Over the span of two weeks, I got the chance to demo Cal State Ready, a custom Alexa skill for prospective students, across the state at the 2019 CSU Counselor Conferences. Cal State Ready is intended to be a virtual high school counselor’s assistant, providing info to students on how to prepare, apply, and pay for college within the CSU system.
It was exciting to get the chance to show the work the team has been up to to high school counselors at the conferences. There was a lot of excitement about the project, especially when counselors had the chance interact with the skill. In San Diego, one counselor shared that students will often wait in line for 20 minutes to ask a simple question about the application deadline. We’re hoping that the skill offers students another way to get answers to questions directly, without having to navigate a website to find the answer.
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recommends that schools maintain a ration of 250 students to 1 counselor, but California is significantly under-resourced with its ratio of 760:1. This custom skill could potentially fill a gap in assisting students to apply to the CSU system.
This project has been underway since the Spring of 2019, with a cross-functional team of designers, developers, project managers and subject matter experts from the Chancellor’s Office, Fresno State, Cal State Long Beach, CSUN and Cal State San Bernardino. After this opportunity to demo the skill, the team is regrouping to come up with a plan to bring the skill to production level.