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WSSU helping prospective, current students through text messages

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- If you scroll through Nazah Singleton's inbox, you'll find a conversation between her and Winston.

“I thought it was real person,” she laughed.

Except he's not a real person, but a virtual assistant.

“[He tells] me about my student bill, validation, my payment plan [and] parent plus,” she said, as she scrolled through the text messages.

It’s something that helped make the transition for this first-year student at Winston-Salem State University much easier.

“So you know I got a chance to ask Winston about getting here, scheduling,” Singleton said.

Winston is part of a 24/7 text-based service launched by WSSU in August. It's in collaboration with Admithub and it's a way for students to have a two-way conversation through text messages.

They can get answers to questions about housing, orientation and financial aid.

Winston can literally generate thousands of answers.

“We think it's going have an impact on enrollment,” said Joel Lee, WSSU’s assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management.

“We also wanted it to have a back and forth conversation with you. So we didn't want you to ask one question, you get an answer and if you have a follow-up question you get stuck. We didn't want that. So he can answer some follow-up questions too,” he explained.

WSSU is both the first college in the state and first historically black college or university to provide the artificial intelligence virtual assistant.

More than 1,500 first-time students have used it so far.

To learn more about WSSU’s text services, click here.