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Case Study

24,245 questions answered whilst no-one was in the office

Faculty and staff at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) pride themselves on ranking #8 among public universities nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. UCI understands that embracing new technology is essential to improve students' admissions experience and reduce the burden on their staff.

24,245 questions answered whilst no-one was in the office
Conversations Handled by the chatbot
of the conversations took place out of office hours
Of conversations took place out of hours
Decrease in phone calls to the admissions office

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Project Objectives

Making sure students are engaged at every step of the admissions process is a priority. Yet the UCI admissions team was short-staffed and it was increasingly difficult to manage the 134,000 first-year applications it was receiving. One of UCI’s priorities was to ensure their campus personality shone through the technology, just like a student would experience with an admissions counselor over the phone.


When UCI first partnered with Gecko in 2016, UCI was able to manage 50,000 additional student applications with no additional staff. More applications means more questions, and the team noticed that many of them were pretty much about the same things. They needed a way to sift through these applications while maintaining their friendly, helpful and accessible communication style with students – and they needed to do that on a large scale.

We really had to look to technology because we had so much manual process and we couldn’t sustain that. You don't need to always add more staff in more places, it's leveraging your staff in the right way and using technology to be able to deliver in a responsive way.
Bryan Jue
Senior Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions, UCI
Today, UCI eases the admissions team’s workload by allowing their chatbot, Peter the Anteater, to handle frequently asked questions from prospective and current students - saving time and money they can reallocate to other important admissions resources. Implementation was an easy process for UCI. After a 5 day implementation on campus, UCI was quickly seeing results. They even expanded the use of the bot into their Financial Aid office.
It was surprisingly way easier than we expected. It was a constructive process and within a week we were up and running! We did a second implementation with our financial aid office, who named their bot Ada and they were even able to implement even faster than us which was really cool!
Ronald Whitenhill
Associate Director, High School Outreach, UCI