carries their phone all day, all night so we can now communicate with them on their phone."

Enter ACE -- a chatbot that cuts down on phone calls and in-person meetings, ultimately allowing prospective students to get answers to their questions whenever, wherever.

"Currently we have about 1,200 questions in our artificial intelligence database. The most popular is, 'What am I missing? How do I complete my application?' The second would be, 'What scholarships are available?' And the third has been, 'When will I find out if I'm going to be admitted to USC-Aiken?'"

Since ACE launched in December, 28 more students have committed to enrolling and 58 more have signed up for fall orientation.

Current students say ACE would have made their transition from high school to college much easier.

"As a freshman, I would have greatly enjoyed just having this resource definitely because having this resource allows me to have an answer at the click of a button. Right on my phone," junior Carson Williams said.

Right now, USC-Aiken is the only university in South Carolina with a chatbot. That's a benefit, according to Robb.

"We're the only university around here that I know of that is using this artificial intelligence to respond to perspective students, so it's an all around win, but a priority win was for our prospective students," Robb said.

Reminder if you are a prospective student at USC-Aiken: the deadline to accept your admission is May 1, 2019.

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