School admissions: ‘Think of AI as your office intern’

Admissions professionals ‘should not be intimidated by ChatGPT’, Scott Delleville will tell a conference this week

AI and ChatGPT are like an office intern

“Think of AI as your office intern and don’t be intimidated by ChatGTP”, a schools admissions specialist will tell a conference this week.

Consultant Scott Delleville will advise school admissions professionals on the pros and cons of AI at the upcoming AMCIS Admissions Conference on Thursday (Nov 16).

Mr Delleville will share his top tips for how registrars and admissions professionals can use artificial intelligence to enhance pupil recruitment, as well as some potential downsides.

He will discuss the potential of ChatGPT as well as voice search optimisation, but warn that AI can’t replace “thorough research about your school, personal touches and real experiences with families, your school’s brand or nuances about your school and its community.”

Mr Delleville’s top tips on using generative AI in admissions will include:

  • Providing a “chatbot” facility to complement human conversations with your admissions team and student community:
    “A chatbot can answer initial parent enquiries, particularly while parents are completing your online application form or asking questions about your next open day. It’s not to replace you, but rather to answer basic questions.”
  • Checking your admissions and open day landing pages for clarity:
    “Ask ChatGPT to tell you what it thinks your page is all about. If its interpretation matches your intent, that’s great because it means your page will hit the right note with parents, especially if they are using ChatGPT for research.”
  • Researching your competitors:
    “By asking the correct questions, you can discover which schools you are competing with for similar parents. Once you have your list, you can then research their strategies for open events and school experience opportunities and see how you compare.”
  • Developing personas for prospective pupils and their parents:
    “Chat GPT can help you discover whether the messaging, images, and video you’re presenting are effectively targeted to your school’s ideal audience and personas. Ask GPT who the ideal audience is for a web page or other online asset. Was the answer in line with what you wanted to accomplish? If yes, keep it up! If not, consider small changes and other keywords to get the right message across.”

Mr Delleville will also outline how school admissions and marketing teams can use ChatGPT to generate more effective website meta descriptions and provide suggestions for marketing and recruitment campaigns.

He will say: “Think of AI as your office intern rather than a seasoned professional. Interns are great at supportive work that assists with larger projects and bringing new ideas to the table, but they can’t replace years of industry experience.

“Don’t be intimidated by ChatGPT — once you understand how to use it effectively, you can start to use it and other AI programs to supplement and compliment your amazing work, not replace it.”

The rise of voice search – families seeking “the answer”

He will tell delegates that families are looking to have conversational dialogue with AI and discover the “answer” more quickly. While voice search, such as Siri and Google, is already familiar, more families are using their smart device to discover what’s best or most trusted.

This method of communication is expected to grow exponentially over the next five to 10 years.

Mr Delleville will say: “Voice recognition has been around for over 70 years, and it will continue to grow and improve. Schools will need to adapt to the growing use of digital assistants and voice recognition technology for parents’ convenience.”

In time, schools will be able to use voice search to help with the following recruitment processes:

  • Information retrieval from your website – parents will be able to find information about key dates in your recruitment process.
  • Registering for open days – parents will be able to register for events right from their phone with their voice.
  • Translation Services – your international community will be able to connect with your school in their native language.
  • Accessibility – families will be able to use hands-free devices to get the answers they need. 

Mr Delleville will impress upon delegates the importance of a FAQ page in your website’s admissions section, to enable parents to get the answers they need and keep up to date with key timelines.