ADVi – which is short for “advisor” – is a chatbot powered by Mainstay. ADVi uses artificial intelligence to provide on-demand support to students looking to attend or return to higher education, reaching students with critical college access information.
ADVi uses text messages to provide student-friendly, accurate, and engaging information about key college access milestones, common questions, and action steps. If a student’s inquiry is unable to be answered by ADVi or they need personalized support, the Virtual Advising Project’s trained advisors step in to provide support.
Right now, any student in Texas may access ADVi by texting COLLEGE to 512-829-3687 or by starting a freshman application in ApplyTexas and opting to receive messaging.
About the Virtual Advising Project
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) developed the Virtual Advising Project to reach students with critical, timely information to support their postsecondary journey. The goal of the Virtual Advising Project is to help ensure more Texans have the information they need to access higher education and complete their credentials at Texas colleges and universities. This project supports the 60x30TX higher education strategic plan, and provides a safe and cost-effective way for the state of Texas to help advise students and ameliorate the potentially devastating impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic on educational attainment.
In 2020-21, the project has the capacity to serve up to 400,000 Texans. The majority of these students are reached by leveraging ApplyTexas, where all Freshman applicants to two- and four-year institutions are given the opportunity to opt-in to receiving support from ADVi. In Spring 2021, the project began reaching out to students from the Class of 2020 who submitted an application via ApplyTexas during the 2019-2020 application cycle, but did not enroll in the fall. Through a partnership with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension’s Rural Student Success Initiative, additional targeted support is being provided to several rural school districts. Finally, an emerging partnership with the GradTX initiative will provide this service to adult learners seeking to return to college and complete their credentials.
The Virtual Advising Project began as a partnership with The University of Texas at Austin in 2019 and was brought fully in-house to THECB in Fall 2020. Mainstay, the College Advising Corps, ApplyTexas, and Get Schooled serve as key partners. The Urban Education Institute at The University of Texas at San Antonio serves as an evaluation partner for the project.