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Meet Winston, WSSU’s new virtual assistant

Winston engages students in two-way conversation over text message to support them on the path to enrollment success. 

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.

How it works

Winston engages students in two-way conversation over text message to support them on the path to enrollment success. Winston allows students to get the info they need on most campus services and processes without ever having to call, wait in line, or wait on email responses.

Developed by Boston-based edtech company AdmitHub, Winston is a product of artificial intelligence and supervised machine learning. Winston guides students through key enrollment processes, connects them to on-campus counselors, and is available 24/7 to also answer questions about WSSU, student life, campus services, financial aid, housing, and more.

More than 1,400 first-time students started at WSSU this fall. This includes more than 930 freshman and nearly 500 transfer students.

About AdmitHub

Founded in 2014, AdmitHub is an edtech company committed to fostering college success with conversational artificial intelligence. AdmitHub’s virtual assistants provide on-demand assistance via chat by gathering data, sending reminders, answering questions, surveying students, and connecting students to appropriate advisors. AdmitHub has various university partnerships focusing on recruiting prospects, yielding admits, and retaining enrolled students. 

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