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80% of Colleges Will Use AI in Admissions By Next Year

AI has found its way into college admissions—and it’s here to stay.

A new survey by Intelligent found that 82% of educational institutes will use AI in admissions by next year. And a majority of schools using AI will allow it to have the final say on applicants. Nearly half of admissions officers are already using AI when reviewing college applications.

“When we hear about the use of AI in college admissions, it can conjure up fears of a machine without emotional sensibilities using some mysterious rubric to sort applications into ‘accept’ and ‘reject’ piles,” Diane Gayeski, a Professor of Strategic Communication at Ithaca College and Higher Education and Career Advisor at Intelligent, says “Indeed, there are currently AI tools in use that do exactly this, and we need to understand the advantages and risks associated with them. However, like all matters associated with the rapidly emerging set of programs called ‘AI,’ their purposes and processes are much more varied.”


AI tools are most commonly used to review letters of recommendation and transcripts. 73% of admissions officers say AI is used to review letters of recommendation, 71% say AI reviews transcripts, and 61% say AI is used to communicate with applicants.

“As this survey points out, most institutions are now using or intend to use AI to evaluate students’ applications including essays, transcripts, and recommendations,” Gayeski says. “But if you think that before AI existed, seasoned admissions experts or professors carefully read and considered each application, you’re wrong.”


Among respondents whose schools currently use AI in admissions, 87% say the AI ‘sometimes’ (43%) or ‘always’ (44%) makes final decisions about whether to admit applicants or not.

For respondents whose schools plan to use AI in admissions, 74% say the AI is ‘somewhat’ (45%) or ‘very likely’ (29%) to make the final decision in admissions.

“AI tools are being used in many parts of the admission process,” Gayeski says. “Most colleges are using ‘chatbots’ to answer common questions of applicants when they access the admissions website; this allows for 24/7 quick and consistent answers without tying up staff resources.”


The survey, conducted by Intelligent.com, launched on September 6, 2023 and included 399 respondents. To qualify for the survey, all participants had to be aged 25 or older, employed for wages in the education sector, and have a household income of at least $50,000 per year.

Participants were screened to include only those employed in either a private high school or higher education. Additionally, participating individuals self-reported a high level of expertise in their respective schools’ admissions procedures.

Sources: Intelligent, Inside Higher Ed

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