The number of international students in universities across the world hit the five million mark in 2017, from two million at the start of the millenium. And the figures have only kept rising, albeit with a temporary break now due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Obviously, it's a staggering number, and offering the right counselling and choices to each of these students can seem a gargantuan task. When handling multiple students, university staff and educational consultants are of-ten unable to give each one personal attention, resulting in a chaotic situation.

AI For Student Recruitment
Defined as the use of algorithms to simulate human traits of thinking, reasoning and logic, AI can automate responses to student queries intelligently, and improve the accuracy of responses over time by identifying patterns. So, while it was necessary for a person or team to attend to each student's enquiries, with AI, all the student needs to do is enter his or her career ambitions, budget, academic background etc. In return, they get personalised suggestions of universities and courses based on their aptitude and academic records, all without the involvement of recruitment staff.

The technology also makes sure that if a student requires the help of an actual person, the request is relayed to the right department and personnel. The consultants, in turn, are rid of the monotonous job of laboriously collecting and analysing the primary data of each student, and answering the same common questions over and over. It also leaves them free to devote time to high priority tasks and to provide actual one-on-one counselling and guidance in the subsequent stages. And at that stage, the counsellor already has all the relevant information about the student at their fingertips. In other words, it saves an enormous amount of time and energy and has led to win-win situations.

The technology can also provide students with access to more information, like the scholarships and grants available to them, while recruiters would be able to detect fake documents and certificates right at the prelim-inary stage.

AI can automate responses to student queries intelligently, and improve the accuracy of responses over time by identifying patterns

USE-Cases In Student Recruitment
Time-consuming preliminary queries: In reality, the major chunk of time of marketing and recruitment staff of consultancies is often spent on routine tasks, of handling the preliminary queries of thousands of students. They are also forced to enter the data including interests and course preferences of each student, manually. From the part of the student, he or she has to look up brochures and course details of hundreds of universities and thou-sands of courses at a stage of life when they themselves are not sure what they want to study. What they need is specific and information and guidance tailored to their needs, and the game-changer in this field has been the entry of Edtech start-ups who have started making use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in student recruitment.

While EdTech start-ups in India have started using AI for virtual learning, very few education consultancies have introduced the concept in the process of student recruitment.

24/7 Chatbots: An extension of the technology is the chatbot which can handle queries of students 24/7 and provide intelligent responses, in place of expensive and time-consuming customer service. While human personnel can only take a limited number of queries or calls, a bot can respond immediately regardless of time-zones, which is crucial for Generation Z who move immediately to the next option if they don't get a response from one source. This could lead to a loss of potential applicants on the part of the consultancy. Thus, without adding people to the workforce, every prospective student gets an answer, leading to more chances of enquiries leading to applications.

AI is the need of the hour with students and recruiters unable to have one-on-one sessions owing to the pandemic and restrictions. Choosing the right college or university can make or break a student's life, and making an informed choice has never been easier than now, thanks to AI. In the future, the academic progress of a student could be predicted as well using AI, which can even help recruiters plan ahead and avoid possible drop-outs!

12 Jul 2021

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